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.
- 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.
- 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.
For more ideas on how to expand your personal and corporate Vine and Instagram accounts, be sure to check out the links listed below:
Don’t forget to follow uOPRA on Instagram! Go to Instagram, search: uOPRA.