A friend of my has recently launched a nifty Instagram printing service. This got me mulling some ideas about how such an app should be seeded; how should such a service be unleashed to a busy world where attention is gold? What are the dos and don’ts?
Note: this post was not written in light of anything the above company has/has not done; it’s just general thoughts and not a comment on them.
If this were my app, I’d be mindful of the fact that this is a crowded marketplace; there are plenty of opportunities to print your IG snaps out. Why choose this app? How do you position yourselves in such a busy marketplace?
Well, one angle is that a huge swathe of people on IG are passionate about images (duh!); so you need to appeal to them; you need to engage with them in ways that are meaningful to them. And engage in a manner which demonstrates your authenticity; in this case, demonstrates your passion for photographer, people and images.
What not to do
I’ve seen this loads of times: simply asking your audience to RT or share something promoting your app is a big ask; what is in it for the audience? Apart from demonstrating that their feed is apparently up for rent? No, we have to be smarter than this.
I’m pretty anal when it comes to my IG feed; I like my rusty doors, textures and letter boxes and I respect the attention of the lovely people who follow me and comment on my stuff. I don’t post too many photos per day; as that can swamp their feed. I don’t post many photos of my family or anything else off topic as, again, I need to respect why my audience chose to follow me in the first place. So, with that in mind, there’s pretty much zero chance that I’m simply going to share something promoting an app/service.
Oh, and bear in mind that there is no native concept of retweet on Instagram (for those of you not familiar with the platform). You can like, comment and post photos.
So, if there is a hard core stalwart of the audience who won’t simply share the idea of your app (even if they like it); what are you to do? Well, for one thing you need to be subtler; you need to back off a little and to take it easy. Don’t be too pushy.
Putting this into the concept of IG, this could mean an approach where you get involved with the community; prove your passion, allow people to believe in you & your product.
Oh, you don’t know what I mean when I say tags? Well, hashtags rule on Instagram:
- Like Green doors? #AttackOfTheGreenDoors
- Like door locks? #LoveOfLocks
- Like labels from old products? #BygoneLabels
…and so on
You need to get into those communities; form bonds; prove passion; forward their cause. Pound the pavements of the grass roots IG community.
And when you have established that base camp; perhaps step it up a gear…
Maybe reach out to some of the curators of popular tags and offer to create a annual book of the best of #WallFilth? Why not go a step further and engage with the community and get them to vote which photos go in? This way you can piggy back on top of the passion which is already there; you don’t have to create all that noise yourself.
Reach out to people who are organising instameets; where people band together and take photos for the day. Why not also offer albums of those prints?
The art is getting your product/service into the hearts and minds; it’s not just about getting eye balls on your homepage.
It’s funny how much on social media comes down to personality. People don’t want to embrace brands and products; they want people. Perhaps that’s a function of how our brains are wired up. When we try to form feelings about something, that’s easier to do if we have someone to look at; rather than a box of Persil.
So I would bring your personality out; don’t just post as your brand; highlight your team or founder; perhaps have a ‘community manager’ – Jessica Zollman did an awesome job in her role as community manager for Instagram itself (and was very helpful in sorting out an issue with a friend of mine).
People are more likely to engage with a person; play to that strength.
I’m not pretending I have all the answer’s to marketing my friends app; I don’t. And that is not what this post is about. My point is more that we have to think smarter to penetrate the hearts and minds of people. Traditional marketing has blotted it’s copy book; we are now all equipped with “weapons grade bullshit detectors” ™; so you’d best ante up on the authentic helpfulness and get down and dirty with your community; because that is where the battle is at.