What comes to mind when you think of Instagram? You might remember that it was famously sold to Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook for $1billion, despite the fact that is has no source of revenue.
Or you might think of it being a place where people post pictures of food that they are just about to eat.
The fact is Instagram is a very popular and successful photo sharing application with the power to increase your business’s exposure, increase brand recognition and create demand for your products and services.
With over 150 million users it is no wonder that so many businesses are turning to Instagram to engage consumers and boost their brands. Recent statistics on Mashable.com revealed that 40% of the top 1000 videos on Instagram are from big brands. MTV, Starbucks and TopShop are regularly featured in the top 10 brands using Instagram.
They invest time and money into marketing on Instagram because it works. Here are some ways that you can use Instagram for your business:
1. Show your products and services in creative ways
Instagram has so many advantages and one of them is to be able to promote window shopping by using Instagram to show off a collection of your products or the finished results of your services.
You don’t even need to be an expert photographer as the application already comes with filters and editing options that help you to be very creative. It is so easy to add your style to your photos. This will help grab the attention of users to your photo.
Photos attract users but it is the conversations that engage them. You want your pictures to be good enough to provoke a good reaction from your followers so that they ‘like’ the photos and add their positive comments. It is even better if they decide to share the photo on other social media platforms as well.
If your business is service related and you don’t actually have any products to display you can show off the supplies and equipment that are essential to the services you provide. Look at how other brands market their business for great tips.
2. Post Behind the scenes photos of your business
You can take a shot of almost anything and share it on Instagram. A great suggestion is to post behind the scenes photographs of your business.
You will find that your followers really like these kind of photos and will be keen to ‘like’ and comment on them. Why? Because on the whole we are a curious breed and it is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes of any business. Let your customers and followers see what you are doing to provide them with the best offers and service.
3. Show what your products can do
A good way to increase demand for your products is to show customers ways how they can use them. Engage your followers by inviting them to comment and let you know what they think of the product. You can create an Instagram contest which is a very effective way of guaranteeing their involvement and spreading the word. For example, ask users to share photos of them using your product.
If your business is service-based, show before and after shots (works great for interior design, make-up, landscape gardeners etc).
4. Update followers on your latest offers and promotions
What better way to get the word out about your special offers than using Instagram to share the latest activities and events that are happening within your business. Post photos of your sales items with the discounts proudly displayed, your new stock and anything else that you think might interest them.
To get even more publicity don’t forget to use popular hashtags like #sale, #contest or #promotion etc. This will make it much easier for people who are not following you on Instagram to find out about your offers.
Again, look at how brands like Starbucks use these promotional activities to great effect. Don’t copy them but add your own spin and make them unique to you.
5. Show how it is made
Use Instagram to show your customers the origins of their favourite products. Take photos during the manufacturing process, including planning and delivery. Your customers will love it as they are naturally curious about how products are made or what goes on in the process of them placing the order and it arriving at their home.
6. Introduce your employees
Introducing your employees to your followers on Instagram will bring a human touch to your brand and will increase customer loyalty even more.
Use the caption box to share a little bit about your employee such as their role within the company or what their hobby is.
You can spread these posts out and make spotlighting a member of staff a weekly feature. Include all departments within your company and put a human face to your brand. Your followers will love you for it.
7. Expand and grow your audience
You don’t need to confine your followers to Instagram. Why not connect your Instagram account to other social media networks and use relevant hashtags (e.g. #yourbrandname ) to make it easier for people to find your account.
Communicate directly with users
Your followers will love it and reward you with their loyalty if you respond to their comments. You can encourage dialogue by asking questions in your photo caption to engage them.
Your goal is to make them want to interact with you and make some sort of positive response whether it be a comment or simply a ‘like’.
8. Build Antici……….PATION!
Share teaser photos that satisfy curiosity but build anticipation for your new products, premises, store or event. Keeping customer interest is an essential part of an effective marketing campaign. Instagram is the perfect platform for doing this. Reward your loyal followers by letting them be the first to know about new products, services or events.