Tag Archives: Marketing and Advertising

Understanding Instagram

14 Nov


“Look at this vintage photo I took of the lake near my work!”

This slightly sarcastic exclamation illustrates the assumption many have of Instagram being nothing more than a place to post pictures of one’s breakfast or bicycle. Although it is true that Instagram is a place to do this, many businesses such as Nike, Starbucks and the NBA have recognized the massive power of Instagram as a communication tool.

I took the photo above at Boomer Lake in Stillwater, Okla. Using Instagram, I uploaded the photo, added a filter, wrote a description, and placed the hashtag symbol in front of words in my description related to the picture.

So why should your business care about Instagram and how can you use it to help your business? I’ll answer these questions in my next post, “Instagram your business.” Before we dive into the potential value of Instagram for business, let’s take a minute to establish a basic understanding of what Instagram is and how it works.

Six things to know about instagram:

1. Instagram is a free social media app for iPhone and Android that was launched in 2010 and sold to Facebook in 2012. A username and photo are all that is required to start an account.

2. Instagram allows users to share photos and 15 second videos. These photos and videos can be found by anyone with an account. A follower of an account will automatically see uploads from the followed account in their feed.

3. Users can take photos or videos using the app or choose to upload photos previously taken on their phones. All photos will be cropped into the signature Instagram square. A variety of filters can be applied to a photo or video for a desired effect. Before posting, a user can write a description of the photo or video.

4. Like other social media sites, Instagram lets users put the hashtag symbol, #, in front of words in a photo’s description. These hashtags makes photos more searchable by other users, extending the reach of a photo.

5. Those with an Instagram account can “like” a photo or video by double clicking on it. Users can also comment on their own or another’s photo. Unless a user sets their account to “private,” their photos can be found by anyone with an account.

6. Instagram allows users to select to post their photos or videos on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr by providing their login info for the various accounts.

Now that you have a basic overview of what it is, try it out. Then watch for our next blog on how to maximize it for your business. If you’re wondering what photos in general may do for your promotional and customer education efforts, also see Laurie’s previous blog on the power of photography.


How would you grade your facilities?

11 Oct

Ok, so your website is rich with class and easy to navigate. Your team is handling callers well on the phone. Referrals are strong and you’re on a roll. Yet the first time a client, customer, patient, key vendors or crucial lead steps into your place of business, they’re greeted with cigarette butts, wilted plants, discarded candy wrappers, dead crickets or dirty windows. Paint colors aren’t at all like the rest of the online branding or printed materials that brought them to you and the chairs are dingy and worn. Your facility is, in essence, another medium in your branding package! Is it earning an A grade? Your signage and interior design are marketing. So, make them count.

“Wow, a PR firm with an opinion about my lobby colors?” If that’s what you’re thinking, join the crowd and welcome to the first step in understanding what’s different about the Beacon Public Relations team. We care about a great result for you. We can’t sleep at night when you invest in a beautiful website branded with, say, blue, green and black…and then never update your burgundy & beige lobby or create a system for keeping things clean. Even the best online presence we can create for you and the most perfectly placed ads we can design, record & place for you, are all wasted if they set an expectation your facility can’t uphold.

“Oh gosh, this is gross. Am I in the right place? I thought they were high tech and state-of-the-art, but this looks like state-of-the-70s, complete with cranky receptionist,” is the last transitionary thought we want crossing the minds of the leads we helped bring your way. The facility, the verbal skills and the overall operations of your organization are ALL going to play a role in the success of your marketing. So, it matters to us. Make sure and get a Beacon A (top grade) on your Beacon F (facilities). 😉

Hey, this is a tough one and we get that. We’re renting a space downtown and have invested obscene amounts (in my opinion, noting I’m crazy frugal) on signage, blinds and paint yet we still need carpet, a wall portfolio and much more. Now the window is broken and the landlord refuses to fix it now. The conference space has peach paint, water spots on the ceiling and aged matting on what could be really neat art. It’s tough to run a business and keep up with all of these details and we’re being challenged on this first hand more than ever before. We simply challenge you, like us, to be on a journey to improvement and acknowledge that our facilities and physical spaces are indeed a reflection of our level to quality and responsibility. Not only is important to be clean, but overly elaborate spaces can also send a message that could be detrimental to public opinion. I was in a new bank building today with a giant raised roof serving no purpose at all and more empty offices than occupied offices. Does that leave customers wondering how a bank can afford such obvious overspending? Does it make customers wonder why the bank isn’t doing well enough to fully staff their offices & fill their spaces? It most certainly crossed my mind. The point, again, is that your space planning matters. Clean, appropriate and on track with your overall messaging – that’s the key. Fancy? Not necessarily. Ornate? Not for everyone. Consider your audience, your industry and the factors unique to your situation and don’t cut corners. 


Thoughts? What facilities gross you out or impress you?



If you’re following the Beacon Mediauras & the Marketing Alphabet, you’ve seen that A is for your aura or brand, B is for finding the beacon or beacons that work to light your way. C is for the all-important link between creativity and a comprehensive strategy. D is for staying determined and on task. E is for the efficiency to effectiveness ratio. Now you know F is for facilities & how your literal image does in fact matter to your branding image. Visit www.DefineYourAura.com for more on Mediauras and an image linking to quickie, interactive videos on the entire Marketing Alphabet.