Have you gotten a collage of photos fill up your Facebook or Twitter feed, seen one of those funny pictures with someone you know with a crazy filter well guess what we all have. Guess what again? It probably came from Instagram.
Instagram’s developers describe it as a “quirky,” “fun” and “beautiful” way to share photos: You can snap a picture on your mobile device, apply a vintage-inspired filter, and then instantly push that content out to multiple social media channels simultaneously.
Beneath the app’s playful appeal is a powerful way to market your services and connect with customers. Using Instagram, small business owners can instantly put a face to their business and watch their customer relationships and sales flourish as a result.
The visual web has taken over, with Instagram helping to lead the trend. Now part of Facebook and with over 100 million users, the popular photo-sharing app has turned regular users into amateur photographers.
The content that Instagram users are generating and consuming allows many brands and e-commerce sites a way to harness the power of photo sharing to increase their customer base and get valuable marketing data. These six simple tips are a starting point for any brand success on Instagram.
1) Create your account and set up an editorial calendar.
Images are a great way to communicate with your clients, and that makes Instagram a great distribution channel for your most visually appealing content. Whenever you’re releasing a new product line or hosting an event, a single photo can communicate more effectively than the longest press release.
But like with other forms of content marketing, you shouldn’t limit it to these events. Set up an editorial calendar (posting at least a couple of photos per week could be a good start) and define what type of content you’ll create. A good example is Nike, a company that regularly displays a mix of their own products, events, sports team gear or customers wearing their product.
2) Pick a series of hashtags and focus on these.
Hashtags are the best way to categorize your content on Instagram, but also the easiest way to build a brand on the service. Instead of using a spray-and-pray strategy for your hashtag, you should define a few hashtags and stick to them. This will help your followers to remember and identify them with your brand.
3) Interact/comment on your customers’ photos about you.
Whether you are actively engaging or not, your clients could already be talking about your products on Instagram, so there is no better place to start the conversation than where your customers are right?
4) Merge offline/online.
The mobile nature of Instagram enables a level of interaction that simply isn’t possible on other platforms. This gives you the opportunity to engage with your users around specific locations or events, which is a great opportunity to blend your offline brand building efforts with your digital presence.
5) Display photos from your customers on your products.
A few years ago, Google Vice President Jim Lecinsky, wrote a book called “The Zero Moment of Truth” where he explains in detail how the Internet has changed consumer behavior. In this book, Jim shows that since consumers now research online about your brand before buying, you should embrace product reviews and comments about your product as a new marketing opportunity.
The same concept can be applied to Instagram. As the web is becoming more visual, what better way to help your potential customers research your product than showing other happy customers using it?
6) Combination Marketing.
Finally, take all of these tips and combine them together try using 2 of these at a time or use all of them at the same time if they apply to your business and see what works. The best thing of all? Instagram is free to use.
Now take some pictures, use a cool filter and tag away like your business depends on it. It’s not that serious, but you can create a serious buzz on Instagram. Good luck!