With its recent billion dollar acquisition by Facebook, Instagram is proving its value not only as a fun way to share photos with friends but as a marketing and branding tool for businesses. In this series, we’ll look at how expert marketers are using Instagram to engage fans and recreate live experiences.
Today, we have Casey Holdahl, Digital Reporter for the Portland Trail Blazers. Casey shared details on how Instagram is helping the Trail Blazers connect with and entertain fans.
1. What kinds of images do fans react to best on Instagram?
The two “categories” of photos fans seem to like the best are those taken behind the scenes, specifically when there’s an important corresponding event. An example of this would be the Instagram photos we posted after LaMarcus Aldridge was named to the Western Conference All-Star team.
The second category would be vintage photos. For whatever reason, photos of former players such as Bill Walton and Terry Porter do very well.
But honestly, it seems to me that when you post the photo is as important as the photo itself. For example, we posted two Instagrams of LaMarcus Aldridge’s game-winning shot in Dallas, which are our two most liked photos. Photos of Aldridge with Peter Cech and Didier Drogba might not typically do all that well, but those same photos posted right after Chelsea wins the Champions League final and you’ve got a photo with a lot of likes.
2. How do you judge whether your efforts are effective?
[We judge] typically by the number of followers and likes. That’s not to say that adding followers or getting likes is always dictating what we’re posting, but it’s the most obvious way to gauge effectiveness.
3. How do you decide what content goes on Facebook versus what lives solely on Instagram? Do you see a different reaction depending on which network you use?
Typically, if I’m posting a photo that I know will have broad appeal, I’ll cross post on Instagram and Facebook. If it’s something a bit more niche, or kind of silly, I’ll leave it solely on Instagram. People tend to be a bit more vitriolic on Facebook, so I try to post photos on Facebook that are a bit more milquetoast.
4. Is there such thing as too much visual content?
Inasmuch as there’s such a thing as too much content in general. The threat of over-saturating isn’t specific to visual or written content. At some point, even if you feel everything you’re posting is quality, you have to be somewhat discerning. You don’t want to post so much that people ignore or, even worse, unsubscribe but that threshold is different for every user.
For the Portland Trail Blazers, Instagram provides a more casual and fun environment for brand-building visual content. Cross-posting broader images onto Facebook helps expand content reach. The positive fan response to both behind-the-scenes content and vintage photos shows that regardless of the channel, fans want exclusive content available on their social network of choice.