Three Ways to Use Instagram to Tell your Brand Story


tell your brand story

Startups are everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. As a startup founder (and marketer) you need to find ways to distinguish yourself from the masses and show why your brand is the best brand for your customer. There are a few ways you can do this that are awesome and fun at the same time.

Actually Tell a Kick-Ass Story

Your story matters. But a story is just a story until it becomes a piece of your brand, inspires and motivates others, is unforgettable, and gets repeated. Just remember that your customers care about your story but they also care about what your story means for their own happiness.

Brand Examples:

Toms – Demonstrating the ethics and value behind each product and purchase
Bonobos – Live a ninja lifestyle

Share Something Every Day

Share a piece of the brand story and journey every day. Take pictures and videos every day, even when it seems silly. For example: at a co-workers birthday; when a product is being conceptualized, when you’re sketching the new collection; when shoes are being selected for the Fall line, during a strategy session, when you’re cooling off with a couple glasses of wine. Share the journey that makes your brand – your brand. Let your audience be a part of that journey that gets you to the next step. Let them share in your joys and crazy adventures along the way.

Brand Examples:

Sole Society passion and adventure
Zady honesty and love

Check out my last and absolutely vital section on being “personal” and “connecting” with your Instagram audience when reading my full post on Startup Fashion.

5 Examples of Corporate Social Media Policies

So your company wants to implement a social media policy in order to cover its butt? But not sure how to go about it? How lenient? How strict? Well, take a gander at these five companies and what they chose to do. Just remember, there’s no right policy. Your company needs to find what’s right for your culture and your needs.


1. Best Buy

Known for having great customer service via Twitter, has a social media policy in place in order to avoid issues regarding privacy and much more.

  • The company does not want information shared that isn’t meant to be public. Common sense? I think so.
  • What I found interesting was the inability to share Best Buy logos and other items related to the company. Is there a line of being too cautious? I guess that depends on the industry you are in.
  • Basically, Best Buy wants each employee to differentiate themselves and state their Tweets/Posts are theirs, and theirs alone and not associated with Best Buy. Understandable and most companies prefer this, and hopefully the employees will be smart enough to not write about an item that crosses such a line.

For more info, read Best Buy’s social media policy here.


2. Oracle

Oracle’s approach to social media is a little on the stricter side.

  • Regarding using social media in the workplace, they appear to fear the hinderance of productivity with the availability of using social media for personal use. Understandable? Yes. Too much? Debatable. It can be more difficult to engage with social media in a regulated industry due to trying to find the right balance for that company and its target market.
  • Interesting point about their policy is that not only must employees establish that all opinions are their own and not Oracle’s, but at the same time, distinguish that they are indeed employees of Oracle. Contradictory? No. Blog posts can increase brand exposure, but employees must be careful with what they say and how they say it — not divulging new features, products, and/or confidential information is key.

For more info, read Oracle’s social media policy here.

3. Ford

I find Ford’s policy to be subtle, “human”, and sensible.

  • They adhere to the idea that social media follows the same rules, just in a new playground.
  • Use your common sense.
  • Beware of privacy issues.
  • Play nice and be honest.

I am a fan of this, as long as your employees understand what common sense is and how to use it.

For more info on Ford’s policy, please go here.


4. Walmart

A company, which is:

  • Adamant on Twitter and its focus on customer service via that avenue.
  • The company wants to make sure its employees who are “official” Twitter users for Walmart are identified as such, stick to customer replies, and focus upon related areas of chatter versus anything outside that of Walmart and/or unnecessary banter. Too strict?

I feel that it is nice to humanize the brand and show there is a real person behind the Twitter handle and not just talk “business” all the time. However, if they are providing excellent customer service and their customers are happy, and it is furthering their business strategy and goals, can you really complain?

For more info on Walmart’s policy, please go here.

5. IBM

IBM has:

  • Clear cut guidelines regarding what is not to be shared, how communication is done, and what is to be identified or not identified.
  • However, IBM also encourages “IBMers” to express themselves, let their voice shine, and demonstrate their skills and creativity.
  • They want their employees to have discourse and share ideas via blogging.
  • But they also want to protect the company’s brand. This balance is key, and I say high-five to that.

For more info, please read IBM’s social media policy here.

Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot. 

Social Media and the Workplace

In my MBA Organizational Behavior course, we collected data on the use of social media in the workplace: If people use it, how often they use it, for what purpose, and if their workplace has policies for such use and how that impacts their views on that company.

Of the 45 people surveyed (in the 20 to 40 year old range):

- 100% have used social media

- 53% have access at work

- 42.5% use it for 10 to 30 minutes while 25% use it for over an hour while at work

- 64.5% for personal reasons, 35.5% just for a lunch break, while the rest use for actual work purposes such as managing and promoting the brand (Pie Chart of Results)

- 45% believe it boosts productivity versus 47% believe it reduces said productivity

In this survey group, it appeared those who did not have access were normally individuals working in a financial/investment firm where they are more likely to prohibit rather than limit/restrict use. The individuals which have social media policies at their workplace and limit (rather than prohibit) such usage, are understanding why such policies are in place because employees may abuse such use, there is a chance of liability, etc. However, some of these social media users feel there is a lack of trust from management when such limitations are placed upon their use. Where is the fine line between policies that prohibit and those that limit and still maintain employee trust and faith? Companies like IBM have a great policy which allows its employees to blog and use social media in order to inspire their innovation. Others are still trying to determine their policies, but just as any other tool in the workplace which can assist in profit, social media is another tool which can be used but management should provide training, lead by example, and trust employees to use these “tools” productively and with dutiful care.