Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Instagram Is Perfect For Brands . . . Get The Picture?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and as if to prove the point, the Facebook-owned mobile photo sharing app that is Instagram, announced at the end of February (2013) that their active users have topped the 100 million mark.

Now under any circumstances this would be considered something of a major achievement, but the fact is, Instagram only announced in January that users had topped the 90m mark. That’s like – an extra 10m users in one month – wow, that’s not just a big deal, that’s an explosion!

So what does all this mean for you as a business owner?

“Uh-oh, not another blooming social media site I need to keep tabs on . . .”

Hmm. Something like that.

But much, much more than that, Instagram is a tremendous opportunity for savvy brand owners to explode their marketing output to a visually tuned-in audience.

As a platform for businesses, Instagram is a little different from Facebook and Twitter in that it doesn’t currently offer business-specific profiles or paid advertising options. That’s what makes it such a level playing field in terms of business users – it’s an invitation to get creative with your marketing. And this is something your local or online marketing consultants can help with.

While other social media platforms may be scrambling to deliver additional functionality to their users, its inherent simplicity is what’s makes Instagram’s premise ‘social networking genius in action.’

Indeed, Instagram may be first and foremost a social network, but it is also a photo editing tool too. Which means almost anyone can use Instagram’s technology to create stunning images which you can then share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr and in your emails too.

If you don’t consider yourself much of a copywriter, then Instagram is definitely one marketing tool that will demand a closer look. And even if commercial writing is your bag, I’m sure you will still appreciate the impact stunning image effects can give to your branding.

3 Tips for marketing success with Instagram:

  • Make sure the focus of your images is on telling a story, rather than delivering a series of product placement ads. Your story can be emotional, motivational, aspirational, or downright hilarious – but don’t, whatever you do, let it scream: “buy me now!”

  • Don’t post at less than three-hourly intervals else you run the risk of clogging up your users’ feed. It’s worth spending time getting really creative with your content so that your followers look forward to your next offering, rather than having people tutting: “not them again!”

  • Use a tool such as Statigram to help you use, measure and promote your Instagram activity. You can also use it to create a brilliant collage-type cover for your Facebook page.

So if you are in business – and particularly if you sell products or services relating to the design, fashion, or creative industries – then you’ll hardly need any further convincing that Instagram is for you. For assistance with creating some dynamic Instagram marketing, you need look no further than your helpful marketing consultant.

Bet I can guess where you’re headed to next . . .

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Book of Mormon and Social Media

Following on from shows such as ‘Jerry Springer: The Musical’, ‘The Book of Mormon’ is one of the more recent controversial musicals to get the critics talking.  Developed over a period of seven years by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, with music from composer Robert Lopez, it is a religious satire which lampoons the ideas of organised religion as well as the conventions of traditional musical theatre. Originally released on Broadway in 2011, the show has now opened at London’s West End and has already broken box office records. It is also, as we shall see, a shining example of how Facebook and Twitter can contribute to the success of a modern-day musical.

In a nutshell, ‘The Book of Mormon’ tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to a small village in a remote part of Uganda where a local warlord is threatening the population.  The two missionaries attempt to share the teachings of their religion with the locals but find it an uphill struggle. The musical officially opened in the West End on Thursday 21 March and took more than £2.1 million at the box office the following day. It seems that a controversial theme that gets people talking can often spell box office gold.

But what has also been at work here is the clever use of social media marketing.  Since the show’s opening, alongside the traditional reviews for the show have been a barrage of tweets appearing in press ads to accompany the release of fresh batches of tickets. Some of these were celebrity endorsements, some not, but they had the effect of turning the show into a roaring success by the time the reviews had appeared in the papers.

After all, sometimes all it takes is a well-publicised tweet from a well-known celebrity such as Stephen Fry to shoot a show into the stratosphere. In the case of Mormon, this strategy has worked to great effect. In this case, even drawing attention to negative reviews such as the rather one-star drubbing handed out by Quentin Lett can simply act as a bigger draw.

The great thing about drawing attention to tweets and Facebook comments in order to publicise a show is that, being totally free, it is something even the smaller fringe theatre companies can utilise. Those who may not be able to afford expensive national advertising campaigns to promote their shows may still be able to create a hit if their marketing teams are savvy about the ways in which social media can work for them.