The Power of Building your Brand on Instagram

An online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

  • Instagram has over 300 million users.
  • 70 million photos and videos are shared each day.
  • Users tap the like button 2.5 million times daily.

In order for companies to succeed these days, the advertising, marketing, and public relations techniques, as well as integrated marketing, must keep up with the ever-changing world of promotional innovations to sell products and services. There is television brand integration, infomercials, word-of-mouth marketing, product placement, and more. However, the 21st century has brought the fastest growing category of advertising… online/social media marketing.

Now, there are many online and social media platforms that businesses can make use of. Yet, there is one in particular that seems to be underestimated. That is Instagram. Instagram is becoming a global phenomenon where businesses have the ability to advertise and build their brand in a unique way that does not require any money and is very simple to integrate into any social media marketing plan. Instagram is on track to granting select big brands (typically large and well-known companies) the ability to sponsor ads to targeted users. According to Instagram’s blog found on Wordstream

” Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel asinstagram-marketing-sponsored
natural to Instagram as photos and videos many of you
already enjoy from your favorite brands.” As an avid Instagram user, I’d say they’re doing a pretty great job,
and that I’ve actually enjoyed many of the advertisements
I’ve seen thus far, like this Old Navy ad.

Instagram is also a great tool that can be used to boost a business’s brand engagement. Here are a few examples…

 Feature Customers Using your Products

3029395-inline-i-2-3029395-bottom-line-how-the-most-successful-brands-dominate-instagram-and-you-can-tooThe brand benefit used Instagram to find images of real customers using their makeup. The hashtag #realsies was used in order to find images of those that users uploaded. This is fun for the consumer because by participating, they are entering themselves for a chance to win a year supply of makeup. Also, it builds brand recognition for those that have not tried this product but shows real people who love it.

Promote New Products


Ben & Jerry’s was actually one of the first brands to advertise on Instagram. According to an Instagram success story…

“Using Instagram to spread the word about the joy its ice cream inspires, Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million users and saw a 33-point increase in ad recall. Of users who saw the ad for Scotchy Scotch Scotch ice cream, 17% not only became aware of the new flavor, they also associated it with Ben & Jerry’s.”

There are many more ways businesses can build their brand on Instagram. Can you think of a specific brand being promoted on Instagram? You may not have even realized it was advertising. The image may have flowed nicely within your news feed. Yet if a brand does it right, users will remember the post well after they have viewed it.


Are You the Right Match?


Meet Lola DeYoung. She is a sweet 9 year old girl from Grandville, MI.
Lola is going into the fourth grade. She is a friendly, happy, outgoing girl who loves Jesus, her family, and her friends.
However, Lola is looking for one thing, her “unicorn match”.

Lola is a special girl who has captured the hearts of many individuals.

“Lola DeYoung was first diagnosed with leukemia in February 2011. After two years of treatment, she went into remission, but the cancer came back after only a few months. She received a high-risk treatment including spinal taps and brain radiation. Just as the end of the treatment seemed near, she relapsed a second time.”

Article: Wood TV 8

With Lola battling cancer once again, a bone marrow transplant may be the only way to save her life. This has been a difficult process due to the fact that Lola has an unusual genetic marker that makes it difficult to find a donor, so far there has been no matches. Lola refers to this as… “Looking for her unicorn match”.

However, Lola has hope. Thanks to Be The Match foundation, the members of this group have been working together to support fundraising for patients who need a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.

There was a video posted to Facebook advertising a bone marrow registry drive at Harbor Life Church in Grandville.
With the use of social media to raise awareness of Lola’s condition, the community responded with more than 700 people lining up to participate in the bone marrow registry.

lola 1lola 2

It is truly amazing what can happen when an organization raises awareness and brings the community together. Be The Match foundation has provided Lola and her family with hope and support that they will find a match.

How YOU can help – Be The Match foundations states…

“Be The Match relies on our support to collect contributions from community members to further its mission.  Proceeds will help add potential donors to the Be The Match Registry®. I hope you’ll consider making a contribution today.  Together we can help save lives!”

Why You Should Be Using Facebook for Your Business’s PR

Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms today.


 1.23 billion monthly active users
→  945 million mobile users
→  757 million daily users

There are so many benefits for companies who choose to do public relations on Facebook. With such a large user base, it makes it easy to connect with thousands of people who may be interested in your business. It’s a way to create relationships and target specific demographics. It is also a cost efficient way to promote your business because opening an account is free!

Of course there is a downside if Facebook is not used properly. According to an article posted on Chron,

“Facebook can work against you if you do not maintain the page. A Facebook page without frequent updates can destroy your brand value and image. Having a Facebook page that looks abandoned is worse than having no page at all. You might need to hire someone or pay an employee to update your business’s Facebook page.”

It is all up to the business and how they go about getting themselves on Facebook. It can either make or break the company. If your company decides to use this platform for public relations, it is very important to create a strategy that is effective and maintainable. These following tips gathered from The Refinery Source will help to get you started…

✓Get Organized
✓Know Facebook’s Rules
✓Know Your Audience
✓Know Your Goals
✓Engage Your Audience
✓Include a Call to Action
✓Don’t Be Too Promotional

By creating a strategy and following these steps, any business can have their public relations become successful on Facebook. It requires hard work and maintenance but in the end, it will all be well worth it.

What are some companies that have had great success with their PR on Facebook?
What about companies that have failed?

What Does Ethics Have to do With Anything Anyways?

Pub·lic Re·la·tions

The professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.

  • The state of the relationship between the public and a company or other organization or a famous person. “Companies justify the cost in terms of improved public relations”


Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.

