#InstaPanel: Top 4 Takeaways

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#InstaPanel: Top 4 Takeaways

This past April, The Social Media Network hosted it’s final event of the semester #InstaPanel, a panel-style speaker session focused on the use of Instagram for branding. This panel comprised of four wonderful speakers from various local businesses in the Vancouver area that standout on Instagram, including Zach Berman from The Juice Truck (@thejuicetruck), Christina Lou from Fox and Flourish (@foxandflourish), Joni Lind from Kits Kitchen (@kitskitchen) and Diana Luong from CraftedVan (@craftedvan).

The event was hosted at the Vancouver Network Hub, which is a super cool and stylish space for events, meetups and coworking! With the event entirely sold out, the room was packed to the brim with over 50 attendees! There were some familiar faces along with many new ones and a great diversity of professional backgrounds from graphic design to communications.

Each speaker had great stories and knowledge to share pertaining to their company’s use of Instagram. Since it is a relatively new tool for businesses, it seemed that honing in on their individual strategies has taken a bit of experimentation. For the sake of simplicity we have compiled a list below of the top four things we learned at #InstaPanel.

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  1. Don’t just create, connect!

Not only is Instagram excellent for posting attractive photos, but it is also a great way to network with others! Funnily enough, these business-owners had all already met through and engaged via Instagram prior to this event. They also emphasized the importance of building relationships with customers through comments, rather than just focusing on gaining ‘likes’.

  1. Hash it out

Everyone loves a good hashtag, especially because it makes it easier to discover what a brand is up to. All of the speakers suggested really doing your ‘research’ on hashtags to make sure whatever else is showing up is inline with your own brand. For example, Kits Kitchen uses the hashtag #souplove while craftedvan uses #readhappy. These hashtags can act as a catchy tagline and can be used by fans who want to share their own images.

  1. Share a lifestyle, not just a product.

When building your business through Instagram, you don’t want your product to be the only focus. For example, the Juice Truck posts photos of the outdoors and yoga to relate to its audience. Also, Christina from Fox and Flourish mentioned how people not only want to see the final product, but the process of making it. Don’t be afraid to share behind-the-scenes content with your followers!

        4. Find your aesthetic

With Instagram being the most popular visual social media platform, finding a unique image for your brand can be tough. One thing we learned is that it is okay to experiment with photos and style to see what your audience is receptive to. Finding that Insta-aura comes naturally with time! The speakers were also big fans of editing apps like VSCO Cam and Afterlight.

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Once again, thank you to all of our speakers, attendees and the Network Hub for making this event a great success! It was great to see how engaged everyone was both online and off!

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IMG_5672 Some of the SMN team and the speakers! 

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