Instagram is rapidly growing in social media popularity – perhaps even soon to pass Twitter in “user-ship.” Increasingly, businesses are finding success in attracting new customers by utilizing Instagram as a marketing tool. But how can you use Instagram for your business?
Here are 8 tips for increasing traffic to your business through the use of Instagram:
Get Real: Show the world the REAL you on Instagram
Often, businesses fret over the quality of images they post on Instagram. However, most Instagram users appreciate the fun and creative pictures that utilize the filters already provided on Instagram. Avoid the time, worry, and cost associated with professional photos, which may come across as sterile to the average Instagrammer. Rather, post pictures on Instagram that people will relate to. Take fun, funny, or inspiring photos and enjoy the editing options already provided by Instagram. Let people take a peek behind the corporate curtain and see your business on a regular workday.
Tell a Story with Photos on Instagram
People love stories. Use Instagram's 15-second videos to show production processes, teach something, hear from an appreciative customers, or to make a fun stop animation show and tell for your business. Here's a great one from Home Depot wishing their fans a happy Friday or the one from Starbucks showing how simple you can make the videos…nothing over-produced.
Use #Hashtags on All of Your Instagram Posts
You can build your brand's Instagram community by following your followers and looking at which hashtags your customers tend to use. Instagram users search for specific images through hashtags (think of it as a tagging system to find content). Using hashtags offers a quick way for new consumers to find you when searching for images of products or services you are already offering. Keep a list of popular hashtags that are used in your industry and by your customers. If you have this list in a Word document or an Evernote file, you can easily copy and paste each time you post a new photo or video.
Talk Back to People on Your Instagram Page
People love it when you acknowledge their comments and respond to them. Any time customers comment about your product, or post a picture with your product, either repost it or respond to them. They’re more likely to repost your comments and get even more people interested in your business when they know you are truly interested.
Make it Fun!
Offering contests and incentives make it fun for users to follow you on Instagram. Encourage customers to post “selfies” on Instagram (including #TheNameOfYourBusiness) with your product in various places in exchange for a prize for the most exotic or fun location. Encourage people to like your posts in exchange for free products or services. You can also ask customers to vote on a particular new product or service that you have provided or may provide. Then post a picture of the free products and services offered to the winner (making sure to tag them with @WhoeverWon) and link it to Twitter and Facebook.
Make it a goal to post images a few times per week. The more consistent you are in posting pictures, the more likely you are to develop a steady, reliable fan base. Like any social media platform, posting once a month is just not going to show people that you are active and interested there. Talk to your entire team (every single department or person can SHOW and TELL about their role) and have people contribute photos that could be used.
Ready, Set, Action!
When you post pictures or videos, ask your customers to respond. (And don’t forget to respond to them!) Ask them to tell you and the rest of the world what they think of your product, how they do something similar, where they go for inspiration, what they appreciate, etc. If you are sharing an example or something going on at an event, tag people in the post by putting @TheirName (don't be annoying and spammy by tagging people for no reason).
Kill 2 Tweets with One Stone
Lastly, you can link your Instagram posts with your other social media accounts for greater reach. Linking your photos to your Twitter or Facebook accounts automatically and quickly increases your exposure, as well as traffic to your business. Because Twitter may post your Instagram post as a link, you can use a site like IFTTT.com (If This Then That) to create a formula, or recipe, to post your Instagram photos as a native Twitter post each time. In this case, you would want to remove the auto-post connection between Twitter and Instagram, otherwise it will double post.
We'd love to hear from you. What ideas do you have for using Instagram in your business mix? How are you currently using Instagram in your marketing mix?
Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the social marketing activities? We would be thrilled to chat with you on ways we can help. Just contact us today!
By Reagan Sowa
Reagan Sowa received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University. After working in various marketing positions for a few years, and helping her husband start and grow his business, she received a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Denver and now teaches Business and Marketing. She loves connecting with people, as well as skiing, running, writing, and reading, but her favorite thing in life is raising her
two amazing children.