Instagram’s New Logo Shows Importance of Social Media Branding

A sample of Instagram's new look

(image from Instagram’s blog)

In our evolving digital age, organizations must recognize the importance of online presence in marketing and reputation management. Even a seemingly simple branding change can have a significant impact on the public’s opinion of a product. Take a trending topic from two weeks ago, for instance: Instagram, one of the world’s most popular social media/photo-sharing platforms, generated a firestorm of criticism for its recently-redesigned logo. The new image inspired snide memes, critical tweets and New York Times coverage headlined “The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016.” While such a strong reaction to something as simple as a logo change may seem incredible, the story goes to show that social media users care deeply about the platforms they use. In this case, a simple marketing choice had a major effect on popular opinions of Instagram.

More importantly, however, this month’s Instagram drama is a reminder of just how big a part social media platforms play in today’s digitally-connected environment. Since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown from a simple photo-sharing service with one million users into a global platform on which more than 80 million photos and videos are shared every day. Today it’s one of the most popular websites in the world.

Like many other popular networking platforms, Instagram has expanded from a purely personal network to an important presence for businesses and organizations. According to one report, almost 40% of marketers used Instagram to promote their products in 2015. But it isn’t just the number of Instagram users that stands out, it’s also the level of interactivity the platform allows between businesses and their target audiences. Social media sites like Instagram allow customers to invite their favorite corporations and causes into the stream of their everyday lives. Organizations need to capitalize on the opportunities provided by these platforms to interact with their target audiences frequently and consistently.

The Public Relations and Marketing Group, LLC (PRMG) can help your organization successfully navigate today’s complex media environment. As a full-service public relations, marketing and digital advertising agency, we have extensive experience in increasing individuals’ and corporations’ visibility across all major social media platforms. If you have any questions about our social media or other marketing services, please contact us at (631) 207-1057 or at johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

Sale Tag WreathThe most prosperous time of year is approaching: the fourth financial quarter and the holiday season. How can your business capitalize from the holiday rush? Start planning your holiday marketing efforts now! Use your business’ social media sites, online marketing, and public relations efforts to build a comprehensive holiday marketing plan. Continue reading “Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing”

Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money

marketing

Marketing is essential for the growth of any business. Even if you offer a top-notch product or service, without sufficient exposure, potential customers may never be aware of what your business has to offer. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have a large budget to spend on comprehensive marketing campaigns. Costly forms of marketing can be very effective in attracting new customers, but if the budget isn’t there, businesses can take advantage of alternative methods. Fortunately, there are many ways to attract new customers without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on where you should be spending your money when dealing with a tight marketing budget. Continue reading “Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money”

How Photo Sharing Sites Can Help Your Business

Photo Sharing Websites

Photo sharing websites have taken the Web by storm by offering a new medium for individuals and businesses alike to share multimedia and develop their brand. When used properly, photo sharing can bring a human face and creativity to your organization. These sites also provide essential links back to your website or blog, building traffic and enhancing your search engine optimization. Best of all, photo sharing sites are completely free and don’t require a huge time commitment.

This article will provide you with an overview of the most popular photo sharing websites:PinterestInstagram and Flickr.

Pinterest — With new social media sites popping up left and right, Pinterest has already distinguished itself as a photo sharing powerhouse. It’s already one of the 10 most visited social networking sites, according to a study by Experian Hitwise, with more Web traffic than Tumblr and Google+! Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to organize, share and store all of their favorite photos, called “pins,” from the Web. For example, someone may create a board for “Recipes,” “Ideas for the Home” or “Favorite Products.” Users can “follow” others to keep up-to-date with their boards, discover new things and connect with others who have similar interests. They can also “re-pin” someone else’s pin that they want to add to their own boards (similar to Twitter’s “re-tweet” button). With millions of new pins added every week, this social networking site is connecting users from all over the world. Here are several tips for using Pinterest to promote your business:

  • Don’t Overly Promote Yourself — One thing to keep in mind is that you should not excessively promote yourself on Pinterest. While it’s fine to post a photo of a product or project that you’re proud of, businesses should avoid pure self-promotion. An important part of Pinterest is that it can humanize your business, which is essential to connecting with your audience on a more personal level. Consider creating boards for other content on the Web that you like and want to share with your followers, rather than only your own material. For example, the social media organization Mashable uses Pinterest to categorize “What We’re Loving on the Web.” Instead of including only their own material and self-promotion, they have boards for “Web Humor,” “Infographics” and “Tech and Gadgets.”

