Instagram Marketing 101: Messaging
Do you remember the last time you saw a small airplane pull a banner across the sky? You were at the beach enjoying the sun, on an afternoon date or simply pulling some weeds in your garden. Suddenly you heard a loud airplane engine or an indistinct image pulled up in the corner of one your eyes. Then, by reflex, you looked up. There it was, streaming across the broad, expansive sky, slowly, fluttering, prominent: the message. You can see it now. It’s branded on the flesh of your imagination.
In my case, the image I remember belongs to an automobile insurance company. I may never buy their service, because my home and auto insurance package is simply too good. However, I know who they are and, were I to lose the aforementioned discount that company would be on my reference list of organizations to contact immediately.
Any company that announces their name on a banner across the sky is also announcing that they are powerful and larger-than-life because they are showcasing themselves on one of the largest stages of the human imagination: the sky. Those are powerful and effective ideas to associate to your brand.
This example is highly relevant to the Instagram platform because it’s based on the image, not on language. While Facebook and Twitter can display images as well, text is their dominant language. Image differs from words as a carrier of message because it’s immediate. You don’t need to know how to read to be affected by an image. This makes Instagram a very powerful marketing tool. As a corollary, it can super magnify your brand if you nail your message.
1. You must have a strategy to message effectively on Instagram
This goes for all marketing on any platform. By “strategy,” I mean a long-term plan and a vision for your brand. Without a strategy, your Instagram marketing campaign will immediately express that your brand is amateurish and irrelevant because your images will lack cohesion. In other words, an Instagram marketing strategy is not just taking and posting pictures. It’s doing that with the purpose of telling your customers something specific about your brand: your message.
2. Your viewers must look at any photo on your Instagram feed and be able to articulate a positive message about your brand as close as possible to your intended one.
Go look at a few Instagram galleries. Often you will find galleries that will tell you nothing about the person or the brand. Who are they? What do they do? What do they stand for? What are they all about? In a serious, or thoughtful, Instagram feed these types of questions are answered at least generally. These kinds of feeds drive traffic because since they are meaningful, the viewer bonds to them.
3. Do your homework
Here are 4 questions, in no particular order of importance—start with your favorite one—to get you started on articulating your message or to revise your current one.
What’s your brand voice?
What’s your brand’s story?
What’s your brand’s culture?
What’s your product or service?
4. Post around your message
Quick, what’s your brand, or company, centered around? What causes you to gloat with pride when you think about your business? Is it the way you treat your workers? Then your posts should show them. Does your business contribute in a big way to its community through volunteering efforts, community outreach or charity? Then your posts need to reflect this. Post photos or your products or of your services in action.
5. Don’t be overwhelmed
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve suddenly realized that your Instagram marketing campaign is diffuse and inarticulate. Messaging evolves, just as businesses do. Mature Instagram marketing campaigns, if analyzed over time, will show an evolution from disparity to cohesiveness or from message A to message B. Likewise, don’t be frustrated if you’ve suddenly realized that your message is outdated. Just go to work.
6. Parts to a whole
As you begin to post photos with a newly crafted, or revised, message in mind, don’t lose the forest for the trees. Stay consistent. In the world of Instagram marketing, the single photograph must tell the same story as the whole gallery.
Related Story: Instagram Marketing 101: The Hashtag
How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”
AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”
Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”
Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”
Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”