• 3 ways communication professionals can maximise value from Instagram

    Social media has provided communication professionals with a growing number of assets at their disposal.

    Instagram has emerged as a popular option over recent years, but across the board it seems as though companies aren't fully grasping how to utilise it best. One study found roughly 83 per cent of respondents have had at least one bad experience with a corporate social media account, according to Webbiquity.

    The photo and video sharing app can be a powerful tool in a well designed perception management strategy, but can just as easily do more harm than good. Here are a few ways you can get the most value out of Instagram:

    1. Learn from history

    The best place to start is by reviewing a mistake. Vera Bradley, a fashion brand, launched a campaign that meant to empower its audience. It interviewed 100 women and got their thoughts on why they felt it was good to be a woman in today's society. Once it was launched, social media instead saw it as sexist, as many of the responses focused on handbags or makeup, according to Campaign Live.

    Rather than shut it all down, the company instead started to pull from some of the negative feedback it was getting and used those quotes to help appeal to a wider audience. This shift resulted in an 80 per cent increase in website traffic directly attributable to the campaign. The morale of the story here: A failed Instagram campaign doesn't necessarily mean it isn't salvageable. Learn from your audience and adjust accordingly.

    Companies can forge connections with their audiences through visual storytelling.Companies can forge connections with their audiences through visual storytelling.

    2. Give consumers a closer look at your brand

    Images are powerful storytellers, making Instagram the perfect app to connect with your audience. Corporations are often seen as machines that care little about customers, but social media can change that perception.

    The app currently has over 200 million active daily members that use its "stories" feature, according to PR Daily. This can be used to your advantage to show the daily life of new employees, or how the company is tackling social causes near and dear to the target audience's heart. This type of passive reinforcement helps to solidify the brand's culture and can come in handy in the case of a scandal that communication professionals have to remedy. Being able to redirect a recent, undesirable conversation to the charity work the organisation participates in is a valuable asset.

    3. Use it as a testing ground

    Throughout history there have been many corporate affairs campaigns that felt like sure-things, only to be real misses. While focus groups are still an important piece of the puzzle, Instagram is starting to take it's place. Follower figures aren't enormous for many brands, making it a perfect starting point for companies to gauge reactions while inflicting as little damage to reputation as possible, the Huffington Post reported.

    Other social media cohorts like Facebook and Twitter are ideal for driving traffic to websites and generating leads, while Instagram excels in connecting with the audience due to its visual storytelling capability. This is a valuable disconnect that can give a campaign its legs to get up and running. If it's successful, you can draw it out even more on other apps. If it doesn't necessarily sit well with your audience, your exposure will be minimal.

    Ultimately, Instagram can forge powerful brand connections with consumers when it's used correctly. Communication professionals can leverage it in a number of ways – to launch a campaign, address a scandal or build culture. With evolving technology like virtual and augmented reality coming to light as viable options, it will only gain more popularity in the field. For more, please visit our Insights page.

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