If a photo is worth 1,000 words and PR professionals constantly strive to be concise, why not give visual communication a shot? Instagram flashed onto the scene in October 2010 as a canvas for the public’s creativity. Now, in its fourth year, professionals in multiple fields are starting to use it as a promotional collage for their business. Instagram, available on both Apple and Android devices, attempts to create a powerful camera system in the palm of your hand – and it does. After easily capturing photos on your smartphone, it allows simple editing through presets and convenient and immediate mass sharing. Instagram allows you the ability to show your style and build a brand.

While everyday people use Instagram as an archive for photos of their life’s experiences and some photographers use it as a digital portfolio, PR professionals can maximize the social media platform’s features for strategic marketing, interacting and promoting. Here are a few reasons to activate an Instagram account for your PR purposes:

  • Visually communicate your brand’s story – Instagram is the perfect way to build brand personality and showcase your outreach. It can be a living portfolio with photos of successful projects, events or conferences. It is especially useful for non-profit or cause-related PR companies to show off your pathos.
  • Reach a whole new realm of potential clients and influencers – Using social media in general opens doors for businesses to appeal to younger audiences who may be future clients or influencers who can help promote your brand and spread positive feedback. When posting to Instagram, it’s important to consider what photos or videos might appeal to them.
  • Keep reporters in the loop – These days, journalists scope out news from many different sources, and social media plays a huge role. Connecting with reporters will pay off when they casually scroll their Instagram homepage and come across your photos or videos that might interest them. Cultivating reporter relationships through Instagram is trailblazing. Additionally, since many news outlets share information via Instagram, just like Twitter or Facebook, it offers you an alternative source for news.
  • Show a blend of business and casual – Don’t be too stuffy! Humanize your image and have a little fun with what you post. People like to see businesses crack jokes and be witty. However, be careful not to compromise your credibility.
  • Mind your Twitter manners – Like with Twitter, using #hashtags, @tagging and location settings increases interactivity and visibility. You can even add links for your followers who may want more information.
  • Put your company contact information on your profile – Instagram provides a small description box for users to jot down a bit about them. This is the place to put your company’s contact info for potential clients and reporters to easily reach out to you. (And don’t forget to make your Instagram name something professional!)

Though some PR industries may benefit from a visual platform more than others, creating a company Instagram is worth a shot! Remember to keep your photos consistent to make your Instagram esthetically pleasing and representative of your brand, but most of all – have fun with it!

Next week we’ll look at the blog platform and social media tool, Storify. As public relations and digital communications continue to merge, integrated media is becoming more valuable. Storify helps you combine your original content with others’ from across many social media platforms, keeping all content important to you in one place. What PR professional isn’t striving to be more organized?

Stay tuned…