4 Lessons We’ve Learned By Tapping Into Instagram’s Influence

September 15, 2015

Instagram Strategies For Starters

Most businesses, no matter their size, have established a presence on one or two social media platforms, with the “Big 3 of Social” being Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

However, as my colleague Jamie wrote in her series about B2B Marketing on Pinterest, brands need to branch out further.

Sure, it can be difficult to decide where to head next, but if I told you another social media platform boasted more than 300 million monthly active users and was comparatively still untapped by marketing professionals, would your interest be piqued?

Mine was, which led me to begin posting to PR Newswire’s Instagram account this past spring. It hasn’t been easy, especially as a B2B organization. However, here are four lessons I learned while building our Instagram audience by more than 250% since May 1.

Identify your brand’s specific purpose for Instagram.

Content — whether it’s a blog post or white paper, webinar or press release — is a fundamental component of PR Newswire’s marketing strategy. And to promote that content, we use a multi-channel, synchronized approach across owned, earned and paid media.

Subsequently, my goal for Instagram was to reach a new audience with our content. Because Instagram’s audience tends to celebrate authentic, vibrant photos of the world, I try to tie relevant photography from the areas surrounding our offices to the theme of one of our blog posts.

For instance, the photo below is of the Colgate Clock in Jersey City, New Jersey. It flowed well with the message behind that day’s blog post, which was that breaking into emerging markets is all about timing. Not only is it a playful reference towards the topic at hand, it’s a visually striking image making it something people will engage with.


Think of Instagram as a visual content marketing channel.

Every photo you post is a direct representation of your brand, so think of each Instagram photo as content creation. It’s not as easy as just snapping a quick photo on your way to work and posting it without putting thought into why.

Putting time and effort into your Instagram content is what will make you successful.

You also don’t have to limit yourself to photos. People on social love to share a good quote graphic. Here, I took a key message from one of our blog selections and made that the day’s Instagram image.

Secret Weapon of Content Marketing is PR

Take this opportunity to be different.

Each social media platform requires a particular voice. If you’re spending most of your time on one of the big 3, the tone you take is probably professional.

Let Instagram showcase your creative side, not only in your pictures, but the copy as well.

Use a fun hashtag like #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT and post a picture of your first logo that you created in MS Paint. Or try something quirky like the photo below from a piece written by our senior creative manager. This graphic was used to display the importance of proper attribution when using quotes and has become our top Instagram image to date.


Get creative with your call to action.

One of the biggest challenges for brands on Instagram is the fact that Instagram only offers one clickable link to non-advertisers. What makes this even more difficult is that the embedded link is located in your bio.

You not only must grab your audience’s attention with a great image, you also have to drive them back to your profile.

This is where your creativity really needs to shine. In addition to an intriguing image, the description of your content must be a teaser.

Lead your audience back to the embedded link by making them need to know what happens next, then inform them that the link to more information is in your bio. Some brand pages, like ours, will also use emojis in an effort to direct more eyes.

Using a custom short link that will help you track how many people have clicked it is also important. For PR Newswire, it’s a link back to this blog.

While followers, likes and other vanity metrics are helpful to monitor, it’s the clickthrough to your call to action that will show how effective your strategy is.

When used properly, social media can play a huge role in the promotion of your brand’s content – even press releases. Learn more by downloading our white paper Tips for Creating a Press Release that Maximizes Social Sharing.

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