InstaStrategy: How to Thrive on the ‘New’ Instagram

Instagram's new look across its family of brands

What a year it’s been for Instagram! The fast-growing social platform is implementing numerous changes to celebrate its sixth year. People tend to resist change, so it’s no wonder that some of these changes have been met with consternation.

What do you think about @instagram's new look? 📷 @Regrann from @instagram – Today we’re introducing a new look. You’ll see an updated icon and app design for Instagram. Inspired by the previous app icon, the new one represents a simpler camera and the rainbow lives on in gradient form. You’ll also see updated icons for our other creative apps: Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse. We’ve made improvements to how the Instagram app looks on the inside as well. The simpler design puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app. The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become. Thank you for giving this community its life and color. You make Instagram a place to discover the wonder in the world. Every photo and video — from the littlest things to the most epic — opens a window for people to broaden their experiences and connect in new ways. #Regrann

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The Dreaded Algorithm: We all knew this moment was coming but dreaded its arrival nonetheless. When the social app announced that users’ feeds would be controlled by an algorithm, the internet exploded. My feed was flooded with posts urging me to turn on notifications from everyone or I would never see their posts again. (I hope you didn’t post one of these pleas, but if you did, please spare us when the algorithm actually goes into effect, which will be soon.)

This change should be good for both users and brands alike. I don’t think we’ll see the drastic drop in organic reach like we did on Facebook, and Instagram users are more likely to engage with posts. Make sure that you go for quality content over quantity, which is a reminder we all need from time to time (myself included).

Your devoted fans will still seek out your posts, and appropriate hashtags will continue to help bring in new traffic. Remind fans of your presence on your marketing communications and other platforms, and use data to better target your audience.

Instagram’s New Insights: A new (free) in-app analytics dashboard is on its way! While you have been able to view analytics through a third party platform, such as Iconosquare, Instagram is finally debuting an in-house dashboard to help businesses gain a better understanding of their audiences.

Dig into the data to discover the best times to post and to learn more about your audience. Where are your audience members located? What type of content do they engage with the most? Does a certain type of content extend your reach while another draws more engagement (or website visits)? You can use this information to help shape your future content and strategy while also deciding whether to promote a hot post.

Instagram Embraces Brands: In addition to Insights, the social app is rolling out Business Profiles and promoted posts after previously opening up advertising to all brands and introducing video Carousel ads.

Take advantage of the Business Profile, once available, so you can make it easier for customers to contact (and locate) you while gaining access to Insights and promoted posts. Observe how the algorithm affects your posts once it’s implemented. It may be beneficial to promote a post from time to time, such as a special offer or contest.

Instagram’s New Look: Don’t sweat it. Whether you’re a fan of the new look or not, the updated layout will better showcase your photos and videos. Just make sure to update the branding anywhere you may use it, such as marketing materials, your website or blog.

While 2016 is the year of change for Instagram, it’s still the popular social platform that we know and love. Take a deep breath and see how the algorithm affects you before panicking (or asking your community to turn on notifications). Many of these changes should help brands who are dedicated to growing and building long-term relationships with their Instagram communities.

InstaFeedback

Are you on Instagram? Leave your handle in the comments, so we can connect!

What’s your favorite (and least favorite) Instagram change?

Where does Instagram fall in your preferred list of social media platforms?

Instalik(ing) these changes,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Instagram, your marketing needs or otherwise):
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram-v051916_200 Pinterest logo

Social Media Savvy: It’s All About the Brand

Twitter bird icon

UPDATED: It’s Still All About the Brand

Whether you’re a social media superstar or a company touting your social savvy, it’s all about the brand. The social media platforms’ brands, that is. Are you brand compliant?

Facebook logo          Google+ branding          Twitter bird icon          Pinterest logo          LinkedIn logo

In July, Twitter switched its iconic identity from its well-known “t” logo to the bird. I still see “t’s” dotting the digital landscape everywhere I go.

Facebook prefers the “f” logo and generally does not allow use of the full Facebook logo.

Google+ offers a configuration tool for use of its logo online, but does not approve of the use of its +1 icon in online ads.

Pinterest offers use of both its full name and “p” logos and gives examples of successful brands utilizing its platform.

