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Instagram for CEOs: digital disaster or likes all round?

Bernard Looney, CEO of oil giant BP, ventured into the world of Instagram this week, and his debut was announced with a photo probably meant to depict a cool and relaxed ‘man of the people’ vibe.

 

He pairs the corporate-but-trying-not-to-be-corporate image with a caption talking about how he’s been a fan of Instagram for a long time and wants to use this platform to not only ‘talk openly’ but also ‘listen and understand your thoughts concerns and interests’.

So, is this a good move for Bernard, and should more CEOs be stepping out into the world of filters and fandoms, or is it slightly on the ‘looney’ side? (soz)

First of all, success on Instagram comes down to authenticity and real insight into a user’s world. While you may spout aspirations of engaging with worldwide audiences, you’re not going to get anywhere by sharing sterile corporate captions and too many photos of you at a boardroom table.

We’re not saying you need to use filters to determine which Disney character you are straight away, but there is certainly a happy medium.

Instagram is only going to work if you’re willing to let your guard down and share interesting aspects of your lifestyle. This could include content from trips taken abroad, meals out, sporting events, family celebrations, and of course everyone loves a pet pic.

If you’re an entrepreneur, sharing interesting insight into how you got to where you are today is sure to go down well with followers. Instagram has become savvier with longer form video, and both IGTV and Instagram Stories allow you to quickly and easily talk directly to your followers about topics that interest them.

You may not own a Necker Island-style pad, but Richard Branson’s Instagram is a good example of the variety and dynamic style of content that you should be aspiring to. There’s nothing corporate about it, but he still gets across core messaging around communities, business growth and innovation via the videos and photos posted.

But back to Bernard. With his first few posts, he seems to be doing all of these things well. He’s already shared a #throwbackthursday post, video content and a photo of him in overalls – well done Mr Looney.

As long as you steer clear of commenting on sensitive subjects and avoid getting dragged into political drama, Instagram is a platform to be enjoyed with people you would have never connected with otherwise.

So don’t be scared, show a bit of humanity and #BeLikeBernard

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