Let me start by saying that the past 72 hours have been very technology driven for me. I suppose it all started when T-Mobile finally put out the iPhone for its customers, making me ecstatic and quick to pick one up. Now originally I had a Blackberry (that was old and withered). This is probably why I never felt compelled to use a lot of social networking tools on my phone – because it was too slow and incapable. So here I am adding all of these new apps, and loving this phone! My friends kept telling me to add Instagram, and raving about all the cool photos you can take and share. And of course I just figured I would get around to it eventually…, which came sooner than I planned.
On Saturday, I met up with Megan Wong, Virtual Library Manager for the Santa Clara County Library (SCCL) system for lunch, and we discussed the current status of the social media technologies that she is using in her system. She is the big wig, who is responsible for all of the social media content for the entire library system. A large part of her job is managing the creative content, and ensuring that the sites are engaging and useful to users. During our meeting, I asked her if there were any social networking tools she wanted to add, and ironically what did she say?… Yep, Instagram. “I really want to add in Instagram, but I just don’t know yet how we could make it engaging and interesting for our users to want to follow us,” said Wong. I told her that I had some great ideas, that I would include in my media plan (which I plan to submit to her upon completion). To be honest, I hadn’t really thought of any, but I wanted to make a good impression. Plus, I believe myself to be pretty creative.
But oh yea, first I had to sign up for this Instagram thingie, and learn how to use it.
So I made myself an account using my iPhone, and instead of starting to take pictures myself—I looked at what other people (my friends) had posted to get some ideas. Geez, there are pictures of everything from flowers to food. After doing a bit of research, this is what I thought would be the best way to approach the Instagram idea to make it marketable for the SCCL system.
*No staged shots: The majority of shots we see on Facebook and other technologies are staged, selfies, etc. Instagram focuses on a more organic type of photography of catching the coolness, beauty, or randomness of a person or item. Let’s focus on catching people, objects, and nature in its most sincere sense, as to project a true view of the neat things the library has to offer. Maybe something like the tattoo of the girl sitting on the pile of books, the old library cart just left in the hallway, or people reading in the grass in front of the library on a beautiful day.
*Bright is right: Instagram has the ability to allow you to manipulate the colors of a photograph to make it look more elaborate than it may realistically appear. If an image is neat but a bit ordinary—jazz it up with some color or cool visual effects.
*Quality not quantity: There are many technologies like Twitter, which really require you to be actively posting at least once a day to really stay relevant. However, a complication we have been having is finding time to post, post, post! So I say, lets use this to our advantage, and dedicate ourselves to posting initially twice a week, and only images that are worth it, and interesting. We can definitely do more if we have the time, but we need to focus on a strategy that gives more in terms of quality, not just a bunch of random pictures that will annoy the public.
Get a different perspective: The SCCL system has an overall Facebook page, and others for the individual branches. For our Instagram launch, why don’t we get images for our umbrella site from all the different libraries, and as we get the hang of it—set the individual areas up with their own accounts. This gives us a way to showcase what is going on in our whole system from the viewpoints of different locations. Plus it gives us many people posting, thus a surplus of pictures to choose from—as to which is best suited towards showcasing our mission.
So that it what I have decided initially from reviewing this technology. I can see how it can be a useful marketing tool, if understood how to utilize it correctly. I am still working to generate ideas, and if anyone who is a bit more seasoned with this technology has any advice—I would love any input!
P.S. I am now taking pics of my own, and I LOVE this technology for personal use! Thank you iPhone5!! RIP Steve Jobs!