  • The branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. “Your so-called newspaper is clearly not burdened by a sense of ethics”

Ethics is all around us and it is surely connected with Public Relations. To break this concept down…

The practice of public relations is about earning credibility ➔ Credibility begins with telling the truth ➔ Public relations, then, must be based on “doing the right thing” ➔ or, in other words, acting ethically.

However, there are some issues that come along when PR professionals put their right to freedom of speech before what is ethically right. What is important for all to consider is that what is ethical, may or may not be legal – as well as what is unethical may or may not be illegal.

An example of an unethical comment made by a PR pro…

Blog pic 3

Justine Sacco was a senior public relations chief employed at IAC until she was fired after this tweet she posted on Twitter. Granted everyone has freedom of speech, it is important to think before we speak… or post. Justine Sacco who has plenty of experience in the field of PR, should know better than to post a comment that is so offensive.

“While her account was a personal one, it’s a reminder that on public platforms like Twitter, our actions remain tied to our employers, especially if they’re mentioned in your bio. As head of PR, Sacco’s job was to decide how IAC communicates its message to the world, and likely to look at the public social media of her colleagues to make sure they’re not saying anything that could come back to haunt the company.”

The quote was taken from Forbes article, “Justine Sacco’s Nightmare Before Christmas, Twitter-Version“.

According to an article from The New York Times Magazine, Sacco states…

“To me it was so insane of a comment for anyone to make,” she said. “I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.

Social media can spread like wildfire. The more offensive the content is… the faster it will go around. This tweet may be no worse than countless racist or offensive posts seen on Twitter, but the fact that she had public relation credentials and experience gives IAC every right to do what they did. Although it was Sacco’s personal account, since she was employed with IAC, it made the company look bad which hurts their reputation and the public’s trust.

Do you think it was right for IAC to fire Justine Sacco for her tweet? 

The Fight for Love, Peace & Equality

On June 26, 2015, the United States made history. This was the day that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. This has been an ongoing issue that people across the nation have been fighting for. One of the many reasons this right was given to the United States, started with the public’s opinion. There are three major factors that the public opinion is determined by.


Attitudes are evaluations that people make about specific problems or issues.
Attitudes are based on many characteristics: Personal, Culture, Educational, Family, Religious, Social Class, Race.

There are people for and against same-sex marriages in the United States, the way they present themselves and the words they speak shows the attitudes of these individuals.


“Protestors clashed with attorney Gloria Allred, who supports same-sex marriage, outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday morning shouting, “Shame on you….wicked Gloria. You’ll have to answer to God’s supreme court.” Allred shouted back, “The Supreme Court is going to decide this issue, not you.”

This is a quote posted by Wood TV8 in an article talking about the legalization of same-sex marriages.


Opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions. Not everyone is going to agree with each other. This relates back to behavior because our opinions that we form, come from our evaluations and behaviors.

This image is a great example that relates to people’s opinions. The religion you believe in may not be the same that someone else believes in. Therefore, what you see is wrong and against your beliefs may not be true for them.


Action is the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

Over the years, gay rights advocates have fought for their right to equality in terms of same-sex marriage. As time went on, some states were slowly accepting and legalizing this marriage. However, these people didn’t stop there. They kept on fighting with the goal to achieve same-sex marriages in all 50 states. After all of their behaviors and opinions that led to actions, the court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriages, giving gay rights advocates their biggest victory yet.

“In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

Nearly 46 years to the day after a riot at New York’s Stonewall Inn ushered in the modern gay rights movement, the decision could settle one of the major civil rights fights of this era. The language of Kennedy’s opinion spoke eloquently of the most fundamental values of family, love and liberty.”

What Does it Mean to Work in Public Relations?


What do you think when someone tells you they work in public relations?

“So you just get to party everyday?” “You get to sit around on Facebook at work… and get paid?” “Hand out free stuff to people?” “Lie to get people to like a specific company?”

Being employed in the public relations field can often bring up some confusion or even negativity among individuals. However there are actually numerous functions a PR can be associated with and most companies are not looking to be disrespectful or dishonest. Some functions of public relations include…

-Writing- -Planning- -Counseling- -Researching- -Media Relations- -Investor Relations- -Employee Relations- -Consumer Relations- -Community Relations- -Social Media Interfaces- -Public affairs and issues- -Marketing Communications-

Although a PR professionals may have a different function compared to another person, they all have one goal in mind. An article posted on Shift Communications states…

“In PR, we help build and manage relationships between your public and your brand. Though there are several different strategies and tactics that fall within PR, at the end of the day, everything we do ties back to building and managing relationships with the public.”

Shift Communications is an organization that works with companies who need to incorporate Public Relations into their marketing strategy. The author, Tori Sabourin, has worked at a PR agency for almost six months and explains how difficult it can be to explain to people what she actually does.

Do you have what it takes to be a PR person?

“PR is an intense and difficult job that can be rewarding and disappointing. It can be exciting, and mind-numbingly boring. PR, more often then not, is misunderstood by people outside of the industry. Increasingly, the lines between PR, marketing and advertising are becoming more blurred, taking the industry into a new direction. To be a PR person, there are certain skills that are very beneficial which can be broken into two categories: human skills and professional skills. Human skills include things such as patience and congeniality, while professional skills include the ability to speak publicly and write professionally.”

Not only is public relations hard to understand for many individuals, it also takes special people to love and be good in this field. The quote above was taken from an article on written by Ben Silverman. PR professionals may be doing anything from managing social media accounts, publishing industry news, running contest giveaways, developing television/radio segments, and communicating with audiences. With so many different functions within public relations and the variety of opportunities this field provides, no wonder so many individuals get this industry confused.

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