I’ve just been reading about a woman who takes 300 ‘selfies’ (self-portraits) per day, from which she chooses the best three to upload to Instagram. Which poses the question: where on earth does she find the time? Or the inclination?
Now perhaps as an individual this obsession for social media has passed you by. Indeed, maybe you consider this current preoccupation with navel-gazing a tad too self-obsessive and time-consuming – that’s fair enough. But as a business owner, can you really afford to let your competitors gain a winning edge by opting out altogether?
But as marketers, it’s clear to us that social media as a concept is here to stay rather than some passing fad. It’s a fact: anyone who is anyone in the world of business embraces some form of social media marketing these days – it’s not just for the big name brands.
So why Instagram?
With 130 million monthly active users to date, Instagram is predicted by social media experts to be the next big thing and because businesses have been flocking to the platform in droves, Instagram has set up a dedicated blog to help businesses like yours get started.
The Instagram signing-up process is simplicity itself – the problem for so many business owners is what to do next.
Here are 10 Proven Ideas to help you Market your Business with Instagram:
1) For inspiration (and to view some breathtakingly beautiful photos) check out the Instagram blog – it’s a great place to begin mapping out your engagement strategy.
2) Unlike with Twitter or Facebook, you don’t need to post too often with Instagram – doing so could fill up your followers’ feeds and overwhelm them, so it pays to be selective. Anyway you will want to design a schedule to can stick to, rather than something which becomes unmanageable once the novelty wears off.
3) Make your photos relevant to your brand and brand story – but remember – you are on Instagram to engage and entertain – not to sell. “Fun” ideas go down well and are eminently sharable.
4) There are a host of amazing apps you can use to enhance the experience for your visitors including allowing them to print images, search keywords and tags, subscribe to Instagram profiles via email and archive images into specific folders – plus plenty more!
5) Make a video – Instagram’s 15 seconds is preferable to Vine’s 6.5 seconds, right? Video is a proven way to impart your brand story, develop your following and create a fan base of loyal customers. Don’t forget to embed your videos onto your website or blog to increase your customer “reach”.
6) Reward your fans with exclusive offerings, discounts and promotions and ask them to recommend their friends in return for something of value.
7) Use Instagram’s filters to enhance your images. In their recent survey, marketing company Simply Measured found that:
- 14 % of brands’ filtered photos used “Lo-fi”
- 12 % used “Valencia”,
- 11% used “Amaro”
- 9% used “Hudson”
- 8% used “X-Pro ll”
- 7% used “Hefe”
While “Lo-fi” is clearly the filter of choice for many brands, it pays to experiment and discover what best suits your style and branding.
8) Employ the popularity of Facebook advertising (818 million active monthly users) to draw attention to your Instagram campaign.
9) Use a tool like “Statigram” to find other like-minded companies and brands to connect with. Who knows? It could lead to a mutually profitable relationship through joint ventures, or publicising one another’s products to each party’s mailing list.
10) Advertise up-coming events and product launches – give your followers a sneak peek of what they can expect and give them a reason to keep connecting with you.
And finally . . .
When they carried out their survey earlier this year, Simply Measured found that 59% of big brands were active on Instagram.
Well that’s good enough for me – how about you.
With 59% of “big brands” actively engaging more fans on Instagram isn’t it about time your brand joined them?
Author works for UK marketing company Jenkinson & Associates Ltd providing marketing services to business owners and directors looking to increase sales and profits.