It’s 2018. Cars can drive themselves, flares have made a comeback, and Instagram has fast become one of the most-used social media channels in the world. More than 800 million of us log on every month to share our hashtag selfies, shop our screenshots and connect with our favorite brands. So, why should Instagram be a major part of your PR strategy? You’re going to want to read on…
PR and the way we promote our brands to the public and media is evolving. It’s getting even harder to make an impact, which is why it’s even more important to utilize any new channels and technology to connect with our customers. Whether it’s a platform like Flaunter (uh hum, self-promotion) that connects your images and products with the best journalists, bloggers, influencers & stylists, social networking like Facebook, or a photo and video-sharing service like Instagram, it’s important to know where your customers are, and in simple, be there too.
If you’re not using Instagram for your business, you’re likely missing out. The gram’s community of active businesses has grown to 25 million, and more than 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business, while 200 million Instagrammers actively visit the profile of a business every day. That’s a huge reach in an ever-evolving demographic that is growing exponentially.
PR Strategy: Define Your Objectives
So you have decided to move ahead with your Instagram strategy, now what? Defining your objectives and determining your WHY is a good place to start. Consider these objectives as a starting point. It will help with knowing what to post and with setting goals in-line with your business.
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive customer engagement and retention
- Connect with media and influencers
- Increase sales
- Recruit new talent
PR strategy: Content is QUEEN
You may have heard the term ‘content is King’ by now, but we here know it as the QUEEN. By leveraging the power of content to promote your product and tell your story, you can turn Instagram into the most lucrative part of your PR strategy. Instagram is centered on storytelling, how can you tell your story visually? Here are some tactics to inspire your strategy.
1. Announcing new products, or stock – If you regularly launch new products, or want to let your customers know when something is back in stock, using Instagram is a great way to do this. You can even use it to build up hype around a new product launch by doing teaser posts ahead of time. It engages your audience and makes an effective market research tool to give you an idea of demand for a new product without you having to spend.
2. Connect with other brands for collaborations – Do your research. Find other brands that live the same ethos as you and reach out to collaborate. You can join forces on a giveaway, to create a new product, or just make use of each brand’s reach with some cross promotion. Win/win.
3. Behind the scenes – Consumers are looking for that money-can’t-buy intel, they like to know what’s going on behind the scenes and it’s a way to establish a more personal connection with your customers. By allowing them a peep into your creative process, manufacturing methods, and office or studio life, your brand becomes more meaningful.
4. Recruitment posts – Using social media is a powerful way to recruit talent so keep this in mind when pulling together your strategy. Showcasing your staff and company culture is a great way to show your followers what you are all about, and enables them to see themselves working there. And who better to work at your company than someone that is already engaged in your brand?
5. Trends – By using current trends for your posts you show your audience you are in-the-know, making you an aspirational brand. You can also use hashtags to make your brand discoverable to the savvy searcher. #florals #midcentury #minimalist
6. Holiday posts – Holidays are an integral part of any social media calendar, again using hashtags to make you more discoverable is one way to make the most of the celebrated day. Get creative, use the day to launch new products, hold a competition, and even for collaborations. There is so much you can do to leverage your brand without having to spend big bucks. Download a social media calendar to help plan your posts and leverage the holidays, we like this one from Hubspot.
PR Strategy: Create dynamite content
Creating amazing content and finding your voice visually is key. And, yes, this is all well and good for the photographers, videographers, and naturally talented producers out there, but calling on professionals doesn’t come cheap.
We get it, executing your own photoshoots, or creating an explainer video can be daunting, but thankfully there are a ton of resources on the internet to help you create dynamite content yourself. Check out our top three ways to create useful and cost-effective visual content.
If you have ever looked at an account and wondered how the heck they made every image look like it came out of a Slim Aarons exhibition, the chances are the content producer used an editing app like VSCO. Apps like these are becoming more popular for content creators, especially ones that enable editing directly from your phone. The tools are easy-to-use and you can also find the education, community, and connections for making professional quality images and videos.
PR Strategy: Journos Use Apps Too
Just as journalists use platforms like Flaunter, it’s important to remember that out of the 800 million of us using Instagram, a percentage of those users are journalists. It’s not uncommon these days that the media use apps and platforms like Instagram and Twitter to find their latest stories.
What does this mean for you? For one, the way you present your brand on Instagram is the way you will be perceived by the media. It is also an incredible opportunity to connect with journalists. If you read a story that speaks to you and your brand, share it on your Instagram and explain why you love it. You can tag the journalist and let them know you are loving what they are doing.
You can also leverage your current PR activity through Instagram. If you have media attending an event, take a photo to share and tag the journalist, it builds credibility for your brand and you may even get a repost from the journo.
In addition to showcasing your offerings and credentials, you can use it to create and raise awareness about issues and causes, take followers behind the scenes to make a personal connection, it’s these stories that journalists are looking for. Using tactics like double-tapping and tagging people go a long way in increasing user engagement, and if the media can see people engaging in your brand, you’re one step closer to a story…
PR Strategy: Hashtag Influencers
We’ve all heard about brands that have risen to fame through the promotion of their product by influencer and celebrities. So what exactly is an influencer? And how do they help your brand? They’re the users who have an established credibility and audience, and use this influence to persuade others. Learn who the influencers are that use your brand or industry hashtag. If you’re new to it all and aren’t sure who the influencers in your industry are, you can use EpicBeat to search for keywords, trends, high performing content and influencers related to your industry.
How you engage with influencers is also key. Those with a huge following aren’t likely to promote your brand for free, so it’s best not to contact them asking for a free shoutout. Remember, they make a living out of their content creation so they’re going to need equal value in return for their efforts. Target those with a similar reach to you and let them know what you are offering them in return.
As you implement your Instagram strategy you will discover exciting ways to create and which types of content work for your audience, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Now that you have these tips to ~ live your best Instagram life ~ why not check out How to extend the lifecycle of your content and A simple survival guide for brands planning their ‘holiday content.
See you on the gram’.