May 31, 2012 · 3 min read
Instagram Tips for Business
It has been quite a year for Instagram and there’s no denying that the social network has been making some serious headlines. Its recent purchase by Facebook for $1 billion coupled with the recent launch of its app for Android phones has helped it reach over 50 million users. As the photo sharing service continues to grow at a rate of 5 million users each week, there is a real opportunity for brands to use it to reach their audience.
Unlike other social networks, Instagram doesn’t have a special profile for brands, so their functionality is the same as any other user. Also, since everything is based on sharing photos, brands cannot rely on sending out text-based messages. Picture sharing services have always been popular, but Instagram (and Pinterest) have recently taken this to a new level. So, to help you make the most out of marketing on Instagram, our social media experts have put together some helpful tips:
Avoid product pushing: Although Instagram is a great platform to share images of your products, you don’t want to overdo it. Users don’t want to see adverts on Instagram, they want to see photos of your products in interesting situations or locations. For example, if you manufacture shoes, consider posting photos of people making the shoes or of somebody wearing them while on a hike in the Amazon rainforest.
Use hashtags: Like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags to help label photos, and adding hashtags to your images will mean that more people can find them. Keep an eye out for hashtags that Instagram users have organically developed, and consider creating custom hashtags for specific campaigns you are running.
Consider competitions: Competitions have great potential on Instagram and can encourage people to post photos of your products or make your brand go viral. These photos could tie in with a campaign you are running or relate to a season or holiday. For example, a company that makes kitchenware could invite people to post photos of baked goods they made for the Jubilee, with a special hashtag for the competition.
Get creative: As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure what you’re saying is interesting and creative. Use varied photography techniques, take photos of different subjects, and have some fun! Instagram has a range of different filters to give your photos a different look and feel, but be careful not to overdo it, otherwise your photo may be overshadowed by too many effects.
Listen: Instagram allows you to get a real-time understanding of what people are saying about your brand, so take the time out to listen. Before participating in Instagram, you should join just to get a feel for what people are already posting about your company. This will help you develop a better strategy and attend to any customer service issues. Regularly monitor Instagram hashtags and use a third party app like Statigram to manage your account and get important stats.
Interact with followers: If somebody has posted a photo related to your company, engage with them by commenting on it or liking the photo. The more you interact with your fans, the more they’ll interact with you.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to a developing a successful Instagram strategy. Don’t forget to link your Instagram account to other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr to share your photos with an even larger fan base.