Whether you’re a business that’s just starting out or a well-established brand releasing a new product, having an active social media presence is vital for today’s market. Recognizing the importance of social media and having an executable social media plan is necessary in order to have a successful social media campaign/presence. Simply having an account that’s there but is idle most of the time is not enough. Here are seven ways your brand or product can effectively use Instagram.
Determine whether or not your type of business is visual: Instagram is all about visuals and telling a story through images. If you think your brand or product is not at all associated with images, keep brainstorming and get creative. We once saw a car wash company like every image that had the hashtag #haboob during one of Arizona’s severe dust storms last summer (by the way, A haboob (Arabic: هَبوب “blasting/drafting”) is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs occur regularly in arid regions throughout the world. Wikipedia). They also posted before and after pictures of dust-covered cars coming out squeaky clean after the wash. Although, sometimes you must come to terms with the fact that your business is not (or should not) be visual and that Instagram may not be the right outlet. For example, if you own a funeral home, it would be fairly inappropriate to have an Instagram account to promote your services.
#Hashtag: Using relevant hashtags in the caption of your photo helps to spread your message even further. It enables your product to become visible to a much larger audience beyond just your followers. We have to note that the keyword there is ‘relevant.’ Viewers/Followers will know you’re spamming them if you use too many hashtags and irrelevant hashtags. It would be in poor taste to post a photo of your restaurant’s new dish (yes, pun intended) using hashtags about a recent tragic event. Make sure they are targeted to your specific audience.
Photo Contests: Creating a photo contest on Instagram is the perfect way to engage your followers and potential customers. Make sure the prize is relevant and will entice your audience. Create a hashtag specific to your brand’s contest, for example #’X’companyPhotoContest, and remember to engage with your followers who entered the contest. A good way to do this is to post their image on your brand’s Instagram account and mention them in the caption. You can also comment on their photo thanking them for the entry and wishing them good luck. People love contests and they love to be rewarded – it’s important to show your customers you love them!
Follow me, Follow you: The title of this is fairly self-defining. When you get a follower, follow him/her back. Be cautious, however. Don’t bother following back the spam accounts that promise you thousands of followers within minutes. Similar to our previous post about effectively gaining followers on Twitter, you want quality followers who will be genuinely interested in your story and your product or brand.
Be creative and fun: Instagram is a great tool for a business’ marketing campaign, but for the public, it’s a fun outlet used during downtime. If you appear too serious and dull, you won’t engage your followers. You can post fun photos of your employees at a company function (just make sure they’re sober and you have their consent, of course) or of a typical day in the office. This gives your business personality and makes the customers see that there’s real people and real life behind the scenes.
Sneak-peeks: If you’re designing a new product, take a short video or a photo associated with the product and post it as a teaser for your customers. If your Spring 2014 Fashion Line includes pieces that all incorporate a specific fabric, give your audience of hint of what’s to come by uploading a photo of that fabric.
Stay tuned for next Tuesday when we cover how to get the most out of Pinterest for your brand or business.