Can Instagram go internal?

August 9, 2012

My friend Josh is an Instagram aficionado. Instagram is the photo-sharing app (complete with vintage photo filters and hashtag capability) that took the smartphone industry by storm when it launched.

At restaurants, Josh is more preoccupied with taking pictures of food than eating. Our friends joke about his restaurant habits, but there’s no denying that we (and all 155 of his Instagram followers) love his pictures – and salivate every time he posts a new photo.

Companies have embraced Instagram as an external marketing platform (86% of top brands, according to Our Social Times), but it’s time businesses considered Instagram as an internal communications tool.

Why Instagram?

  • Images attract attention. Employees love pictures because they provide instant, effortless communication and fun. An employee who doesn’t want to read about the company picnic will probably still enjoy a picture of the CEO digging in at the pie-eating contest.
  • Images convey intangibles. A picture is worth a thousand words. Are managers and coworkers looking happy? Solemn? Silly? Triumphant? Used well, Instagram can brand companies, promote culture, and foster community.
  • It connects to other social media. Instagram seamlessly ties into Facebook and Twitter – the social media platforms your employees already use. This means that even employees who don’t have smartphones can access the pictures too.
  • It’s easy for employers. No need to hire a photographer. Employees will do a better job of getting candid shots, and anyone can learn to apply Instagram’s filters to photos. And did we mention it’s free?
  • It’s easy for employees. Instagram posts can be configured to instantly repost to Twitter and Facebook. Instead of opening another application or website, Instagram pictures can be viewed on social media applications employees already check daily.
  • It’s the language of Millennials. 200 million people use Instagram. How many do you want to bet belong to Gen-Y? It’s not just about being cool. Connect your younger employees to the culture and vibe of your company using their native tongue.

How to use it well:

  • Be consistent. Fun and spontaneous posts are good, but the key to success in any social media campaign is consistent use. A photo a day seems like a reasonable goal.
  • Post photos worth seeing. It’s a no-brainer. If your pictures are worth looking at, people will look.
  • Write witty descriptions. Take advantage of Instagram’s caption feature and give employees something to talk about. Nothing will get your employees giggling like a hilarious tagline.
  • Set a clear objective. How does Instagram fit into your internal social media campaign? Do you want your executives to seem more personable or do you want employees to see what other departments are up to? How will you measure its effectiveness?

If you’re having trouble using Instagram strategically, let's talk!

Alison Harrison

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