It is no longer surprising to anyone that photos are being shared with friends and strangers all over the world, all through the miraculous technology that is the internet. Smartphones and cameras enable their owners to take pictures and instantly post them on various webpages. With this interactivity, and just a little bit of narcissism, you can channel these photographic skills into a social media marketing technique that will be fresh and unique – unlike anything you’ve done before.
The premier photo sharing website to date is Instagram. It allows users to upload their photography with searchable hashtags, filters to make the photography look professional, and even Cinema, a camera stabilization feature. It has recently developed into a video sharing site as well, allowing users to loop twelve second videos.
Instagram, to the average businessperson, sounds like a “cute idea,” or a nice way for people to display their hobby. But used correctly, as Jenn Herman (http://jennstrends.wordpress.com/) explained on this week’s Social Media Unscrambled, it can be an innovative way to share your product and ideas.
Jenn originally thought that Instagram was kind of a waste of time. She could take and publish her own photography – she was already an avid photographer. She didn’t need to see everyone’s picture of their latest outfit or favorite recipe. But when she became more deeply involved in social media marketing, and started a blog to help others understand social media trends, applications, and benefits, she realized how much Instagram had to offer to her and her readers. She created her own Instagram handle – jennherman31.
When Jenn works with clients, her purpose is to enable them to use social media – correctly. While most business people know that social media is the way to go, they don’t realize the best procedure, policies, and platforms for them. For a while, Instagram fit into a category of seldom used social media practices. However, she now advocates the fun and creative outlet.
Instagram is a photo sharing version of Twitter; a user can constantly post their pictures in real time. Both smartphone owners and digital camera users have the opportunity to upload and edit photography. The feed containing the instant photographs is updated constantly for fresh content. While posting, the photographer can also use a hashtag to label the picture, in order for people to find, like, and share the photograph even after the feed has extended past that time period.
Instagram is comparable with a tweet or Facebook text post in many ways; it shares a concise message of an idea or product that can create conversation and interaction. However, it is also very different; Instagram is meant to be fun. It is meant to be creative in a different way from text posts, even ones with catchy slogans and puns. Pictures, such as those published through Instagram, change the type of interaction that a business can have with its consumers, and enables a more behind-the-scenes look. Clients enjoy an exclusivity factor that a picture can provide – an update on a product, a window into the factory or studio, and an insight to who the producers truly are. Instagram, put simply, is a fun and different way to share content that will make clients feel that they have an extra place.
Instagram is similar to and can be connected with other social media features, especially Facebook. Similar to Facebook, you can find users and photography by searching, or in this case, using the “explore” button. However, Instagram does not have EdgeRank (a fancy Facebook algorithm), so it allows literally anything to come up in the feed, and even allows for more visibility than Facebook posts.
To clarify, Facebook’s EdgeRank determines whether or not certain posts come up in a user’s feed. When a fan interacts with your page, it gives your page a higher ranking to them. The algorithm determines which of your posts to display to them based on when they are online, their other preferences, and many other factors. This can be frustrating to page moderators, since some fans will not see the content.
Jenn gave some great advice on helping your Facebook page get more views and avoid the pitfalls of EdgeRank. Facebook wants you to stay on their site, so links to external pictures, blog posts, and websites will be featured less than simple text posts. However, if you put a link to a blog post or picture, and then later post a link back to that Facebook post, it will enable more viewers to see the post. Additionally, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, Facebook’s EdgeRank will publish Instagram photo links more prominently than links to photos on other photo viewing platforms.
With Instagram, Jenn has informed us that you can allow your customers to see the real you, behind your product or business. It’s a great way to engage, no matter what you are selling. However, make sure to use it appropriately and correctly – yes, Anthony Weiner, we’re looking at you! No more sexting with photos through Twitter.
Thanks for tuning in to the 10th episode of Social Media Unscrambled! As always, you can hear the podcast live on Tuesdays at 1:30 PM EST on The Fractal Stream internet radio station, or anytime on iTunes as a podcast! As hosts Chris Curran of Fractal Recording and David Deutsch of SynergiSocial depart for the month of August, they leave a final Social Media Tip of the Week.
David recommends using bitly.com in order to shorten your links. This not only leaves more room for content in your social media post, but also tracks the amount of people who click the link. This will allow you to determine what type of post is best for your viewers, as well as the social media platforms where your posts receive the most attention. Google, too, has a link shortener, but it does not track the clicks.
Once again, thanks Jenn! Keep smiling for those photographs!
- Jenn Herman, Social Media Strategist and Instagram Expert, www.jennstrends.wordpress.com