Facebook-owned Instagram began highlighting the most engaging brand content on its site this week, which it says is partly based on a new book called The Instagram Handbook for Brands.
A spokeswoman for the photo-sharing site says that the book's release will be limited only to select brands, however. Among the brands it profiles are Ben & Jerry's, Nike, Patagonia, Chobani, and Disneyland, which Instagram says "bring their unique identities and values to life through captivating imagery and a focus on their respective communities." It will also address 10 popular hashtags and brand values.
In a blog posted this week, Instagram highlights five tips that marketers can draw from brands. Eyeglass retailer Warby Parker is lauded for innovative work that draws from trends within the Instagram community, while camera maker GoPro gets high marks for intriguing photography that shows the unique possibilities for its products. General Electric is praised for highlighting the surreal beauty of its technological wonders - from trains to jet engines to wind farms - while Nike and Chobani are cited for starting a movement that goes beyond the brand with the use of hashtags such as #runfree or #creationaday.
Sue B. Zimmerman, social media consultant and self-proclaimed "Instagram gal," says that while big brands continue to provide inspiration to small and medium-sized companies, there are numerous small entrepreneurs on the platform that deserve just as much credit. Among them, she says are cupcake purveyor Baked By Melissa as well as Saudi artist Ahlam Alnajdi, who has garnered as many as 1 million followers over the platform with eye-catching photographs of her work, which mimics baked goods.
"The brands that are doing well [on Instagram] have in place a visual content strategy that resonates with the company culture, whether large or small," says Zimmerman, who says she grew the revenues of her own Cape Cod-based store by 40 percent using the resources of the Instagram platform.
Small businesses can do amazing things, she notes, with free editing tools such as Pic Play Post, an app that allows users to create sequential videos. "Even if you have no budget, you can wing it. The most important thing is to have visual curation that aligns with your company's core messaging," she notes. "Being true to your brand is imperative, because people feel connected to the real you."
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014