The answer: an emphatic yes. Launched in 2010, Instagram has 200 million users and is growing. An estimated 70 percent check in daily – 35 percent multiple times per day. Those users put up 1.2 billion likes. Per day. And it connects seamlessly to Facebook, Tumblr and other social media, extending its reach even more.
Not everyone is on Instagram, but those who are tend to use it intensely. And that includes many people in aviation. For evidence, check out the number of aviation-tagged accounts. Just click on the compass at the bottom of your Instagram app screen and enter aviation search terms. Here’s a tip: when you find some you like, look at their followers. You’ll probably find more you like there. There are a lot of stunning images.
As with most marketing tactics, you should have a plan and be deliberate about following it. More on that in a bit.
First, let’s address a few misconceptions.
Think beyond products you can photograph.
Yes, if you sell things, it’s fairly easy to take photos and post them. However, most aviation companies sell service – and what’s the most important component of service? You, your people and your service culture. So post photos that capture your true essence. Look for images that show your dedication and competence. But try to keep it light and fun. And real. Also, you can use Instagram captions to pass along your expertise and add value to the image. A fun tidbit that incorporates a bit of knowledge or wisdom is far preferable to a dry brochure bullet. Remember that you’re trying to make it worthwhile to pause a moment on your offering.
Do more than simply post photos.
Remember, a photo can be of something with content. For example, a number of companies have run photo contests, inviting followers to post photos that show how much they enjoy that company’s products or services. They take a picture of their contest rules and post that, then watch as entries roll in. But you don’t have to make it a contest. Throw out a challenge – pick a topic – cockpit or engine details, airport signs, interesting aviation people. People like to see what they can come up with, and compare it with what others do. And be sure to craft a good hashtag (a # followed by key words) that will enable you and your followers to find the participants – for example, #KANclouds for a King Air Nation cloud photo challenge.
Leverage every advantage, especially if you’re small.
It’s true that a large corporation may be able to afford to have someone whose primary duty is to manage an Instagram account, but it’s equally true that a small company has much more to gain. If you can create an Instagram personality that attracts followers and keeps them coming back, you could see a noticeable impact on your bottom line. You don’t have to post five things a day, but you do have to be fairly consistent.
Which gets us back to your plan. You have to have one
. You’ll have a hard time breaking through with a random scattering of posts with no particular theme and nothing that compels people to say, “Hey, check this out.”
Take some time to think about how best to highlight your strengths and then find a way to work Instagram into your schedule. If you do, you’ll find that it can be fun – and a great way to show off your brand.