I love social media strategy. If you email me and ask me about working on a project, I will inevitably have a whole strategy sorted out in my mind before we ever even sign a contract. My brain is constantly figuring out how to do things to build brands, audiences and businesses. As much as I love social media and love building strategy, a part of the social media game I do not like is saying “no” to people: “No, you should not set up a Pinterest,” or “No, you don’t have a budget for 10 channels,” or “No, Instagram is not the right choice.” Okay, it’s not that I would say “no” to you about Instagram right away. I would like to say “yes,” because Instagram is my new favorite social media channel. I love it because it is visual, it is easy to interact with audiences and grow followings (depending on what you are about) and it is so much fun! Nonetheless, it is still another channel to manage. You still need strategy, even minimal strategy. You need to be a visual brand or company. Oh, and by the way, you need to like taking photos and posting them and talking about them. Yeah, that’s a lot to need to do to use Instagram effectively. But it doesn’t end there. You also need to determine if your audience is on Instagram, and if they want to hear from you. You need to decide how it is that you will actually market your service or product on Instagram. There are limitations, one being that you cannot link from photos unless you pay for a carousel advertisement.
Any time you consider a new channel, you need to look at it and honestly assess the complexities before making a plunge. Just because a channel is the latest and greatest or the buzz is that this is the way to get your product or service out there, it does not mean it is right for you and your brand. Most businesses small or large are still grappling with the basics. Most don’t have a budget that is even allowing for a great Facebook or Twitter presence. Most have not even committed fully that social media is a revolutionary communication tool and needs to be leveraged just like the phone or email has been. Social media is more complex than any other communication tool we have had in the past. Social media is not one tool, and there is not one right way to use it. It’s evolving before our eyes. And with that, we need to be nimble and smart.
Should you use Instagram? Here is a checklist to help you decide:
- Do you have a visual story to tell?
- Do you like taking photos or does your staff?
- Do you have additional time or resources to devote to keeping your Instagram updated?
- Are you willing to invest in some basic strategy to integrate Instagram into your current social media mix?
- Is your audience using Instagram? Do they want to hear from you on instagram?
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then I say “yes,” run to Instagram! If you said “no” to most of these questions, it’s okay! It doesn’t mean there aren’t great, popular channels for your brand. Feel free to ask me questions, get more Instagram help or share your successes and failures. I love hearing people’s stories almost as much as I love building brands. — Photo Credit