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August 18, 2016 Instagram Explored
Instagram Explored – A mobile app that has captured the imagination

Veni. Vedi. Cepi.

I came. I saw. I captured.

Instagram is a mobile app that has captured the imagination of a wide audience.  It can be used for photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking. Founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010, the app has grown with its following – flattering filters were one of Instagram’s initial draws, helping even the most budding of photographers produce slick looking photos. Over the past number of years however, Instagram has rolled out a number of additional features including video-sharing, ‘stories’ and advertising.

So how does it work?

Instagram is very user-friendly whether you want to share photos in a personal capacity or you’re using the app to represent your business. Once you set up your profile and give Instagram access to your camera, you can either share directly from your gallery or take new photos through the app itself. When you’re happy with the photo you want to share, the next step is choosing a filter. Filters can brighten your photo, intensify colour or give it a vintage tinge. The final step before posting is adding a caption – this will allow you to expand on the photo, give it context and even make your followers laugh (especially if you are proficient in emojis).

The low-down on Instagram ‘Stories’

Instagram stories are one of the app’s latest features and closely resembles Snapchat’s stories feature (check out our blog all about Snapchat here). Photos and videos added to your story have a lifespan of just 24 hours and don’t appear on your profile so there is no need to worry about over-posting. To view someone’s story, just tap on their profile photo across the top of your feed. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments and unlike Snapchat, you can view the stories at your own pace and watch them as many times as you like. Text and drawing tools are also available if you feel like adding messages to your photos.

Is Instagram good for Irish businesses?

With more than 500 million active accounts, it’s easy to see why businesses have been flocking to Instagram in their droves. Latest Ipsos MRBI figures show that over a fifth of Irish people are using the app. Instagram offers businesses the opportunity to create a story around their product or service and to give behind-the-scenes access to customers in order to build trust and happy vibes. Lidl Ireland recently won ‘Best use of Instagram’ at the 2016 Sockies. A quick glance at their profile will show you the varied content they share, from recipes and competitions to product reveals and fitness challenges.

How do you build an audience on Instagram?

Instagram isn’t an exact science but there are lots of ways to help boost your profile and engagement levels.

Here are our top tips:

  • Post regular content. Have a strategy of when to post. It doesn’t need to be too rigid but don’t post ten pics one day and then none for another month. A couple of strong posts per week is ideal for most businesses.
  • Include a call to action e.g. “Visit our website to find out more about…” or “Like this post for a chance to win…”.
  • Engage new followers. Be sure to follow back other businesses and spread the love with comments and likes.
  • Promote your posts. As with any social media advertising, a small budget can go a long way and you can target the audiences you most want to reach.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a hashtag or 10! Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find them. One of the most popular hashtags on Instagram is #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday where you can post old photos or showcase work that your business has done.

Keep in mind that Instagram is just one of the many tools you should have in your social media belt and it’s important to have fun with them all. So, start capturing and sharing now. And don’t forget to follow DHR Communications on Instagram for a glimpse into life at a busy PR agency.

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