Posted by Jon Schubin on Fri, Feb 21 2014

All Posts by Jon Schubin

More than selfies: The corporate Instagram

Photo for More than selfies: The corporate Instagram

One of the many new features on our new website is an expanded Careers page. This was a priority for us, as this page consistently gets some of the highest inbound web traffic, and not just from potential job seekers. It appears that many people, whether they are future applicants, current clients or industry consultants, want to know about our company.

This new “Careers” section is designed to pull back the curtain to show what life at Cognito is really like. In addition to more extensive bios, brand new “day in the life pieces” across geographies and job titles, we have also added a mirrored feed to our Instagram account. Now, anyone can observe in real time our photos from client and company events, daily life inside the office and adventures far and wide.

Creating the Cognito Instagram wasn’t a universally popular decision. When I started the account, nearly a year ago, there were certain members of the staff who would throw up an arm to cover their face if I tried to get a snap in during a company meeting. But now, you’ll see nearly every Cognito employee smiling, laughing and even occasionally working on the web for all to see.

Looking back, I think there are five reasons our office turned from Instagram skeptics to advocates. Hopefully these are of some use to people considering whether to start a corporate Instagram at their own firm.

• Get buy in from the top – I may have created the login, but it was actually our CEO Tom Coombes who asked offhandedly nearly a year ago why we didn’t have an Instagram account. Our president Dan Simon was also an early supporter, and it was they who ultimately decided very early on in the website design process to include a place for the feed. They knew that Instagram offered a way to show the “real” Cognito to the outside world.

An example of a photo that didn't work

• Establish guidelines and best practices – Instagram is a document of daily life, and many personal accounts showcase the strange and unusual sights that happen outside the normal 9 to 5 work day. What belongs on a work Instagram took us some trial and error. Too often in the early going, I would remember that I wanted to post a photo and would snap the view from my desk: the back of my fellow Senior Account Manager Kevin Maher’s head. Guided by the likes and user feedback, we posted more of things people actually wanted to see. Staff events, speculator sunsets from our office roof and visits from furry friends proved to be much more popular. Additionally, we are developing a set of guidelines to ensure employees are aware of when they’re being photographed, and comfortable with photos that are published. And, as with all social mediums, we do not post sensitive or confidential material.

• Don’t tag personal accounts (unless asked) – Employees today are justifiably concerned when their personal and professional lives intertwine. Even though we “know” that everything shared is ultimately public, we want to make sure that people understand that they are being photographed in their professional capacity. We’ve decided not to tag employees using their personal Instagram handles unless they’ve requested. We also don’t require people to follow the Instagram account. After getting used to our content, many people have opted to follow and tag us, but we want this to be some people opt-in into rather than are forced into using.

• Encourage broad use – Instagram’s platform isn’t designed to easily allow multiple users for a single account. Since many of the people at Cognito who would post are usually signed in on the app under their own account, we had to use several all-office communications to encourage other people to post photos. Otherwise, the only photos uploaded were from my own perspective (and lots of Kevin Maher’s head). We have decided to let every employee access and upload pictures, and more than half a dozen staff upload pictures during any given month.

• Don’t be afraid of fun – We tell our clients that content should to fit the platform it’s delivered on. Instagram’s mobile-dependent, visual medium isn’t the place to show off how well we can write a press release or deliver an integrated marketing campaign. We also can’t display full sentence corporate messaging without putting our followers to sleep. However, Instagram has proved to be a great venue for showing the firm’s togetherness in a way that can be difficult to convey in our standard professional communications. Instagram has become a place to show that Cognito is a place where creativity is encouraged and smiles abound.

Better photo

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