  • What Should I Pin? — Depending on your industry or organization, there are a variety of photos that would be appropriate for a business to add to Pinterest. See below for examples:

    • Restaurants — Since food is very popular on Pinterest, restaurants would benefit from posting photos of the meals they offer and recipes.

    • Retailers — Retail stores can post photos of new products, fashion and other services.

    • Non-profit Organizations — Depending on their field, non-profits could post “behind-the-scenes” photos from the work they do, inspiring pictures or quotes, photos from events and more.

  • Include Links — When posting a pin, always include a link back to the original page. This way, when users click on the photo, they can be taken to your website, wherever the photo was derived from or wherever you’d like to take them.

  • How Do I Begin? — To start using Pinterest, create a profile here.

Instagram — Instagram is a real-time photo sharing application, available in the App store. Unfortunately, Instagram is only available on the Apple iPhone or iPod touch for now. While it is not available on desktops just yet, the company does intend to extend Instagram to a website. When you upload a photo to Instagram, you can choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot. These filters can instantly convert your mobile photo into a creative, artsy or professional-looking snapshot. For example, you can use filters such as “Toaster,” “Inkwell” and “1977” to customize the look of your photo. When used effectively, Instagram could become a powerful way of attracting, engaging and nourishing a follower base. Here are several tips for how businesses can incorporate Instagram into their social media strategy:

  • Link Instagram to Your Other Social Media Profiles — The benefits of Instagram are that it is incredibly fast and simple and integrates with other social media platforms. Businesses can easily link Instagram to FacebookTwitterFlickrand FourSquare profiles to incorporate multimedia on a regular basis.

  • Be Creative — As with any photo sharing site, keep in mind that it’s about being interesting and fun, not about pushing products down your audience’s throat. Instagram is unique from other photo sharing sites because of its use of custom photo filters. For example, take a look at how Starbucks has uploaded creative shots of their products using the photo filters here.

  • What Should I Upload to Instagram? — As with any photo sharing site, it depends on your business and what industry you belong to. For example, if you’re a non-profit organization, you can see how non-profits are using Instagram here. Generally, any business can use Instagram to upload and customize photos from special events, new products and “behind-the-scenes” photos of your business’ work, services or daily activities.

  • How Do I Begin? — To begin, download the Instagram App here and create your profile.

Flickr — Flickr allows users to submit photos and videos and organize them using tags and “sets,” where other members can browse and interact with each other. Businesses can use Flickr to store and share graphics, photos and videos that are relevant to their business or industry in some way. It’s also not frowned upon to add a personal touch to your business’ Flickr profile by adding a separate set for favorite photos or videos that haven’t been created by your organization. Using Flickr is another great way to incorporate multimedia into your Web, social media and overall marketing strategy. Here are several tips for incorporating Flickr into your business’ social media marketing strategy:

  • Interact with the Flickr Community — To boost their popularity on the site and increase their level of engagement, businesses can interact with other Flickr users. Comment on other photos you like, add special photos to your “favorites” list and encourage comments. At the minimum, be sure to reply to any and all comments left on your company’s photos.

  • Join Flickr Groups — Flickr Groups are a great way to interact with your target audiences. Businesses can submit photos and videos to these groups, depending on their posting rules and whether the group is public or private. To begin, search for relevant groups and submit requests to join.

  • How Do I Begin? — To sign up for Flickr, you’ll need a Yahoo ID. To sign up for Yahoo, click here. Once you have your ID, create a Flickr profile by clicking here and begin posting photos and videos that relate to your business or industry.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.