The LinkedIn name (not logo) should always be accompanied by the ® or ™ symbol, and its logo should always be used in color for online use (and offline, if practical).

For your convenience, I’ve included links below to current branding guidelines for these networks:

Remember, you can still get social while being brand compliant!

Are you using outdated branding guidelines to promote your social media usage? Have you never even given social media branding a second thought? I’d love to hear your take on this topic along with any other suggestions you have to shine on the social media stage.

While you’re at it, connect with me! Below are links to my presences on these social networks. I’d love to hear from you via these networks or in the comments below.

Enjoy the day,
Jaime

Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Pinterest logo  LinkedIn logo

Image credits:
Facebook Brand Permissions Center *** Google+ Brand Guidelines *** Twitter Trademark and Content Display Policy *** Pinterest Goodies *** LinkedIn Branding Guidelines

Social Media: What Do I Say? (Part 2)

In the last post, we discussed how to recycle quality content from other resources. As mentioned, this is a great way to continue to provide your fans and followers with compelling content while not bearing the load of always creating original content. It’s also a wonderful way to make connections on social media platforms and draw the attention of others.

Original Content
At some point, you will want to create original content as well. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. There are several ways to quickly create engaging content to help draw your fans and followers into a conversation with you.

  • Successful case studies / testimonials — these are a great way to showcase what your business can do without saying so yourself. Customer testimonials or situations where you came through for a customer show other customers and prospects that you are a dependable business who will solve their challenges too. Check with customers before sharing specific information, such as their client names, order amounts or details of a project that may include proprietary business practices, etc.
  •  This / that questions — ask a question with two answers — this or that. For example, you see two new products at a tradeshow. Post pictures of both and ask your fans or followers whether they prefer product A or product B. It’s a great way to engage your fans and also garner feedback on what they like.
  • Pictures / videos — images are such a powerful way to break through the sea of text online and help to establish a human connection with your followers. Post pictures of your building, yourself with clients, product testing, at shows, etc. Don’t be afraid to mix in personal ones as well!
  • Quotes — inspiring or positive quotes can be a great way to make people smile and catch their attention. Quotes are often highly shared or retweeted, so they’re a great way to grow your follower base.

Don’t get overwhelmed with producing fresh content and stop updating your social media in fear of posting the wrong thing. Just use common sense when posting, and don’t be afraid to mix personal in with business. Yes, you have to be careful, but it’s a great way to show the person or people behind your business. Always remember…

People do business with people, not businesses.

They want to know who you are, what your hobbies are and the connections they have with you. Social media is a fantastic way to truly get social, and bring a human touch online and off.

Do you have other ideas on creating original content for social media? Please share in the comments. I would love to hear about them!

Jaime

Social Media: What Do I Say?

While hosting a series of interactive sessions on social media, the #1 question I received was about content. (Most) attendees understood the value of social media to their businesses, how these platforms could increase their search engine optimization and really help them develop relationships with customers, prospects and partners. “But what do I say?” is always what we circled back to.

Recycled Content
The good news is that you don’t have to necessarily create all of the content you’ll use. There are a plethora of great information sources available, depending on the type of content your audience is interested in. Not sure? Following are some great places to start recycling content for your social media platforms.

  • Your blog and/or website — fresh, interesting content ready made to push out to your networks!
  • Industry organization trade journals, websites, blogs, etc. — the leaders in your industry are probably putting out some great content, so reuse it. You’ll have content to share to your followers and fans while helping these organizations gain greater reach as well. [Note: make sure anything that you share is appropriate for your customers.]
  • Mashable — if your customers are on social media, chances are they are interested in it and technology in general. This is a leading site in these areas that generates interesting content daily.
  • Share other social media users’ content – find companies or individuals that provide compelling content and follow or like them. You’ll be able to share or retweet their information from your timeline or Twitter stream so it goes out to your followers or fans as well. Sharing or retweeting content is a great way to establish connections or be noticed by others on social media. Remember to thank those who are gracious enough to share your information.

Do you have other favorite sources for recycled content? Please share! We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Coming on Thursday… Social Media: What Do I Say? (Part 2) focusing on original content creation.

Jaime