Is Instagram is just another social media flash in the pan?
Well, not if you look at the numbers. Businesses of all sizes are flocking to Facebook’s free photo-sharing app, hoping to get noticed and expand their reach. It already boasts 90 million active users posting 40 million photos a day. Why is it proving to be so popular? Well, that’s simple. Instagram is different from other social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter because it’s almost entirely photo-based and only available on Apple iOS and Android mobile phones and devices. What makes Instagram special is it’s an incredibly effective marketing tool for building brand recognition and consumer loyalty quickly through an on-going stream of personalised brand photos. So maybe now is the time more businesses started taking it a little more seriously.
How can your business benefit from Instagram? Well, try these few strategies for starters.
Don’t use boring stock photos, infographics or text-heavy images: post creative snapshots of your company’s products and services. Tell your followers, potential clients, customers and business partners who you are and what you do, but do it with flair. However, it’s important that you do this in a measured way, which doesn’t exhaust your business’ appeal, so don’t show photos of your products more than three to four times a day, and avoid posting the same picture twice. Instagram thrives on fresh new imagery, so repeat photos are a no-no.
Try photo contests.
Photo contests are a great way of attracting, interacting and converting potential customers. They’re fun, and better still they’re free. Try asking your Instagram followers to submit personal photos of your products and then post the best ones on your online store and reward these with prizes. If you want to keep your followers coming back try a photo-of-the-day campaign, or ask followers to answer questions about the photos you’ve posted. It’s important to keep things fun, but it’s equally important to remember why you’re doing this – for marketing.
Use images featuring promotional codes.
Promoting exclusive discounts and coupon codes for new products and services within a single Instagram photo is a fast, low-cost way to attract fans and boost sales. They’re also an effective way to attract and track deal seekers. For example, Topshop (@topshop), which has more than 218,000 Instagram followers, uses Twitter and Facebook to drive consumers to Instagram images that reveal “secret” discount codes. If you use promotional codes, don’t forget to hashtag your special-offer photos with #promocode. Instagram hashtags work in exactly the same way as they do on Twitter.
Use behind-the-scenes photos to personalise your brand.
If you really want customers to get to know the real you, then show what happens behind-the-scenes at your company. Post candid shots of what happens each day. Use photos from company parties, product launches and industry events. Behind-the-scenes photos can help to personalise a business and create a sense of camaraderie and trust with followers, making them more likely to do business with you.
Make your followers stars.
Many brand followers like to be personally recognised by companies for their loyalty. These people are also more than happy to spread the word about their star status within their Instagram network. Choose a follower of the day and promote him or her with an @mention. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, an @mention is how Instagram users tag each other in comments. This can fire up powerful word-of-mouth promotion and deliver more followers and potential customers.