How to Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool
Using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for marketing purposes is now considered standard practice for most businesses. As the realm of social media expands, so do the opportunities to reach out to potential clients and conduct market research. Instagram is no exception, with over 80 million users worldwide. Yet using Instagram as a marketing tool presents unique challenges, as it's entirely based on streaming photos. Just like the program itself, Instagram works best for businesses when it's combined with other social media outlets.
Create an Online Presence
Before any business can start using Instagram for promotional purposes, they will first need to have a fairly solid online presence to fall back on. It's important to create a website for consumers to refer to, along with company profiles for other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Keeping a blog is also essential for online marketing purposes. Instagram can then be added to this mix, used to share photos and cross-post them on your other websites.
Choose Posts Carefully
There are a few features that all successful business Instagram profiles have in common. They use this program to post interesting, engaging photos on a regular basis, while also taking the time to communicate with their client base. Instagram can be used as a clear way to promote your products, by posting creative and appealing snapshots of them. Yet if all you post are product photos, you'll lose viewer interest quickly. Don't be afraid to post behind-the-scenes photos of the faces at your business. Avoid stock photos or overly professional snapshots, and feel free to get creative with new filters and photo effects to create quirky, memorable visuals that viewers will want to share.
Get More Involved
The rules of engagement with Instagram are the same as with any other social media outlet. To successfully use this tool to your advantage, it's best to reach out to your viewers by responding to comments and liking or commenting on their photos as well. Opening up your account to employees can also diversify your photos and make your brand seem more human to the community at large.
Incorporate Promotional Tie-Ins
To encourage your community to share your photos, you'll want to tie in promotional deals, discounts, or contests. Hosting photo contests is one fun way to interact with potential customers, allowing them to submit their own photos of your products. Contest winners can be rewarded with prizes and displays of their photos. Discount or coupon codes can also be used within your photos. These could be subtly hidden to create a scavenger hunt, which is bound to lead to more shares. Instagram features like hashtags and geo-tagging can also be used in creative ways to provide discounts or reward customers. These are all ways to make the user experience more interactive.
As you grow your online presence using a website builder, blogging platforms, and other tools, Instagram deserves to be added to the list. With consistent upgrades and an ever-growing audience, it holds a great deal of promise for business owners who use it wisely.