How to Harness Instagram for PR Purposes

These days Instagram isn’t just for puppy pictures and filtered selfies of pouty, prosecco-drinking ladies. Nope. It’s now one of the largest social media platforms going, right behind Facebook and YouTube in terms of popularity. What started as a fun photo-sharing playground has grown into a stage for self-promotion, and the ultimate shop window for anyone with a service, talent, or product to sell.

As far as marketing and PR goes, it’s perfect. According to Brand Watch, over 95 million posts are made every day, and around 63% of the 1 billion monthly users get their Insta fix on a daily basis. When you combine that huge audience with a hashtag search feature, it means lots of people are looking for exactly what you’ve got to offer. So how can it work for your personal and brand PR?

Show your products off

A picture says a thousand words – and if it’s the right picture, two of those words will be “get it!”. The key is to make your product or service look aspirational. Are you a fashion designer? Don’t showcase your frock on a hanger or a mannequin. Put it on a model in a visually interesting place, like a wildflower meadow or a glamorous roof terrace with a twinkling cityscape behind it. Are you an interior designer? Don’t just snap and grab. Take a glossy mag-worthy picture that would make world-famous interior designer Kelly Hoppen neutral-green with envy.

While you can waffle on about how great the product is in the caption, Instagram is almost entirely visual: the picture should always do the talking, and it should always do it creatively.

Call in the influencers

Beyond just posting the image on your page, it’s also worth considering an influencer outreach programme. Instagram is thriving with professional influencers with large, dedicated followings that hang on their every picture – and every recommendation. There are influencers influencing every aspect of life, from fitness, fashion and interiors, to technology, gaming and cars.

Seek out the influencers that are relevant to your product or service and get in touch with their management team. Often smaller influencers will promote your product for free (if you send it to them for free), while the bigger ones will require a fee. The very best influencers are masters of selling something with a beautiful picture, so they’ll do the hard work for you.

Need a little guidance on how to use PR to get that blue tick? Read: How to use PR for Instagram Verification.

Tell an engaging story

These days every major brand has a profile on every major social media platform, Instagram included. Everyone from Nike to Starbucks recognise the value of engaging with their customers, and a great way to do this on Instagram is with a ‘story’. The story feature allows you to post a video, picture, or post that will appear on the story reel for every one of your followers for a 24-hour period after you post it. And if you’ve got a lot of followers, it’ll reach a lot of people.

A great way to forge a connection with your followers is to offer a behind the scenes look at your business. Show them around the office. Let them see the craftsmanship that goes into your products in the workshop. Or give them a sneak peek at future products. Brands that were once seemingly disconnected to their customers are now making connections, thanks to clever moves like these.

Show your audience who you are

It’s one thing sharing your message with a tweet or a blog. But it’s another showing it visually. And that’s because powerful images are quicker to digest than powerful words. The beauty of Instagram is that you can show your personal or brand ethos, with very little effort. People can scroll down your page and very quickly decipher what you’re about, whether that’s corporate, professional, quirky or liberal.

Support the LGBTQ+ community? Show off something rainbow-y. Care about gender equality? Show strong women in the workplace. Want to promote the charity you support? Show the difference your efforts are making. All of your posts collectively project a single impression, so bear that in mind every time you post a new one.

Remember to post regularly

One mistake brands and entrepreneurs often make with their social media pages is that they don’t post often enough – let alone engage with their audiences. The point of having a social media page for your business isn’t just so that you’ve got a bit of free marketing: it’s to act as a regular reminder to your customers that you’re there. That way, when they need a new dress, a personal trainer, or a night out somewhere, they’ll think of you – especially if the glossy images you’ve produced are still fresh in their minds.

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