Instagram: Giving Tech Pros a Visual Voice
If you’re a tech pro who’s looking for a new position or just trying to build out an online presence, you know that social networking is one of the most effective ways to convey who you are and what you’re doing. While a lot of tech pros have Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and even Google+ profiles, fewer have turned to Instagram (an image-centric network owned by Facebook) as a channel for their online identity. But Instagram isn’t just a forum for vacation and cat photos. As Sue B. Zimmerman, author of “Instagram Basics for Your Business,” puts it: “Instagram gives techies the opportunity to tell a visual story, which is the glue to building stronger relationships.” The network is also growing, with a user base that expanded by a whopping 60 percent in 2014. (Compare that to a 14 percent growth rate for Twitter.) So how does a tech pro tell his or her story on Instagram? When tech pros head online to detail their latest projects, they usually do so in text format. Instagram allows them to further highlight their work by adding visuals. As a bonus, those visuals can quickly convey concepts that might be difficult to explain purely in words, making the nature of the projects more accessible to non-technical people. In a similar manner, tech pros can use Instagram to demonstrate the impact of a product on the real world. If you’ve developed a Web-connected thermostat that you think will rival Nest’s ecosystem of products, for example, what better way to show it off than filling an Instagram feed with media detailing its use in-home? If your app has a real impact on how a particular community lives and works, photos documenting that impact can potentially sway a lot of future customers into trying out your offering. For founders trying to attract talent to their startup (or managers at more established tech companies who want to help brand their workplaces as fun), Instagram can prove an ideal platform for showing off outings, events, and carefully curated “behind the scenes” views. Increasing the utility of Instagram is a matter of using hashtags, which group pictures under searchable, industry-specific themes. For example, Throwback Thursday (#TBT) is a good way to gain a few followers (and laughs) by posting older images that demonstrate how far things have come in tech. While Instagram won’t replace a resume, a personal Website, and a carefully curated list of projects as a way of fully explaining what you do, it can add another dimension to your work.