The popularity of Instagram is clear, and if you are inclined to snap photos and share them with your friends and customers on social networks you can make your business more social and build a powerful sharing community on Instagram quickly.
Why does Instagram work so well? Because we humans are most inspired by visuals. According to our friends at Hubspot, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.
How to use Instagram to grow your visibility
This post is really about how to use Instagram’s power to raise the visibility of your brand or cause using simple contests. Take a look at a couple of cases here, and then skip to the bottom to see how you can use the power of photos.
Learn from some successful Instagram campaigns
In February Diet Coke asked users to share photos with the tag #Showyourheart and for every upload Diet Coke donated $1 to support women’s health programs. On Instagram it generated 5,274 uploads and the Diet Coke Instagram account topped 22,000 followers.
Coca-Cola aligned their mission with women and heart-health and the fans produced all of the content. They gave away less than $6,000 (based on $1 per upload) for a whole lot of goodwill.
Comodo NYC leveraged our obsession with photos of our dinner. Sure it’s annoying, unless you are as food-obsessed as I am. Then it’s just fun. They set up the hashtag #Comodomenu, put it on the bottom of the menu in the restaurant and online, and asked guests to both share their photos and tag them as well as browse the tag on Instagram to see what dishes were most popular.
This video has 127,217 views. Almost 800 photos have been tagged on Instagram #Comodomenu. Had you ever heard of Comodo NYC before? Yeah, me neither. But now you have.
The automaker leveraged Instagram for the launch of the F-type during the Los Angeles Auto show. Users were asked to post images on Facebook and Instagram and tag them #CaptureaJag. Images were displayed on Jaguar USA’s Facebook page and voted on there as well as by a panel of judges.
There were over 700 entries on Instagram alone, and according to their Facebook stats, went from 14,487 to 66,032 “People talking about this” during the end of the contest in February. Impressive, even for a big brand.
Can YOU do it too?
So great, these brands are running campaigns and getting attention. How can you create an effective Instagram campaign? Notice these aren’t all big brands. You can do something creative and fun even with a minimal budget. You just need to plan for it.
Start with the basics
Set some goals. What do you want the results to be? What can you ask people to photograph and share that will get results? How will you measure those results?
Really think about what you have that people will want to talk about. Food is easy. So is travel. Did you write a book about something? What could they upload pictures of that would be fun for them?
If you are running this as a contest, think of a prize that people will relate their images to. It doesn’t have to break the bank, sometimes just having fun is enough!
Make it easy for people to understand what they need to do, what the hashtag is and why they should care. Make it very clear you will show their photos off to the world!
Use multiple platforms
Hashtags exist on several platforms. Even though they’re not official on Facebook we still use them there as well as Pinterest, Twitter Tumblr, Flickr and Google+. If you really want to get mileage out of this, use it on as many networks as you can, but only the ones where you already have a valid presence. Building community while running a contest can be challenging, and sometimes fool-hardy. If we go there and see you don’t have much to say we are less inclined to follow. Use the platforms that already work best for you.
Talk to everybody
When a brand talks back to people it creates a bond. We’re happy you think enough of us to talk back. Respond to comments and questions. Ask questions about the photos and draw out the people who shared them. Be human. We are much more likely to talk about the campaign if we feel you are engaged instead of watching from a distance. In addition, commenting on a photo and having more interaction on it will increase the potential for that post to make it to the coveted “explore” tab within Instagram. When it shows up there it’s shown to people outside your personal netwok and offers the potential to reach whole new audiences.
Measure and track
A lot of the statistics we shared with you here came from Statigram. If you’re not signed up go do that right now. You’ll get a lot of great information before, during and after the contest. Statigram also offers a contest toolkit. It’s a paid tool, but you get a landing page for the contest to live on so you can list rules and show off the best of the best, allow people to vote and much more.
Don’t stop there though. Measure the other networks too. I use Tweetreach for Twitter reporting, but you can use TagsinAction for reporting across multiple social networks. It is super-easy to use and instantly search multiple networks.
That’s it. It really is pretty simple isn’t it? What other campaigns have you seen done well? Share them in the comments for us to learn from!