You may have come across some of the filtered, vintage images shared by a lot of people on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook. But if you haven’t and you are wondering whether Instagram is just a passing fad or yet another social media network to help you spread the word about you and your small business, you might want to read on.
What is Instagram?
Recently acquired by Facebook for over $1billion, Instagram is a free app that very cleverly has capitalised on one of our favourite pastimes – photo taking and photo sharing.
This app includes a camera functionality which works pretty much the same as the camera in your mobile device. Capture that moment and apply any of the various filters in the Instagram selection. Post it to Instagram and share internally in Instagram and externally to other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or email it to your contacts.
Why should small business owners consider using Instagram?
In preparation for their acquisition, Facebook conducted a study on how people were engaging journalists’ pages on Facebook and found that posts with images were far more popular than posts without them, receiving 50% more “likes” from readers. So, if your marketing mix includes a social media strategy, Instagram may be the next move for you, particularly if your target market is the younger crowd (half the website visitors are 35 years of age or less). Using Instagram shows you are ahead of the curve and you think outside the square when it comes to promoting your business.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to use Instagram – it’s just as simple as snapping away, testing filters that work and writing an engaging caption. And you don’t have to stage your Instagram moments – it’s a matter of giving your viewers an instance on the life of your business, allowing them to share on the everyday routines, in a somewhat beautified sort of way. That is exactly what Nic Adler, owner of the renowned LAs venue The Roxy, is doing. Simply posting quirky, natural shots of things happening at The Roxy has landed the establishment nearly 7,500 followers. And The Roxy is not the only savvy “Instagrammer”, some of the other big names like National Geographic, NPR, NBC News, Playboy, Pepsi, CNN, Starbucks, Grammys, and David Blaine are all in as well. Even us, at Hotfrog, use this tool to show our very capable customer service team in their environment:
Interested? – How do you use Instagram in your small business?
1. Share, share, share.
First, get yourself familiarised with this nifty little app. It’s easy. Then, share them on Instagram itself and them download your Instagram photos from Facebook and include them in your blog posts or on your company website. If your fans are sharing your photos online, share their photos with your followers.
2. Find your customers, follow them and get them involved. Instagram will let you know who is using your product and what they are doing with it. Invite your followers to post their own Instagram photos of your business product or service, then retweet those images to create a sense of community among the business’s followers.
3. Play the Instagram marketing game. There are many things you can do to involve customers and followers. For instance, you could ask people to take pictures of themselves using your product and offer a price for best picture. Or you could get people attending an event you host to capture moments and share them with followers.
4. Showcase your product. Any new product releases, new clothing line, new designs, etec, anything can be Instagramed. What’ s more, you can share photos of your products on your social media platforms by creating albums that are visually interesting.
5. Share your Instagram images on site. If you have a physical presence, you can take images of your customers and put them on your store. If you don’t , your website is also a great place.
6. Make it personal. People like to know who is behind the wheel. Snap photos of your team members and post them on Instagram.
Don’t forget to use hashtags and geotags to locate and caption your images adequately. Visit the Instagram blog for further information on how to make the most of this tool.