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The polaroid camera is not something that I would have used for inspiration in trying to develop a new mobile photo-sharing platform. But that’s exactly what Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the makers of Instagram, did. Polaroid cameras were big and bulky, and the overall design and feel was anything but sleek. I personally loved the eight exposures per pack. But, what was cool about polaroid cameras, and what Instagram has capitalized on, is the instant gratification factor.
Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows iPhone users to take a photo, apply a filter, and share it on the service or a variety of other social networking services, including Facebook and Twitter. Instagram has indeed captured an audience with almost 10 million total users and an average of 14 photos uploaded per second.
I know what you're thinking. “Dan, what does Instagram have to offer my dealership?" Most dealers that I talk to are weary of getting involved with a platform that is not specifically focused on price points and sales events. Volkswagen is a prime example of how the automotive industry and Instagram can work for your dealership.
Recently, Volkswagen Canada launched a campaign called ‘Art Heist’ to expose the Jetta as a work of art. Limited edition framed photographs of the Jetta started to appear all across Canada. These pieces of art were left for people to take down and bring home. Volkswagen encouraged those who took the pictures to share their experience online through Volkswagen Canada’s Facebook and Twitter pages under the #VWArtHeist hashtag.
So if Volkswagen launched a very successful campaign based on displaying “artsy” photographs of vehicles, then why would taking interesting photos of cars and your staff not gain interest as well? Here are a few rules to live by when using Instagram at your dealership.
Tip #1 Post interesting images of the vehicles: Don’t just take straight on photos of the vehicles but look for interesting angles, a close up of the rims, dashboard, headlights. Apply a filter to it, use the blur feature, and presto, an artistic shot that any car enthusiast or a loyal customer will surely like.
Tip #2 Post interesting images of your staff: What will make your Instagram gallery stand out is to start taking fun and interesting photos of your staff. Visually appealing lifestyle photos thrive on Instagram. Your staff is a subject matter that will always give you plenty of ideas. Do this with your service, sales, customers, and with everyone involved at the dealership.
Tip #3 Post consistently: A pet peeve of mine on Instagram is when someone will not post anything for weeks and weeks and then in one day post 20 photos in a row. To me this comes across as spam. Even if the photos are good, it's overload and might result in people unfollowing you.
Tip #4 Get social with your posts: Like anything else, when a conversation gets going, more and more people want to chime in. By utilizing the @replies and hashtags you will see more and more activity that will give exposure to your profile. Using these features can open doors for social contest both internal and external. Do a photo contest within your dealership between the employees and choose a winner. Or have followers submit photos with a particular hashtag. You can be the judge and give them a prize. Make sure you're supporting any contest on Instagram with other social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Follow us on Instagram @potratz, and also follow my personal stream @dannallen. So enough reading! Grab your iPhone and go look for interesting angles and subject matter. Have fun with it, and I look forward to seeing your photos!