by Jennifer Lumba | January 19, 2014
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Some 55 million photos are posted to Instagram each day. Analyst Mary Meeker estimates total photo shares at a half-billion and growing fast.
 
WIth such breathtaking volume, and a growing number of photo-sharing sites emerging, it’s clear that social media managers have to become more active with image assets for marketing purposes. Here are 10 strategies for making the most of the process:
 
1. Be spontaneous. Have an executive speaking at a conference? Post some photos. No glamour shots, either. Instead, aim for authenticity. Get both your smiling boss and the passed-out attendee who couldn’t keep awake for another lecture on retail strategy.
 
2. Tell a story. Why not use photos to follow the life of product or the timeline of an event? Not only will it make your feed more interesting, it’s also an easy way to promote initiatives that might otherwise go unnoticed.
 
3. Grant access. Give readers and followers a closer look at hidden operations. Think of board meetings, a small part of the manufacturing operation, or the annual closed-door customer conference. There’s a line, of course, and you don’t want to become the corporate paparazzi. But making a few “insider” shots public on social media could help to build interest.
 
4. Be an eyewitness. Don’t just post, report. Add descriptions to your photos to give life to the action you’ve captured in the image. Give readers and followers a better sense of the world you’re seeing.
 
5. Build inventory. Review your posts regularly. Would any be good for your PR or marketing teams as support material? Would they be useful to accompany a blog post or headline another part of the website? Would your customer appreciate the image? Take steps to repurpose your best images.
 
6. Add humanity. The best photos show the unexpected. Catch an executive in an unprepared moment, or post a few action shots of employees working a charity event. Let customers see you and your company at your most relatable.
 
7. Be thematic. Would a follower know that the photo he just clicked on is from you if your name wasn’t attached to it? Just as followers expect your posts to be a certain style, your images should embrace a familiar look and feel.
 
8. Mix it up. Don’t go overboard posting images. Instead, publish a few a bit at a time while keeping a regular schedule for posting ideas and updates to public networks. Develop a similar cadence if you’re posting for the internal company feed.
 
9. Develop helpful lists. Don’t just post your own images. Collect and share others’ posts that are either interesting or surprisingly relevant. Give readers and followers reason to think of you as a source of great content.
 
10. Run contests. In the same spirit, run contests to find the best photos of your brand, business, or event. Offer appropriate rewards to the winners and credit them when you re-share their work.
 
Gone are the days when social sharing was just about the occasional quip, joke, or article worth passing around. Smartphone cameras have also made photos a huge and growing portion of the zeitgeist.
 
So, go ahead and embrace the shift. Be authentic, but also be a pro. Build your inventory as you please your followers. Commission and share great work. And most of all, use the lens to give your company or brand the human face that text can’t.