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Instagram: Open for Advertising

Instagram: Open for Advertising

On Tuesday, Instagram announced that it opened the gates of advertising to all businesses on their platform.

Though ads have been tested by a few large companies and organizations over the last several months, it's now possible for businesses of any size to hop on board and advertise to the platform's 300M+ users (which is roughly the same audience size as Twitter.)

So how does one go about advertising on this platform? The site offers a few tips for those considering taking the leap:

1. Start with Clear Goals

Think about how Instagram fits into your overall marketing strategy. Is your objective to increase awareness, shift perception, or reach a new audience? Pick an objective that can be reached by connecting with Instagram's highly visual and creative community.

2. Tell a cohesive story

Choose images that tell a story about your brand and are include captivating imagery. Create posts that follow these themes for a diversity of content that also remains consistent over time.

3. Take the time to create high-quality content

Work with your brand or creative team to produce images and videos that are well-crafted and feel at home on the platform. Or, if you're a smaller team, study your competitors and favorite brands to study their strategy for images that catch your eye.

They also recommend utilizing features such as hashtags and filters to enhance photos even more.

Instagrammers Who Understand Curation

Advertising is only one facet of a larger Instagram story, which is to communicate a visual representation of what your brand stands for.

Think of it like this: Instagram is a place where you create a general story, look, and feel behind your brand. Image what your ideal customer's life looks like when complimented by your product or service, and then emulate it visually through your business account.

A few of our personal favorites who do this well are:


Their focus is always around the product--but not the hard sell. Instead, they curate a series of lookbook and lifestyle images that have a uniform appearance.

The Peach Truck

The Peach Truck knows how to make its product (peaches) look mouth wateringly good on Instagram. Bonus: They make great use of the 16 second video clip there, too.

Enjoy Illinois

This tourism organization leverages fantastic photographs to inspire the wanderlust in all of their followers. They focus on color, crisp images, and locations that have a story to tell.

Instagram Advertising: The Next Social Media Advertising Frontier

Will ads on this platform be successful? It's too soon to tell. But being under Facebook's wing sure helps (as their advertising numbers are up year over year.)

We'll be testing ads to see how users respond to different types of ads on this platform. Stay tuned for results.



Advertising on Instagram

Advertising on Instagram

While Instagram is still in the early stages of rolling out advertising options, it’s still important to be in the know on what features early adopters are seeing. The platform has been running experimental campaigns with companies like General Electric and Levis, but has not yet opened this feature to all users.

They recently gave an inside look at what real-time tools advertisers on the platform can expect to find.

·      Account insights

These insights offer information on impressions, reach, and engagement, which give a big picture of overall brand awareness.

·      Ad insights

Here you’ll find detailed statistics on how your advertising campaigns are working in regard to impressions, reach, and frequency.

·      Ad staging

In this area, you can create and collaborate on an advertising campaign to make sure everything is just right before it’s launched.

With this information, you can get a better grasp on the ROI of your Instagram ad campaigns and find out what works (and what doesn’t) for your audience.

But until Instagram ads are fully open to businesses, there are a few best practices you can follow to ensure the content you’re sharing on this platform is resonating.

1.  Curate

All of your images should have a unified look and feel. Use a standard filter for all images and be sure the content works with your other images to communicate a brand persona.

2.  Quality over quantity

You may be tempted to post more frequently in hopes of getting more likes and followers, but try to focus on crafting a gallery of selective images rather than posting around the clock.

3.  Lifestyle, not product placement

It’s tempting to showcase your products in a typical product shot way—but use this platform to express your inner photographer. Show products in use (think lookbook or editorial-type photos) rather than just saying, “Hey, here’s my product.”

4.  It’s not about your logo

You don’t need to showcase your logo in your images. Instead, let your products speak louder than your brand. When your content is strong, looks uniform, and communicates your brand persona—your audience won’t need to see your logo to know it’s you.

What are some of your favorite brand Instagram accounts? Tweet your favorites to @wearelumen.

Diversifying Your Social Media Presence

Diversifying Your Social Media Presence

So you’re on Facebook and Twitter. Think you’ve got it covered? You might want to reconsider.

While it’s true that these two outlets are probably the most widely used forms of social media, there may be other valuable options for you to consider based on your target audience.

Today we’re going to highlight a few other social media outlets, their user bases, and what they can offer that’s different from Facebook and Twitter.

Remember: Consider the audience that you cater to—and keep that in mind as you read.

1.  Pinterest

Remember when you had a cork board in your room that you’d pin magazine clippings and photos to? That’s the idea behind Pinterest. Today, it’s a great place to share recipes, DIY projects, craft and party ideas—you get the idea.                                                                              

Who does it well: Handmade Charlotte, A Beautiful Mess

Target demographic: Women ages 18-40 living in suburban or rural areas with an income >$75,000 annually. (All demographic info via Pew Research)

2.  Instagram

When it comes to Instagram, think curated photos with a short caption. This is the land of food photos, vacation snapshots, lifestyle snippets—and yes, selfies. Instagram isn’t the place for full photo albums or long captions. It’s a place to highlight your best photo and to tie in a few appropriate hashtags—which are to be used for grouping photos by subject matter (not adding afterthoughts.) Don’t forget to take advantage of the short video clip features, too.

Who does it well: Ugmonk, Nars

Target demographic: Men and women ages 18-30 living in urban and suburban areas with a variety of ethnic backgrounds and income levels.

3.  Tumblr

Don’t have a blog built into your website? Link out to a Tumblr for a place to share longer form content that’s more like a journal. Tumblr offers customizable or pre-made templates to make your blog blend seamlessly with your branding, and offers a reblog feature (like a retweet) that offers an opportunity for good content to be easily shared.

Who does it well: The White House, Sara Zucker

Target demographic: Men and women ages 18-30 living in cities, suburbs, and rural areas with varied income levels.

Still need more diversity?

Look into outlets like Vine, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google +, Flickr (just to name a few.) There are so many options. Just keep in mind: Each outlet needs to offer something unique and special. Find the outlets that are a wise time investment based on your target audience, and create quality content that makes the reader or viewer pause.