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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Austria

19th January 2017 Vienna, Austria

The wonders of Instagram

Which leading Austrian Instagramer features photographs of a figure in a yellow sou’wester?

I was pleased to welcome to the Embassy recently a group of mostly young Austrians with leading accounts on the social media, like Instagram. In instagramese, this would read: Great to welcome @igersvienna to #BritishEmbassy #grambassador.

One of the challenges of social media engagement is that different tools work well in different countries.  As Ambassador in Kyiv from 2008-2012 I found blogging the best way to reach a wide and influential audience.  In Turkey as Consul-General 2012-2016 I focused on Twitter, with the handle @LeighTurnerFCO.

Now, in Vienna, social media experts tell me Twitter is relatively little-used; and that we should focus on Instagram, where I again use the handle @LeighTurnerFCO.

About those blogs, by the way – I’m still writing them.

Instagramers Vienna

The @igersvienna Instagramers were an inspiring bunch, with a combined followership in the hundreds of thousands. They suggested several good ways to generate high-quality content:

  1. Make it as personal as possible (e.g. with a photo of oneself and more text). Interestingly, it is possible to use longer texts on Instagram than on Twitter, with its 140 character limit.
  2. Provide access to places followers might not usually see – e.g. from inside the UN.
  3. Ask questions to initiate discussion.
  4. Respond – if someone comments on your picture, let them know you’ve read it;
  5. Use clichés, but judiciously – British or Austrian stereotypical scenes may seem predictable to you but your followers may like them.
  6. Photo composition – really good photos make a difference.  Symmetry often works well on Instagram.
  7. Popular motifs – these include staircases and, for some reason, food photographed from above
  8. Hashtags – these can lead people to your content or generate interest. The @igersvienna suggested the rather cool #grambassador

I would welcome thoughts on all this. Are the experts I have been speaking with right, or do you have better ideas? Feel free to answer on Instagram via @leighturnerFCO or with #grambassador.

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.