How To Bring Instagram Love To Your Email Marketing

By Krista Wiltbank


You’ve probably heard a couple of things about Instagram and email marketing. You’ve heard that email is the old, reliable work horse of marketing, and you’ve probably heard that Instagram is the “big thing” on the social media scene. But did you know that they could work together to increase engagement with your email marketing?

What’s Email Engagement?

The definition of engagement in email marketing is the level to which subscribers are

On each post associated with your contest, you must include:

  • the official rules and conditions
    • how to enter
    • time frame
    • entrant requirements/restrictions
    • special conditions, etc.
  • an official disclaimer alleviating Instagram of any affiliation with the contest (you can find this verbiage on the Instagram Help Center).”

Read their full rules before starting any contests for your brand. Better to know about these before you start.

Not following the rules can put your brand at risk. Herman continues, “If you were to forget/neglect to put this on any post associated with your campaign, the consequences could range from nothing to a costly lawsuit.”

Not everyone follows the rules, of course, for a couple different possible reasons. Herman acknowledges, “Yes, there are plenty of people who do not include all of these conditions on any or all of their contest posts on Instagram. And they may very well get away with it because it’s a newer medium, people aren’t policing the platform, and smaller companies tend to fly under the radar. However, this doesn’t mean it’s right and it doesn’t mean they are exempt from full prosecution or legal action.”

Failing to follow the platform rules can have serious consequences. Herman says, “If it can be shown that an entrant or participant engaged with a contest based on a post that did not include the legal disclosures, your company could be held liable in a court of law for a variety of charges. Of course, this is worst case scenario. In most situations, either nothing will happen, or you may end up with a disgruntled customer who posts a few negative comments. But, given the simplicity of the process to protect yourself legally, it is not worth the risk.”

You can keep all the legal language together on your phone (using a notes feature, or an app like Evernote or Trello), it’s really not hard to comply with the Instagram regulations. Herman says, “Take a few extra minutes to ensure every post associated with your contest reflects all of the contest rules, details, terms, and disclosures.”

How to Choose the Images to Feature

Once you hold your contest/campaign, you’ll have more photo submissions than you could imagine. And now you have to go through all the submissions to figure out which ones to feature. This would include contest winners, if you went that route. And yes, you have to review all the photos submitted.

There are two big things you’ll want to look at when you’re choosing the images to use in your newsletters:

  1. Does the photo match your brand?
  2. What are the photographer’s metrics and does the account’s overall look match your brand?

In this case, the photographer’s metrics are the number of followers s/he has. What kind of engagement does s/he usually get? What kind of engagement did the photo s/he entered get?

When I say “match your brand,” I mean asking yourself if it fits within the look of your brand. That’s more than just brand colors, it’s the entire visual story your company tells. Even if a photographer has a gazillion followers with tons of engagement, if the submitted photo doesn’t match your brand, it won’t work. You’ll need to balance the perfect, on-brand photograph with the photographer’s account statistics.

How to Get Permission to Use the Chosen Photographs

The methods of gaining permission and legal rights to the photographs will depend on how you gathered them. If you used a hashtag engagement campaign to find photos, the methods will be a little different than if you hosted a contest. Fitzpatrick explains,

“When a brand or small business wants to use Instagram images in their email campaigns, they should make sure they have permission to use the images in their marketing. When a brand finds a photo that they want to use, they can send a direct message (DM) on Instagram or comment on the post asking permission to use the image.”

Keep in mind that an Instagrammer might turn you down, for good reasons. Fitzpatrick says, “Some influencers may not want to allow brands to use their content due to having arrangements with other brands or without compensation. But there are many Instagrammers that will be happy to have their photo shared on a brand they love’s Instagram page or to their followers.”

Once you have permission, it’s important to credit the original Instagrammer. Always give the original photographer credit for the image. Then, work with the photographer to get any written permissions, just to be on the safe side. Your legal team will guide you through this. Those permissions will vary greatly by company and industry. In health care, for example, using a legal release that ensures Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance.

If you’re gathering photographs through a contest, the legal work is done for you as you plan the contest. Your company will set up the contest rules. You can set it up so that entering the contest functions as a release for your company to use the image for marketing purposes. You have to make sure they’re posted somewhere so the entrants can see them. On the Instagram side, though, you have to do a few things to follow their

Once you have all the legal i’s dotted and t’s crossed, you’re all set to start adding user-generated Instagram content to your email newsletters. Your next step is notification. Tell the photographers that you’re going to feature their image. Give them a date when the newsletter will be mailed out. Ask the photographer to share that information with his/her followers. Although, honestly, that part may not be necessary. If the photographer is a fan of your brand, s/he’ll more than likely be thrilled to be included. Especially if there’s winning a contest involved. S/he may shout it from the rooftops without any requests. That’s the beginning of your increased engagement.

Don’t Stop With Just Newsletters

The possibilities for UGC are endless. Once you have permission to use a user’s photo, you can use it anywhere in your marketing. Like landing pages, thank you pages, and even a section of your website.

Have you used UGC in your email marketing? Are there any other techniques to find Instagram UGC to feature in your newsletters? Share your thoughts in the comments.

The post How To Bring Instagram Love To Your Email Marketing appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Email Marketing Tips.

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