How the MLB Hit a Homerun Using Instagram to Engage Fans


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It seems every day there’s a new social site, tool or mobile app that’s been released and is the new, hot thing. Although it’s been around since October 2010, one of the latest that continues to grow with seemingly epic proportions is the photo sharing app Instagram. Initially it was only available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it became available to Android devices in April 2012, quickly spurring another growth blast!

If you’re not familiar with it, Instagram is primarly a mobile app that allows users to take pictures, apply various filters and edits and then share those pictures across their social networks. With currently over 100 million registered users, it’s fairly likely that at least some of the people you’re doing business with or wanting to engage are using the app.

Recently Instagram also released the ability for its users to have a personalized webpage ( that highlights their own collection of Instagram photos, perhaps a challenge to the other popular image sharing site, Pinterest.

So, you’re a business. How are you supposed to use something like Instagram to engage your fans and potentially participate in this particular social media channel.

Look no further than Major League Baseball for a great example!

MLB Steps Up to the Instagram Plate

MLB Pictober with Instagram

During this past post-season, MLB developed a mashup of Instagram photos with an interactive map to share fans taking photos related to their favorite baseball team and called it Pictober.

If the photo was tagged (using hashtags) with their team name and a location their photos were added to a map on the MLB website. Visitors to the site could then select points on the map that were highlighted and see the photo and status update shared with by that user; which they could then “like” the photo and share it on their own Instagram feed with their friends, as well as share it across other social networks using standard sharing buttons.

Not only did this effort engage fans with their individual teams, but also strengthened the overall brand of Major League Baseball.

Time For Your Business to Take a Swing

How do you translate that to your business? What do your customers do? What hobbies do they enjoy? If you’re a product, encourage your customers to post photos of them wearing or using your items. Maybe you’re a restaurant. Encourage you fans to take pictures of them enjoying a meal at your restaurant.

One of the keys to social media is that it really doesn’t matter what the site or app is, if that’s where lots of people are going, then more than likely your customers and audience is also represented there. Now, just find out what your customers like (which you should already know right?) and join the activity and conversation on those channels.

Are you already using Instagram in a creative way for your business? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to take a look to see what great ideas other people are having engaging with their customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Bean
Jason has a passion for problem solving. An account manager with just the right blend of people skills, technical know-how, and social media savvy, he gets things done and makes clients happy.


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