By Jamie Jackson
I love Instagram. I really do. It’s fun to post pictures and to get a sneak peek into strangers’ lives (why is this not a weird statement anymore?).
Instagram is a popular social media outlet for personal use, however, it is also becoming popular among companies for branding and marketing. Here are a few tips to get the most out of Instagram for your business (or even your personal account).
Use brightly colored and well-lit photos
An attractive photo stream doesn’t usually involve unedited, dull pictures. Starbucks’ Instagram feed is full of colorful and attractive photos.
However – not all black and white pictures should be thrown in the trash. Leon Bridges’ photo stream has some great examples of how black and white pictures can still be great for Instagram.
Leon is an R&B artist embracing soul music. These black and white images line up perfectly with Leon’s personal brand and the subjects he sings about.
Instagram is effective when people follow you, and you gain followers by giving people what they want. On Instagram, that means aesthetically pleasing photos.
No one wants to see another ad on Instagram. Sure, if you’re a clothing store, post pictures of new arrivals. If you have a great new product, it’s okay to feature it in a post. But Instagram shouldn’t be used as an online store. Try something like this:
Tell stories. Show consumers the faces behind the name.
You are more than an ad agency or a boring, unoriginal company. Show the fun! Unless you really want people to think you’re a boring, unoriginal company – in which case, I’m afraid I can’t help you there.insta
If you use Instagram, actually USE it
Post consistently. Don’t post once or twice, or for a season. If you put an intern in charge of the account, make sure someone else takes over after they leave.
Consistency is key in posting and branding. If you use hashtags on Twitter or Facebook, use the same for Instagram. Use your same logo as the profile picture, link to the same website, use the same voice and use your brand. Instagram provides a unique opportunity to tell your story solely through pictures. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Steward them well.
By this, I don’t mean try to use modern slang just because it’s used by young people. You risk misusing or misunderstanding words and phrases, potentially losing credibility and followers. Instead, follow current trends and try to stay fun. This post from McDonald’s is a great example.
Celebrate things like hump day. Be relevant in your posts on holidays or during big world issues. This might seem like it won’t affect sales, but an online presence that seems real and personal is so valuable to a company – especially with younger people.
While Insta is more fun and exciting than a lot of other tools, it’s still very measurable and very valuable. Do it better by evaluating your efforts with Instagram analytics tools. Instagram is great for reaching younger audiences and telling your story with photos. Evaluating any social media effort is a chance to show the C-suite their money is being used well. It also gives coordinators a chance to change their efforts as needed depending on what works and what doesn’t. Evaluation helps to refine and target your audiences and determines if you are indeed reaching them. All efforts are wasteful if not evaluated frequently.
Social media is a wonderful branding tool when used properly. Millennials grew up with this stuff, so employ some of them to help you navigate new waters. It’s worth it. Speaking of social, you’ll want to follow IPR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.
by Briana Piercey
We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.
There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.
Control your content
Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.
The “non-renewable” post
When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.
Social media safety
Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:
Don’t announce your every move
“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.
Know who your friends and followers are
Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.
Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content
Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.
Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Elissa Huck
The problem: Social media addiction
In our technology-driven world, we are connected through Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and more on a daily basis. Sharing photos and updates with people at the touch of a button seems convenient, but what happens when we’re more engaged with our cyber connections than our real relationships? Have you ever been caught trying to subtly Snapchat a selfie in public? Are you a chronic “subtweeter?” Do you find yourself obsessing over the best filter for your Instagram post? All evidence considered, you are more than likely addicted to social media.
The solution: The “social media guard”
Fortunately, Coca-Cola has the solution to breaking our social media addiction. It’s a Coke-themed cone that fits around your head and intervenes your 24-hour connection with all social media. The company unveiled its spoof product (ironically) through a YouTube video that went viral. An E Online article summarizes how the short video “mocks people who Instagram photos of their meals instead of talking to their friends over dinner, dads who ignore their kids because they’re on their phone and children who are too busy looking at cat videos to notice their actual pet cat.” The social media guard is applied in each scenario, and the people can miraculously enjoy spending quality time with their friends and family. The faux product promises, “It takes the social out of media and puts it back into your life.”
Enjoy a real moment…and a Coke
In the past week, the video has reached nearly 4 million views. Coca-Cola commented, “We have just started a conversation on a light-hearted look at how social media can dominate our daily lives and how it has changed the way that we ‘share’ moments with each other. This is not to downplay the value that technology brings to our lives, rather an invitation to enjoy every day’s uplifting moments as they happen.” Coke’s witty video encourages us to put down our phones, tablets and laptops in order to fully acknowledge the world around us. Instead of “liking” a post, compliment people for their achievements. Rather than “sharing” a video, get together and have a conversation with friends. It’s important to get back to basics and foster real, meaningful relationships because sometimes being social doesn’t require any media at all.
Photo courtesy of: adweek
By Raysha Sally
As communication styles change and social media becomes more and more an everyday part of life, society has adapted. Public relations professionals often see social media as a tool for reaching our publics, and though we all know there are negatives to social media can, I believe most professionals would agree it’s a positive thing. However, that isn’t always the case.
For many years graffiti was used as an outlet for gangs to mark their territory, but now they have moved to the Internet. Today, gangs use social media as a way to communicate with one another and plan organized crimes. In a study of five large cities, researchers found that social media is used by 80 percent of gang members (according to Solutions for State and Local Government Technologies).
Not only can gangs send messages via social media, they can also post videos of their crimes, recruit others, and of course threaten other gangs. Today a gang can simply post what they want the public to know to social media. With the vast majority of cellphones having cameras, anyone can be a videographer, and in just a few clicks that video of a crime can be shared with the world.
In addition, gangs use the Internet and social media to monitor where police officers are; they warn each other as well and give each other the all-clear. Another trend gangs use on the West Coast is referred to as “flocking.” This is where a mass text is sent to gang members, telling them to show up at a specific place and conduct an organized crime, according to Government Technologies.
Gangs also send slanderous messages to other gangs via rap song through sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Last fall, videos posted to the web were what led to 18-year-old rapper Lil JoJo’s murder in Chicago, according to Government Technologies.
Public relations professionals usually see social media as a cost effective way to send out a message, and now gangs view it in the same regard. By one person, simply, sharing a status, video or image, it can quickly be seen by thousands.
According to a Daytona Beach Journal, gangs utilizing social media was seen just last week when five boys beat up a 14-year-old, filming the crime and posting it to Facebook. Luckily there was a light at the end of the tunnel for police. The video was used as police evidence and the four boys were arrested.
Though social media has become a tool for gang members, police believe it can help them execute their jobs properly as well. If officers know the ins and outs of how to utilize social media as a tool to catch gang members and criminals, more justice can be served. Unfortunately, officers fear they might not be able to prevent the crimes. For example, in the Florida case, officers were able to find those guilty of the crime because of the video, but they were unable to prevent the crime, itself. The hope is with the proper training, social media will become a more valuable tool for law enforcement than it is for gang members and criminals.
Many times in public relations we are faced with the question: Is this situation a problem or an opportunity? Therefore I will ask you, is the rise of social media use among gangs a problem for police or an opportunity?