There’s been a lot of buzz around Instagram for some time now. The service reached its peak in 2012 when Facebook paid almost 1 billion dollars to acquire Instagram, at the same time leaving no doubts to anyone whether it had any revenue potential. At that point, it had over 200 million active Instagramers worldwide using the app every month. Given its popularity, especially amongst the younger generation, let’s take a look at its marketing potential.
The photographic social network connected with a mobile application enables millions of users to post and share photos easily. You can edit the photos quickly using a number of built-in filters and tag them using hashtags.
Once you get your picture ready, you can share them using Instagram or other social networks, like Facebook or Tumblr. What’s more, the service lets you follow your friends, search particular photo topics, comment, or like other users’ activities.
Every user starts their own profile in which you can add your first and last name, website, or a short bio. Just like on Facebook, you can tag other users in the posted pictures and videos – this way they won’t miss any snapshot! If you wish to keep things more private, you can send pictures using Instagram Direct.
Instagram is somewhat similar to Snapchat – a messaging mobile app. The basic difference between these two is that all messages posted via Instagram stay on the net and let users share their thoughts and opinions using visual content.
How and why should you use it?
The constantly growing number of Instagramers with teenage users in the lead, turned marketers’ attention and interest towards Instagram. The visual representation of your company will improve brand awareness and appeal to your customers’ feelings and emotions.
Looking at the popularity of such portals as Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, We heart it, Tumblr, or Instagram should be no surprise to businesses. These networks provide space to let your customers engage and publish customer generated content, which makes the brand look more credible for its prospects.
If you wish to promote your brand with Instagram, all you need to do is take a few basic steps that will help you succeed.
1. Sign up for an account and let your fans know
The first step is probably the only obvious one – start your Instagram account, which you can then connect to other external content sharing services. Once you activate your profile, make sure your fans from other social services know you’re on Instagram and come to see your pics and videos. You can inform them about your new activity by sending a newsletter, publishing a post on other social media profiles or, by adding an Instagram tab to your Facebook fan page.
2. Use #hashtags
To make it easier for your fans to discover the content you publish you should use hashtags, e.g. #emailmarketing, #selfie, etc. that actually suit your business, its image, and the values it stands for. Most of all – a hashtag should reflect what the picture or the video actually shows. One of the best practices regarding hashtags is to check the most popular ones and post adequate content to reach as many users as possible.
3. Stay engaged
The Key element of every social network is communication. To create interest and engagement around your profile and your brand, keep in touch with your followers and maintain the conversation with those who post pictures for you or leave comments under your posts. Take your time to answer their questions, like their pics and show the human face of your brand to prove yourself trustowrthy and credible.
4. Introduce your brand
Captivating and engaging content – that’s what brand’s Instagram profiles are all about. This is what tells the story of your brand, presents your new products or shows it from a perspective no one has even seen before, e.g. the “behind the scenes” while launching a new project. Just like posting and commenting, such activities make your brand feel less distant and more tangible for customers.
Your fans are likely to enjoy short videos, which perhaps could encourage them to create ones of their own – with your product presented. If one picture is worth a 1000 words, how much can a video piece mean?
5. Ask for support
What’s a real marketing success in social media? A situation when your followers and fans are thrilled to create and share their own content presenting a brand’s product. Such fans prove that it is actually possible to create engaging communities around a particular brand in social media.
Loyal customers could become your most effective advertising, incomparable with any other communication channel. However, you need to release the first spark to start the fire of creation among your customers. You can do it by organizing a contest, a sweepstakes or any other sort of promotional activity that could release your followers’ creativity and show what exactly your brand means to its customers.
6. Measure the performance of your activity
Analyzing the stats on Instagram will help you understand the needs and preferences of your followers so that you could post inspiring and shareable content for them. By having a look into the analytics, you’ll find out where your followers come from, how many users like your posts, how many comments were left under your content and how many times your hashtags have been used.
Thanks to all this data you will be able to select the most active users communicating with your brand or the type of content that works best for your audience.
If you run an online store of any kind, there are dozens of useful integrations that could connect your website with Instagram. Thanks to Chirpify or Hashb.ag, your followers could make a purchase in the store easily – by simply posting a comment under one of your pictures. Feel free to find the best option for you and improve your social media marketing activities instantly!
Cool brand profiles
Many international companies have been using Instagram so far – just take a look at some of the profiles we present below. Need more inspiration? Check out the Instagram blog for more details on current and past campaigns run in this network. Here’s our subjective leaderboard: