Believe The Hype: Why Instagram Is Relevant To SEO And Branding – Part 1

Believe the Hype Why Instagram Is Relevant To SEO and Branding  Part 1

Humans Are Visual creatures. The More You Give Us To Look At The More We’re Going To Pay Attention.

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Instagram after Facebook’s acquisition and now it’s the largest mobile social network, growing on average 2 million users every month. Marketers need to pay attention to Instagram for the same reason they need to pay attention to Pintrest. I know what you’re thinking, OMG yet another #socialmedia platform to keep up on. It’s true, but believe the hype because Instagram is a simple and easy marketing tool that can help your branding efforts and SEO. In part 1 of this series you will gain an understand about how Instagram can help your company and learn from some companies who are doing it right.

So What Is Instagram?

In case you haven’t heard, Instagram is a SmartPhone application that allows users to snap photos, edit them using various artistic filters and upload them to Instagram’s mobile platform. Users can then share photos on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous and Foursquare. When a photo is posted, Facebook users can share and comment on the photo and Twitter users can re-tweet the photo/ link.

Why Should I Care?

Through content, social media and SEO work together to build brand awareness, encourage loyalty and help you reach new customers. Social media’s effect on SEO is not always easy to quantify, but what we do know is that search engines are starting to weigh social signals into their rankings and will do so even more in the future. Although it’s a whole other topic, Facebook likes do help SEO and after Instagram photos are on Flickr, photos can show up on search engines for certain keywords.

Mobile web is also growing to the point where more searches will be done on mobile devices than on laptops and desktops, so mobile applications like Instagram will only become more relevant in the future.

Although Instagram will never be the shining star of your SEO campaign, there are a few ways you can leverage your brand through the fun photo application and help your image rankings.

Companies That Get It

Free People, Redbull and General Electric are all companies that are using Instagram as a powerful marketing tool by creating unique photos while gaining a large brand following. The great side benefits that these companies reap are having a likeable brand. Google has placed more emphasis on ranking brands, not websites, so by creating a well rounded internet marketing strategy you’ll see positive cross-overs in all areas for your efforts. Let’s take a deeper look at these powerful brands and how they use Instagram:

Free People

Free People, a vintage clothing brand is doing a good job of leveraging their brand on Instagram by not simply taking photos of their clothes, but by showing their clothes on people and creating a lifestyle and brand image. For example when the Coachella music festival was happening, Free People was front and center, snapping photos of the entertainment and some of the festie-goers that were spotted sporting the free-spirited brand. How fitting.


It’s no surprise that marketing giant Redbull has also figured out how to use Instagram to brand their lifestyle image. Like with most of Redbull’s marketing material, their Instagram photos are rarely about their energy drink and more about the lifestyle they promote. Sky diving in Istanbul? Yes, I’d like to see a photo of that. You can also tell that Redbull has multiple users taking photos from across the world. The variety in their posted photos makes them an interesting brand to follow.

General Electric

For companies who can’t quite imagine how their product will work with a platform like Instagram, General Electric is a good example to learn from. GE’s digital marketing manager, Brandon Gutman was recently interviewed in Forbes, about how their team has been able to take a 132-year old brand that sells light bulbs and appliances and make their content interesting. GE has tackled the Instagram platform by posting intriguing behind the scene photos that should inspire brands that you can’t wear, eat, listen to, read or drink.

This is the GE90 – the largest engine in the history of aviation.

The first thing you can do to get started with Instagram is to claim your name. Use the same exact name as you do for your twitter account so people can use the @mention tool without any confusion. Here is an example of what could happen if you don’t claim your name. My friend Alice’s Instagram name is @Fenway (the name of the Red Sox) stadium. Here is a look at her feed:

In part two of this series, I’ll talk about tips to get you started with how to build your Instagram platform and bring your strategy full circle by building a user base, using keywords and crowd sourcing content.

What companies do you look up to for their ability to brand their image through unique content? Would love to hear you comments below.

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  1. Cosimo says

    Good article. I have been teetering on whether or not to setup an instagra land pinterest account for our biz. I think you showed me the way. 
    Yet another account to manage but may be worth it. 

  2. Kent says

    I disagree with this post. We shouldn’t focus on instagram because they maybe more instagram coming . And, we need to analyze first before we jump to another social media platform again, again and again.

    Not all products/services need instagram (or similar to it). We need to focus on quality and quantity of relationship.

    • Rebecca Babicz says

      Hi Kent,
      I am sorry you didn’t find my post valuable however I feel as though you completely missed the point. Sure there might be another social platform after Instagram and another one after that, but Instagram is still a way for companies to build quality relationships right now. Not all companies will benefit from or need Instagram. My post is merely a way to get companies to think about (or “analyze”) how the platform might work for them. And if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. There is more than one way to create good, relevant content but you still can’t run a successful marketing campaign without it.

  3. Ferris Stith says

    Love this! I created an Instagram account for our direct mail marketing company, PostcardMania a while back and have been posting pics similar to the examples shown above. Since direct mail and marketing in general aren’t the most exciting topics to talk about, let alone take pics of. I definitely had my work cut out for me, to find creative ways to tell our company story through pics. I started off with a whole series of how postcards are made, from start to finish, which had great feedback. Next I plan on doing a series of all the fabulous artwork throughout our building (our CEO is sort of an art connoisseur). I also feature funny moments of staff, birthdays, office pranks, etc. I’ve found it’s become much easier to think of things to post.

    A couple of my favorite companies to follow are Tiffany’s and Urban Outfitters. They’re Instagram pics are awesome! I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from them.

    • Rebecca Babicz says

      Glad you enjoyed the post and I love your examples of using photos as part of your content strategy. Way to get creative. I also checked out Tiffany’s and UO and now I’m following them! Best, Rebecca

  4. Krish India Design says

    A good starter for interested and referral source for online marketers. Thank you very much for taking such a big effort. Instagram offers a high functional platforms for branding and to reinvent new branding techniques. As utilizing images effectively is a great online strategy, Instagram has a safer place in realm of social media.

  5. Sue B. Zimmerman says

    I teach business owners how to use Instagram to promote and grow their business. I am so glad you focused on the SEO in this article. So many people are frustrated with the lack of time they have to do social media. Instagram is my favorite tool because in under a minute you can share visual content that represents your brand and share it to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. The likes, comments and retweets all help w SEO as you mentioned. I have experience success using Instagram for both my seasonal store SueB.Do on Cape Cod and my Online Business Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise because of the relationships and connections I have made engaging on Instagram.
    Come follow me at @SueBZimmerman aka The InstagramGal

  6. Mary@ Hi-Strung Designs Jewelry says

    Thanks for this post Rebecca! I’ve been considering whether or not to start on Instagram, and your article reinforced that I should. I really look forward to part 2 of your series in terms of “how” to find your target market on Instagram and what type of posts to reach out to them with, besides pics of your product ( in my case, I make handcrafted luxury artisan jewelry) and posts showing “behind the scenes” of my studio. Look forward to reading your advice and recommendations! ~Mary

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