Getting to the Heart of the Matter on Instagram

Matt Rozen

PR pros now spend a growing amount of their time trying to figure out how to align their brand’s social channels with the sales and marketing funnel. What’s the most effective way to craft a message on Twitter that will put your company’s products and services front and center? How will content that’s posted on your company’s Facebook page get people to consider your brand versus competitors? But PR execs have to look at Instagram in a different light, according to Matt Rozen, group manager of corporate social media at Adobe.

The photo-sharing site, which Facebook acquired last year for $1 billion, isn’t necessarily designed to draw people to a different Web destination, but play directly to their emotional center.

“I don't think people click on links in Instagram comments, nor do I think people will take action” if there is a call to action embedded in the picture, said Rozen. “People look at Instagram for a quick fix, a laugh, to be inspired or even to be surprised.”

The challenge for PR pros is how to convert words that take up a good part of the daily PR traffic into images that will enhance their messages.

Rozen will offer real-world examples of how a high tech brand like Adobe can use Instagram to inspire and surprise audiences at PR News' Next Practices PR Conference, which takes place Aug. 6 in San Francisco. Here's a snapshot of his presentation.

PR News: What are some of the most effective strategies for telling brand stories via Instagram?

Matt Rozen: Be authentic. Be your brand voice. Your brand voice goes beyond blog posts and Web copy and even press releases. It's also the images and other creative content that you use to connect with customers, press, analysts, prospects and everyone else.

So with Instagram specifically, but also Vine and even your company's Facebook albums, consider closely what the content you are sharing portrays.

PR News: From a brand perspective, what is the unique appeal of telling stories via Instagram, compared to other social channels?

Rozen: People can scroll through images so quickly, and with just a touch they can "heart" it. When you put up the right photo, you get loads of hearts, and it makes everyone feel good.

The almost instant feedback will tell you whether you are onto something, and whether you connect with people or not. It's [also] humanizing. Show parts of the brand that people don't normally see—but be sure it's part of your brand, brand voice and brand, strategy.

PR News: How can PR pros leverage the visual elements that are built into Instagram? 

Rozen: Get creative with it. What's the gist of your last press release, and can it be Instagrammed? I don't think people click on links in Instagram comments, nor do I think people will take action if the photo or 15-second video has a call-to-action taking the viewer away from the app or site.

People look at Instagram for a quick fix, a laugh, to be inspired or even to be surprised. So, as a PR pro, can you produce something like that that augments your news or story?

Know the in and outs of the hashtags on Instagram—how they work, the most popular. Using something like #NoFilter (a picture without any augmentation) can open you up to a wider audience. Hashtags let you be a part of ongoing conversations. 

Learn more about how to tell visual brand stories at PR News' Next Practices PR Conference on August 6 in San Francisco. Register today!

Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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  • Warren Whitlock

    Looking at Instagram as a place to push a message is silly. If your audience is there, give them what they want. If you can tie in they taking photos and posting, great.. but no reason to make every game on the internet your media.