Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Instagram: Friend or Foe?

As PR professionals we love to “gram” our personal photos, showing the picturesque lives that we all apparently lead. Instagram is a platform where the average user can employ powerful editing tools to manipulate characteristics, such as thehue of a photo, to reflect the things that we’re feeling at any given moment. I’ve used this app in many PR situations, as I’m sure many of you reading this have. 
Seeing how many likes you can accumulate over the course of an hour may be fun, but is this really good practice when youthink about it? There are always two sides to a story. 
Why Instagram is your friend:
Instagram is a great platform for posting selfies, images of places you’ve been and things that make you happy where your friends and other followers can see and interact with them. It can be an awesome confidence booster for those reasons.
Something I’ve also experienced while working social media positions is that hashtags can be an effective tool for connecting with your targeted audience and gaining followers. The visual nature of Instagram makes it a great way to get the word out about promotions and giveaways, in a way that’s accessible for your brand’s audience. Let’s face it, Instagram is a “cool” app!
Why Instagram is your foe:
One issue with Instagram is that it’s not always an accurate reflection of reality. Users have the ability to pick and choose the best of their photos, manipulating their feed in a way that implies that they are living amazing lives filled with fun and interesting activities. It can almost become a competition. However, most of the time you’re only seeing the cream of the crop, and a photographically manipulated version of it at that.
Some advice if you aren’t sure whether Instagram is your real friend: 
Follow accounts that you genuinely want to see! Whether it’s a friend or fashion blogger, follow accounts that generate content you’ll be happy to see, and maybe consider unfollowing some of the accounts that you frequently swipe by. It’s just social media, if they even notice, someone you don’t even know won’t be offended if you unfollow them (and if they are, it will only be for a second, I promise). 
If you decide it’s your foe, I’d say it’s time to switch off and delete the app. You’ve got nothing to lose (other than the illusion of “coolness.”) 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Marisa Blackwell. 

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