With over 500 million monthly active users, Instagram continues to grow in popularity. Brands have all scrambled to jump in and try to build an audience, but many have no strategy and do not take into consideration the fact that this platform is not like the others. Like Twitter, many are tempted to buy followers and likes instead of growing the audience organically which always leads to problems when you actually try and convert to sales. On any social media channel, it takes time, strategy, and consistency to build your audience, but there are some unique tips that can make using Instagram more effective.
Keep in mind that with any social channel, it is getting more important to create content that is interesting enough that it starts conversations and gets shared, versus you pushing it in front of people through advertising. (Read “The Content Marketing Genius of Angie Castalano” for a great example of this in action!)
10 Tips for Instagram Marketing
1. GET REAL– As often as possible, use real photos that you have taken. While this isn’t always possible, find images that share your brand’s story and look authentic.
2. NO STOCK IMAGES-No one likes stock images that look like…STOCK IMAGES! Corny staged corporate porn is definitely a NO-NO on Instagram.
3. ADD HASHTAGS– People use hashtags to find great content and people to follow. Click on any hashtag to see the top people or most recent people using that tag.
4. USE 10-20 HASHTAGS– Adding multiple hashtags will help your profile become more findable. You can place the hashtags in the caption or in a comment directly following. That’s a personal preference.
5. EXPLORE & DISCOVER– once a day click on the magnifying glass to find new people to connect with. The more people you follow the more people will follow you back.
6. COMMENT & LIKE– Make a point to show the love to those you follow. Comment and like photos on other people’s profiles and BE SOCIAL! Adding an emoji to your comment helps your comment stand out in the crowd.
7. WRITE MORE- This isn’t Twitter. You can write 2,200 character posts, but keep in mind it only shows the first 3 lines of text before showing the MORE link to read more. Be sure you are weaving your keywords into your posts like anywhere else.
8. CONSISTENCY & FREQUENCY– Posting regularly will pay off. Like any social site, being on there regularly will help more people find and connect with you.
9. LET US PEEK- Show us the behind the scenes for your business. Let us meet your team or see your product being made. Don’t always show perfection…let us peek behind the curtain of OZ!
10, STAY TRUE TO YOUR BRAND– I love brands like DRY BAR with their touch of yellow in most every image or those that just a look that you can identify immediately. When possible, use your brand colors and fonts, even if it’s just a touch here and there. Using tools like Canva will help you maintain your brand look and feel since you can load your brand’s fonts and exact HEX or RGB colors and use them in your image designs.
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.
It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming this little photo app into the social media world…*sniff* *sniff*. And now, here we are celebrating their 3rd birthday (October 6th, if you want to send a card). Instagram, how we love you and all the apps you have spawned, including some of our personal favorites like, Postagram, Tweegram,and InstaFrame. You have the world snapping and sharing pics of themselves in front of mirrors (check out this selfie expert), pics of feet relaxing on beaches, and of course pics of dogs, cats and lots of food.
Now if you are not among the 150 million Instagram users to date, you might be wondering how this social media site became so popular…and valuable! (Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 BILLION in 2012–that’s Billion with a “B”.). Whether our society has stopped reading anything longer than 140 characters, or we have all reverted back to 3 year olds, just wanting to look at big shiny pictures, this social visual trend is only getting bigger and better.
Sure there are people who may miss out on actually living life, because they are always snapping photos of it, but I think Instagram has taught us some valuable lessons.
Here are THREE that I have learned from this wonderful birthday app:
Slow down and take a closer look
Instagram has taught me to slow down and look closer at the world. Perhaps that dandelion is more beautiful if I get down on the ground with my phone or iPad and snap a great pic. I see more sunrises and sunsets because I go out to grab that pic to share with the hashtagging world just waiting to see all of those #Sunrises and #Sunsets. Perhaps in our fast paced world where we don’t make the time to slow down and smell the roses, we are now learning to capture the beauty of those roses, and brighten the day of others, as we smell them. What might be more interesting in your world and your company, if you stopped and took a closer look? Show us that robot thumb drive up close, or the chewed pen that shows how hard you’ve been working.
Change your filter or your angle when life seems drab or ordinary
Anyone can take an average photo and make it fabulously artistic with a little filter adjustment on Instagram. Even a photo of an old car or an old fax machine, looks somehow beautiful with the right filter and an artsy angle. Show the world your recycle bin at work but make it more vibrant with the X-Pro II filter. Show us your team gathered at a conference, and add the Inkwell filter to send them back in time. Some say you can overdo the filters on Instagram, but isn’t that like saying you will ruin a painting with too puch paint? It’s your view, your piece of art, throw as many filters as you’d like, or be a purist and tag that pic #NoFilterNeeded.
People still love SHOW and TELL
Instagram has inspired companies to let us peek behind the corporate walls and SEE the people who are packing the shoes that we ordered, and we like a
brand a little more when we learn they have a cute dog that comes to work everyday, just like our cute little dog does. If you aren’t sure how Instagram fits into your marketing strategy, just start thinking SHOW and TELL. Show projects, people, customers, your desk…well, maybe not YOUR desk. Show your team learning, working and playing. Just SHOW US!
So as we light the 3 candles on the cake to say Happy Birthday to Instagram, we’d love to know what you have learned from snapping and sharing more photos with the world. If you have never ventured onto Instagram, what are you waiting for? Grab that camera and say CHEESE!