Instagram: A Must Have for any Brand
How the popular app has contributed to the world of PR
By: Megan Ogembo
Instagram as we know it has changed the way we communicate as a society. It grants us access to connect with others with ease, and it allows individuals to post content, connect through direct message, share stories and or display a portfolio for themselves or their brand. Believe it or not Instagram even has higher daily engagement than Facebook. Ever since Instagram dropped over a decade ago in 2010, it has changed the online world drastically. The app went from a small platform to post simple photos to one with over a billion people using it worldwide in many different ways. In PR, Instagram allows us to:
Update clients and donors about upcoming events regarding a company
Promote a brand positively and in its entirety
Grow a following and essentially grow a business or a personal brand
I would say that since 2016, Instagram has been the main platform when it comes to promotion. The platform has made it easy to get noticed without tons of effort. Yes, traditional PR is still being used today with the use of press releases and news articles, but Instagram has changed the game completely.
Using Social Media for Promotion
To me, PR can involve several different things, but the main focus of PR is on how a brand is represented and how it can continue to grow. Instagram is the perfect platform for anybody looking to grow a following or grow engagement. With the use of hashtags and location services, it's easy for people to look for exactly what they need. For an example, if I was a local hairstylist in the DFW area, I would simply post content involving my brand and hashtag #DFWHairstylists or #FortWorthhair, etc. It’s that simple. You’d be surprised how many people go through hashtags when looking for a service or a partnership. In fact, a Dallas based hair boutique, “Dhair-Boutique”, frequently collabs with Instagram influencers such as Angela Simmons to promote their brand. With the help of popular influencers, brands can reach a broader audience with little to no effort. Brands can post daily reminders about upcoming launches through stories and reels as well.
Building Strong Relationships
Because of Instagram's visual concentration, brands have an open door to visually illustrate all that a business brings to the table. Instagram provides a stage where you can showcase what makes your brand worth communicating with.
It is important to build relationships with
people who have invested in your brand or who have shown interest. A brand that does well with building a relationship with its clients and their followers is Nike. Back in 2018, Colin Kaepernick was slandered across the world for taking a knee against injustice. Racial injustice was an issue during that time, as it is today. Kaepernick felt like it was wrong and felt the need to take a knee during the National Anthem. Many did not agree with his decision to take a knee, but Nike remained loyal to him, standing by him and continuing to support his message. The brand also took a stand in the way they responded to critics, siding firmly with Kaepernick. This illustrates that the more straightforward you are in your interaction with individuals through likes and comments the better. This doesn’t take much effort and can result in increased levels of following and engagement. The public appreciates brands that interact with them and take a stand when fighting social injustice.
Since Instagram is such an engaging app, it's essential when it comes to advertising a brand. Before social media, companies and brands could only advertise through ads in print, radio and television. Now a brand can just post directly on their Instagram page what they intend to advertise. Kylie Cosmetics, the official makeup brand of realty TV star Kylie Jenner, does a good job at utilizing low-cost advertisements. Back in 2016, when Kylie Cosmetics official launched, Jenner would use the social media activity with friends like Jordyn Woods and Anastasia Karanikolaou (aka “Stassiebaby”), to promote and launch her cosmetic brand. She mentioned that she didn't use any paid advertising in the promotion of her brand. All she had to do was update her followers on release dates and upcoming launches. It is important to have a following in order to spend less on advertisement. Brands will often times pay influencers a cut of the revenue they receive from their coverage. An influencer making a post or a story about a brand only results in more engagement.
Instagram has contributed to the PR world in the sense that it has been made easy to communicate. Brands don't have to go through lots of different people like they used to, but can now be in control and post directly from their page. I think of Instagram as a mini portfolio which can be crucial when it comes to the representation of any brand. Through the way captions, hashtags and stories are used, a brand can experience great levels of success. As a result, PR specialists should be familiar with the tactics that go into successful Instagram usage.
About the Author
Megan Ogembo attends University of North Texas and will be graduating May of 2022. Ogembo is a Public Relations major with a minor in marketing.