Starbucks is using Instagram to engage with fans. Here's how your brand can do the same.
If your passion in life (or of course at work) is to leave as many footprints as possible in the social media sphere, you may already be an Instagram user (oops, sorry Android, Symbian, Windows, and BB users). And you'll be happy to know Klout recently announced adding Instagram into its measurement radar, so Instagram does matter for your social influence.
It may not sound as professional as being a contributor on ClickZ, but I must admit I'm totally addicted to Instagram lately (please follow me @rudileung). To the extent, I've even converted my wife, friends, and clients to jump on Instagram too. I'm so happy to learn I'm not alone. Learning from the official Instagram blog, there are over 7 million Instagram users and growth is solid. After launching on App Store for 10 months, Instagram is not yet a worldwide phenomenon (unlike Angry Birds, it is iOS exclusive). Nevertheless, this is not stopping opportunists in the marketing and advertising community flocking to it.
No surprise these early adopters are those brands/publishers/individuals that have been active in other social media platforms. Besides news networks such as ABC, National Geographic, NPR, and NBC, fashion brands such as Burberry, Club Monaco, Gucci, KateSpadeNY, Levi's, and Marc Jacobs are already sharing photos religiously. Another brand you won't miss is social media's favorite Starbucks. Oh yeah, Justin Beiber too.
Is Instagram just another photo sharing platform? Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger don't think so. They believe Instagram is a storytelling service and it helps people to discover the world around them.
What does it mean to marketers? It means you shouldn't just upload your formal press photos or even print ads to your brand's Instagram account. Each Instagram picture should act a bit like a postcard. It tells a nice little story through a picture, a picture that can earn a smile (in Instagram's currency, a "Like") in a split second. If you are considering Instagram as just an additional social media channel for you to synchronize content, you better think twice. Let me put it this way: don't simply synchronize content between different social media channels. Your followers already on various social channels deserve to see slightly different content from you. So how can a brand leverage its presence on Instagram? Below are five basic tactics to begin with.
With more third-party apps written based on API availability, Instagram has demonstrated numerous possibilities as a fun and creative social media platform that marketers can leverage on. The platform is still young but worth exploring. Especially if you are keen to unleash the potential of social media marketing, this is definitely a great new platform with much unexplored potential.
This column was first published Aug. 31, 2011 on ClickZ.Asia.
Rudi Leung is general manager, director of digital and social at Tribal DDB/ DDB Group Hong Kong and Guangzhou. He was formerly director of communication planning at AGENDA, an interactive agency network under the WPP/Wunderman group in Asia. He is also an exco member of Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing. Rudi previously held roles as VP of Carat Media Services, creative ambassador of Yahoo HK Media Services, and creative director of TBWA\Tequila\HK. In addition to his extensive experience as a creative director and copywriter in numerous leading 4As ad agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, and Bates, he has gained wide exposure in advertising for numerous MNC and local advertisers in the last 18 years. Besides advertising, Rudi is a part-time lecturer of HKU Space since 2007. In his leisure, Rudi is an active blogger and columnist of ClickZ, e-Zone, HK Economic Journal, and MetroPop Weekly. He holds an MBA from Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from UC Berkeley Extension, and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Chinese University of Hong Kong.
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