uOPRA 12 Days of PR Bliss: “Instavining” ; Expanding on your personal and corporate Instagram and Vine accounts

Written by: Jocelyn Courneya
Edited by: Raechel Allen


With the growth in popularity of the smart phone applications Instagram and Vine over the past three years, the world of social media, as well as photo and video sharing, has greatly expanded. Not only have these applications become additional ways of sharing snapshots and videos with our friends and followers, but they have also become successful methods of marketing and advertising for those in Public Relations and Communications. The purpose and use of both platforms have expanded beyond their original intention for personal entertainment into something more meaningful.

Released to the public for download in October 2010, Instagram is a free application that has allowed for its users to edit and share both photos and videos with a public network, via their compatible smartphone. Currently, Instagram is only available for download for Android, iPhone and iPod touch users; where the company is working on expanding its availability to other smart phone and tablet devices. Users can also access their Instagram newsfeed on their computer’s web browser, but cannot upload from their computer’s photo library. For those of you who have already been immersed in the world of Instagram, there are a few steps you can take to not only expand your personal network, but also promote your company and/or various products and events.
  • If you are not already familiar with it, the #hashtag, is a very important tool, used in the postings of many popular and successful Instagram users. The role of the #hashtag is for use in the description of your photo; making it available when other users do general searches. If your company is having a Christmas charity event, you may take a picture of the invitation being sent, including #hashtags such as #Christmas, #Charity. This may seem silly, but it will make your photo visible to any public user searching for Christmas and charity related images. The key to a good #hashtag placement is to only include the main elements of the photo since overusing #hashtags will also make your post irrelevant and annoying to many of your followers.
  • Posting frequency, is another important part of maintaining a strong and successful Instagram account. It is important that you are posting frequently. If you only post an image once a month, your followers may forget you even exist, or become bored and un-follow you. Just as it is important to create posts, it is also important to not over post. If you are sending out more than two videos or photos to your followers on a daily basis, they may feel overwhelmed, and slightly annoyed with your photos taking up the majority of their newsfeed.
  • Using other social media to promote your Instagram account is also important. If you have a strong group of followers on Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter, let them know you are also available on Instagram. Post links to your account, and share popular photo postings from your Instagram account on these social media applications as well.
  • Content is another important part in establishing a successful Instagram account. Try to establish a main theme for your photo and video postings, that way you are consistent and your followers know what to expect. If you are promoting health and fitness for university students in Ottawa, try not to stray away from the topics of exercise, healthy living, and items outside of the Ottawa area.
  • Researching and reviewing successful Instagram accounts is also important in gaining ideas for your own network success. MTV Canada journalist/television host and University of Ottawa graduate, Aliya Jasmine, uses her Instagram account to share with followers pictures of her life. Additionally, she shares content from networking events she has attended, promoting photo-shoots, and advertising celebrity, political, and sports interviews she has conducted for MTV and other networks. Starbucks coffee company also uses an account on Instagram to promote the release of seasonal drinks, such as their signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. The company also uses the application to share photos of the different drinks and food items offered by the corporation, to their almost two million Instagram followers.
Vine, the application created by Twitter in January 2013, is made purely for the use of creating, sharing and editing short, 6-second video clips, made through your smartphone’s camera. Currently, the Vine application is free to download for users of iOS, Android and Windows smart phones. Vine cannot be accessed through your computer’s web browser.
  • Much like Instagram, it is important to establish a consistent theme for your video clips, and to stick with it. Vine allows its users to post their videos to a variety of “channels”, ranging from “cats” to “news and politics”. When uploading a video you would like to gain views for, it is important to consider the desired audience. If posting a political satire clip on Toronto mayor Rob Ford, it may be appropriate to post your clip in “news and politics” and “comedy”, “music” if it is a rap video or mashup, but probably not “scary” or “dogs”.
  • Becoming “tech-savvy”, when it comes to your smartphone’s camera and editing capabilities could also be incredibly helpful in promoting your created video clips. You only are allotted a maximum of six seconds for your video, so use your time wisely. Creative use of your phone’s camera, and filter, will grab the attention of more viewers.
  • Promote, your video on your other social media networks, as well as your personal blog and website.
  • Watch clips that have been created by other popular users. Many global corporations have started to use Vine to create simple, but effective, advertisements for their company and products. The electronics company Samsung, cleverly uses skilled camera work and creativity to advertise their smartphones through 6-second video clips on Vine.
While some people have chosen to use applications and other forms of “spamming” to gain followers and viewers for both their Instagram and Vine accounts, the above steps are simple and affective ways of making your personal or company accounts popular, and available to your desired consumers and audience.

For more ideas on how to expand your personal and corporate Vine and Instagram accounts, be sure to check out the links listed below:

MTV’s Aliya Jasmine’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/aliyajasmine
Starbucks Coffe Co. Instagram Account: http://instagram.com/starbucks
Samsung’s  Vine Video-Clip Advertisement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQVnP6JAD2o

Don’t forget to follow uOPRA on Instagram! Go to Instagram, search: uOPRA.


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