By: Megan Adobe and others are getting branding right on Instagram In honor of the release of Instagram 4.0, we've put together four tips to guide your business through effective photo sharing. Use hashtags and geotags (effectively) First made popular by Twitter, the hashtag is now a staple across Instagram, Vine, Tumblr and (most recently) Facebook as a way to label groups and topics. Establish a hashtag that your brand can use to label pictures, and encourage your co-workers, customers and followers to use the hashtag, as well. In November 2011, General Electric used hashtagging to start a photo contest. Followers could tag their GE-inspired photos with #GEinspiredME for a chance to attend a GE photoshoot. The contest not only allowed for interaction with GE's followers, but also introduced others to the brand's Instagram channel. The same lesson can be applied to geotagging. For example, inbound marketing company HubSpot often geotags its photos from conferences. If your company has a physical location or is attending a conference or event, geotag and encouraging customers to do the same. Crowdsource photos Keep your clients and customers involved and interested in your brand. How? By reposting their photos and sharing the experiences they have had with you. CNN has done just this through its crowdsourcing Instagram account. The 24-hour news station created @CNNiReport to collect and publish pictures from Instagrammers around the world. By using the hashtag #cnnireport, amateur reporters have the opportunity to share their photographs with CNNiReport's 224,000 followers. The news source has shared everything from Midwestern tornadoes to the lockdown in Bostonto the Occupy Wall Street movement, giving followers real-time, eyewitness shots. Stray from the ordinary Instagram is a great place to share your goods and services, but your page shouldn't come off as a grid of advertisements. Bring your customers behind the scenes and help them learn your brand's personality. For example, VMware has a series of Instagram channels, including VMware Careers, where the brand shares photos portraying company culture, job postings and office antics to attract new hires. Adobe uses Instagram to show off its office spaces and passion for creativity. Motion pictures Video is now on Instagram and is a huge tool for brands – especially for those that offer services. Businesses can not only introduce what they do, but also how they do it. Cisco Systems uses video to redirect to people to their website. The company recently published a quick video to tease a blog post. You don't need to make a Spielberg worthy video – it just needs to interest and educate your followers. Want to see what we're up to on Instagram? Follow Metis Communications here.
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