To be a business book that belongs in the pantheon of excellent business practices, a book must avoid banal details. It must drive to the heart of what makes its subject worth reading about, let alone writing about.
Jason Miles, author of Instagram Power: Build Your Brand and Reach More Customers with the Power of Pictures, has written such a book. If there were a vote into the business pantheon, I would give mine without hesitation. It’s that much of a must read.
Miles is co-founder and marketer at Liberty Jane Clothing, as well as a Vice President for Advancement at Northwest University. He is already a successful author on social media, with his previous book Pinterest Power.
I learned about the book while reviewing the newest releases on NetGalley, and requested a review copy.
Learn Instagram Basics For a Solid Social Media Strategy
Instagram is at the head of the pack for building interest through images. Miles notes a comScore metric that Instagram outpaced Twitter in 2012 in terms of active users. Facebook also owns Instagram. Such ownership makes for a powerful combination. Facebook has also been noted for its growing mobile presence. But Instagram can hold its own, as Miles notes a Marketing Land statistic that “over 50 percent of top brands are now using Instagram.”
There’s good digital history explained in Instagram Power, including how the iPhone played a part. All of it weaves a good tale of how we – consumers and small businesses owners alike – arrived at this moment of tweets and “selfies.” I loved this book for how the chapters explain Instagram and compare it to other platforms.
Miles notes how likes, commenting and sharing are similar to other platforms, yet notes the limits. The fact that you can’t use clickable URLs on Instagram, for example, caught my attention most. It was phrased well to make clear the difference between Instagram and Twitter.
Miles assails poor social media assumptions, such as the business value of social media productivity and the benefits that can result. For example, check out this quote about what to do on Instagram:
“Followers on Instagram expect you to publish a few pictures a day – that’s it. They appreciate it when you like their photo, and are blown away when you leave a comment.”
See how he simplifies the expectation. Even better, he provides useful signposts to manage those expectations well. For example, he outlines an assessment, the 5-10-20 test. It is an intriguing means to determine if selling on Instagram, or social media in general, matches your business model. The numbers represent the number of customers, number of products and pricing premium, all in that order. The concept represents his view of platform differences, which Miles knows well.
See how in this quote he compares Instagram with Pinterest, once again to guide usage expectations:
“As with Pinterest, Instagram is ‘social media lite’ meaning that culture is not very conversational and no one expects you to do much talking. The social network is technically built on a real-time sharing concept, because users share images in a timeline-based system…. Even though the conversations are less frequent, there is a culture of sharing and engagement that has real power.”
Concepts to Make Your Selfie More Sharable
Not everyone applies great photography techniques, at least not with a photo bomb or selfie. But Miles does explain the key ingredients for creating a great image.
Miles explains the 12 common buying triggers. These triggers are emotions that should be sparked by a photo, such as love, desire or urgency.
Miles notes that these triggers are used everywhere. But they are used to spark curiosity and to encourage sharing, not just to manipulate.
“The best teachers are usually good comedians. The best baristas at Starbucks know your name and make you feel included in the community. The best pastors are amazing at telling jokes, parables and related stories…You can see these examples every day, in every industry. Shaping peoples emotional response is part of influencing them.”
What’s excellent in this book is how it inspires strategy ideas not limited to the Instagram universe but relatable to how your business operates. Given the growth in mobile, Miles hits a home run in encouraging engagement with customers.
A few power tips round out the chapters in the book. Also nice are the examples from small businesses and entrepreneurial pursuits of all kinds. We learn how Laura Lawson, a young artist and author, makes effective images, while another segment notes the value non-profits can gain.
I really liked Instagram Power. It has my “Business Pantheon” vote without hesitation. Whether you are an Instagram newbie or long-time photo warrior, you will find Instagram Power worth the read. With it you will have enough ways to increase your Insta-sophistication instantly.
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