Kelly Stone is on a mission to evangelize careers in information technology.
As the senior social media manager for CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association for Information Technology professionals, Stone is tasked with softening the IT industry’s image to a younger demographic. And Instagram has emerged as one of her most effective weapons in fighting negative stereotypes.
“A lot of kids think careers in IT are all about sitting in basements with little light in front of a computer all day,” she says. “We’re focused on breaking down that notion, and one of the biggest benefits that Instagram offers is in illustrating the variety of IT careers.”
Stone also uses Instagram as something of a recruitment tool for CompTIA, battling preconceived notions of what working at a nonprofit IT organization is all about. So, the brand's account will highlight its progressive corporate culture and fun things that happen around the office such as birthday parties and baby showers.
Stone, who will speak about Instagram at the upcoming Big 4 Social Media Conference in San Francisco, Aug. 9-10, provided a few tips about using the platform to make a brand more relatable.
Create Brand Ambassadors From Within
CompTIA started a campaign a couple of years ago called #CompTIAPerks to highlight its corporate culture. The organization asked its employees to post about why they love working there, and gave away prizes and trophies each month for the best posts.
“It’s another way for people here to be active brand ambassadors,” Stone says. “We can say we have great benefits and flexible work schedules, but it’s different when you have an employee that takes a picture of something they bought with their holiday bonus.”
Animate Your Feed
To make an Instagram account more engaging, it’s important to vary the types of content you post. Stone always makes sure that one out of every six Instagram posts has moving images, whether it’s a GIF, video or the platform’s Boomerang feature.
“You can use the same tools you’d use for a personal account,” Stone says. “I use apps like Frame Swagg that can create collages and other aesthetics that add more interest to your account.”
For any video it produces, the organization will also create an Instagram version to fit the platform’s 60-second limit. “But if it’s something complicated or serious, it probably won’t play to the audience,” she says.
Learn more from Kelly Stone at PR News' Big 4 Social Media Conference and Google for Communicators Boot Camp, which will be held August 9-10, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco. Brand communicators from Google, Macy's, IBM, Microsoft, Taco Bell, Princess Cruises and many more will discuss everything from courting influencers to SEO trends.
Customize Posts for Each Platform
While it may be efficient to reuse the same image or post across multiple social media platforms, it’s not an effective tactic, and it can have the effect of making your brand look robotic.
“When you think about Instagram, you have to craft something different and unique,” Stone says. “You need to craft the message to be a little snappier than your standard Facebook message because people may not even read your caption on Instagram.”
Beyond animations, Stone will also use emojis in captions, and filters, to add some levity and make a post stand out.
Put People First
Instagram has become a big part of the organization’s paid campaigns for evangelizing its educational opportunities and the professional certifications it provides. And the posts that perform best for CompTIA—to get people excited about a topic as dry as professional certifications—focus on celebrations.
“We see a lot of resonance on pictures of people, specifically pictures of graduations—it’s an exciting day when they pass,” Stone says. “People who already have the certification can identify with that sense of relief, and for kids considering it, they identify with that sense of community.”
Connect with Kelly Stone: @KellyCulinarian
Connect with Jerry Ascierto: @Jascierto