Why Instagram Should Anchor Your Visual Content Strategy

Why Instagram Should Anchor Your Visual Content Strategy
October 11, 2012

While the growing popularity of Instagram shouldn’t be a shock to anyone following social media or digital content, it was still amazing to see this report from Comscore. During August, Instagram beat Twitter in terms of average daily active users (DAU), 7.3 million to 6.9 million, and the average Instagram user spent 87 more minutes on the network than the average Twitter user.

Instagram’s skyrocketing popularity places it square in the middle of the explosive rise of visual social content: images, infographics, and photos that are driving social sharing and brand engagement, while also influencing changes ranging from Facebook’s visual-heavy Timeline design to entirely new social networks such as Pinterest (which we love, incidentally).

Given the diverse and growing need for smart brand’s to use visual content, it makes sense to *start* with Instagram as your visual content hub – the natural place to anchor your most engaging photos, that feeds the rest of your social media channels and programs.

Why base your visual content on Instagram?

It focuses you on creating shareable, relatable content: With the growing influence of social media on everything from search to buying decisions, the focus of any content marketing program should be on creating and seeding content that drives sharing. The same holds true for visual content. Focusing efforts on creating images that work particularly well on Instagram helps keep the emphasis on crafting highly shareable content.

Brands ranging from Burberry to Time have created rich streams of highly engaging, highly shareable visual content on Instagram by providing candid shots, informal images, behind-the-scenes looks, photos with a personal touch, and so on – all designed to connect with their community and inspire fans to share with their friends. Content designed with those goals in mind is ready-made to succeed across your other social media channels such as Pinterest and Facebook.

It keeps community engagement front-of-mind: As important as sharing is, how your community of fans and followers reacts to and interacts with your content is just as critical to running an effective social media effort. Designing content that engages your Instagram community, gauging their reaction, and building off what you learn from them helps keep your content relevant and effective. And again, by starting with Instagram you’re set up nicely to also feed the insatiable visual content needs of your other social media channels.

The opportunities for scaleable reach and engagement are massive: With limited resources, you go where the audience is and where you’re most likely to gain traction. There’s a reason why brands flock to Facebook – all their customers and prospective customers are already there, and actively sharing and interacting with content. The same increasingly holds true for Instagram, as its growing reach and incredible user engagement numbers mentioned above amply demonstrate.

Extend Instagram content across social media channels

We’ve recently begun working on a visual content program for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts called Four Seasons Fotog. It’s all about beautiful photography selected and created for Instagram, which feeds a dedicated Tumblr site:

The Four Seasons Fotog Instagram feed also pushes selected images to PinterestTwitter and Facebook in addition to the core digital properties such as Four Seasons Magazine.

The net result is a visual social media content program, anchored on Instagram, that becomes a powerful stream of photos – designed with sharing and the specific user community in mind – for use by other digital and social media channels.

What kinds of strategies do you use for creating and seeding visual content?

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