5 tips for formulating an Instagram PR strategy

Almost all of Interbrand’s top 100 brands use the photo and video-sharing platform. Here’s what you can learn from them.

There are 200 million Instagram users in the world. That’s roughly the population of Brazil. Those users have posted more than 20 billion photos on the mobile platform.

Despite Instagram’s explosive popularity, brands and businesses are still working out their own Instagram strategies. A well considered content program can make integrating Instagram into your social arsenal as easy as adding a Valencia filter.

Blogs, Twitter and Facebook posts all perform better when accompanied by images. Get started on Instagram by assessing your content calendar through a visual lens. Ask yourself: How can I add an image to this post that will help sell my point of view?

The good news is that with more and more brands joining Instagram, more and more data are available revealing the best strategies for boosting followers and engagement. Recently, Simply Measured shared its findings from a study of the Interbrand top 100 brands and their activity on Instagram.

The firm’s research goes a long way to better understanding what content works on the platform. Here’s what brand managers thinking of upping their Instagram game should consider:

1. Be active. Of the brands in the Interbrand top 100, 86 are active on Instagram. Of those, 73 percent post one photo or video per week. However, the real champions of Instagram (Nike, for example, with its 7.3 million followers) post at least once a day. In general, if you are blogging once a week, aim to Instagram with that frequency as well. Make it easy on yourself by using Instagram as another channel to promote your blog. For example post an image illustrating the main theme of that week’s blog post to amplify your message.

2. Keep it short. Brands that are active on Instagram keep their posts to an average of 138 characters. You’re already in the habit of keeping messages to 140 characters or less for tweets, so aim for the same precision on Instagram. As an added bonus, you can tweet out your Instagram without changing the copy.

Work to get the most bang for your content buck. As you craft blog posts and tweets, challenge yourself to add an Instagram post to the content creation process.

3. Share the love. One of the most impressive and useful stats from Simply Measured’s research was that a post that tags another Instagram user or includes an “@” mention in the copy increases engagement by an average of 56 percent.

4. Use hashtags, but don’t go nuts. When it comes to hashtags, be judicious. Simply Measured found that Instagrams with one or more hashtags average 12.6 percent more engagement. Most brands stick to a single hashtag, and 91 percent use seven or less. Hashtag where relevant, but don’t go overboard.

5. Think locally. Most brands (and people) don’t tag their location (just 5 percent of Simply Measured’s list of top 100 brands do), but thinking locally can have a big pay-off. Location-tagged posts earned 79 percent more engagement.

As reporters look for visual ways to tell their stories, they’re increasingly turning to Instragram and embedding the images right into their copy. Give your company a leg up by posting content on the platform that helps reinforce your culture, news, and industry expertise.

Lee Glandorf is an account manager at InkHouse Media + Marketing. You can follow her on Twitter at @leeglandorf. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency’s Inklings blog.

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