Instagram Community Guidelines And Your Brand

April 23, 2015

If you’re going to build an Instagram marketing strategy then you should be familiar with the network’s guidelines for their community

Instagram_rulesInstagram has updated their community guidelines which outline the best practices for engagement on the visual network. These guidelines show how you should be posting and interacting your followers. As the Instagram community continues to grow with over 300 million monthly members, they needed to more clearly define the community’s responsibilities towards one another. Much of the focus of these guidelines has been around how Instagram is getting more specific with their definitions pornography and appropriate photography but there are some updates that impact how brands should participate on Instagram. Some of the policies go without saying such as “follow the law” and “…not glorifying self-injury” but we’ll outline the others in more detail to help guide your Instagram marketing strategy with your community.

Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share.

You need to be sure that you have the appropriate rights to share the content you’re posting from your Instagram account. There are no concerns if you’re sharing your own original photos and videos, but tapping other content creators can also be effective if you’re handling ownership of the content appropriately. Reposting visual content from your community is great on Instagram but only when you have their permission to do so. It may seem easier to just use a repost app but engaging your community to ask them to use a post is a safer approach and builds stronger engagement with those people. Scaling this user generated content creation and permission to reshare is made much simpler when you use the Engagement Workflows in the SEEN Campaign Manager. We encourage you to manage Instagram campaigns to encourage your community to share content about your brand to their followers. This gives you the opportunity to engage your fans and build your UGC sharing. Another source of visual content creators are Instagram influencers like those found in the Snapfluence network. They can be tapped to create posts for your use on your social media accounts with full content rights permission.

Post photos and videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience.

The content that you share on Instagram should always appeal to your audience as a whole while being engaging enough to drive interactions from each individual member of that audience. Instagram of course doesn’t want you sharing anything offensive or rude but as a brand growing your Instagram following you need to know what you should be posting in order to captivate your audience. Understand who your audience is and what content they’re engaging with to guide your Instagram content strategy and share great content for those individuals. You want to share the content that you know works and that your audience expects to see from you.

Foster meaningful and genuine interactions.

Instagram drives the highest engagement rates of any social network and this is in part because of the guidelines like these which they put in place. Instagram is very aggressive about stopping spam on their network so brands should work to avoid spammy practices at all costs. You’ll benefit from acting human and building real relationships with your community. Never buy likes or followers, always build them authentically. Engage your community and create content for them to engage with. Instagram isn’t a one-way channel for promoting your brand. If your goal is for your community to engage and interact with you then you need to be doing the same with them. Interacting with the posts your fans are sharing helps strengthening your relationship with them and also increases your visibility to their network. Reciprocate your fans’ passion for your brand by engaging their posts and the results will pay dividends.

Respect other members of the Instagram community.

The respect you build as a brand on Instagram can be measured by the engagement and content you drive from your community. Brands should always act respectful to their community but to earn the respect of your followers and build real relationships with them, there are some tips you should follow. Interact with the people who are most active in sharing content with your brand. You want to mirror their enthusiasm and encourage this behavior with the rest of your community. Instagram is a great avenue to connect with your customers’ lives, this is how you do it. Showcase members of your community and highlight the content they’re sharing with dynamic visual displays. Instagram even provides guidelines on how to display these photos and videos properly. When you’re running Instagram campaigns with influencers you can also build respect with those content creators by interacting with them and the engaging the content they’re sharing.

Be thoughtful when posting newsworthy events.

Posting about newsworthy events or ‘newsjacking’ has always been a high risk high reward game for brands on social media. There are plenty of examples of this working well for brands and also examples where the brand may have benefited more if they stayed away from the topic. Whatever the event is, always be mindful that you’re posting about topics which are relevant to your audience and you’re doing so in a respectful way that they will want to see from you. Newsjacking isn’t necessarily something you need to stay away from, it’s just something you should do appropriately. Make these posts support your overall marketing goals.

Instagram has built their network to be highly engaging because of policies like this so follow them to build a successful Instagram marketing strategy. These actions will help you grow your audience and engage those individuals in a thoughtful way. Revisit your Instagram marketing strategy to ensure that you’re following Instagram community guidelines.

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