First things first. What is Instagram? Instagram is a social networking site which until recently (to be more precise until 2012) was yet another startup that allowed users to take photos, apply filters, and share among followers. Now this sounds quite similar to all social networking sites, however, what set Instagram apart was its innovate approach to photos and its amazing user base. That said, we know that every business is different, so obviously some industries will benefit more from Instagram than others. For instance, a clothing brand really needs to use the social network, where a business like HVAC may not benefit has highly.
Should you use Instagram for your business?
Popular Industries Using Instagram
Building a solid Instagram campaign can be very beneficial for your brand as these examples show. Some of the most popular industries using Instagram include
- Travel and Tourism
- Restaurant, Hospitality, Nightlife
- Health and Fitness
These types of industries provide images of their products and services to their followers to keep everyone up to date on trends and events. If a local pub is having a band play that week they may post an image of the event taking place. If a online clothing retailer has new t-shirts for summer, they will quickly post an image to Instagram to let others know new items are available.
Building an Audience
Now, just posting images to your account won’t build followers. Like any social networking site it’s all about engagement. Get people talking and asking questions. Comment on images others post about your industry, answer questions that arise, share your stories and experiences. This helps build a brand and engages people to talk with and about your company.
Make Use of Hastags
Utilizing hashtags can be an excellent way to find people posting about a certain niche, or to get people to your image. Lets take REI for instance, they have a number of hashtags people use when posting images, however lets look at #REI1440project. There are nearly a million posts on Instagram that use the #REI1440project, and only a handful are from the brand REI. This hashtag allows for any user to see who is posting images based on the hashtag. People will post hashtags like this to get their post in front of more people. People searching the hashtag will see the post, and if they are intrigued click on it and like it. Now this is a branded hashtag associated with a specific company. A competitor would not want to use a hashtag like this, but create their own. For small brands this can be difficult, yet rewarding after a follower base is developed.
You'll Need High Quality Images
High-quality images are a must on all social media campaigns, not just Instagram but you can't deny it's top importance here. Every thing is built around photos so take the time to take high-quality images to give your brand a professional look. People want to see something they have never seen before. Provide images of new products, awesome creations you have made, fun places you have been, cool ways the product is being used. The ultimate goal is to get someone to say, ‘whoa, that’s cool’, click like and share it with their friends. If they like what they see, they can quickly visit the website for more information.
Be different – Be Creative
Be original; this is another rule that applies to all social media: make the posts your own. As mentioned above people want to see something they haven’t before. Reposting images over and over won’t bring in any new engagement. Now reposting an image from a follower can be a great way to use customer’s experiences. If a customer tags your brand or uses a branded hashtag of yours, ask if you can use their image on your account. Post the image to the branded account, give mention to the original user, and watch new likes come in. People get excited when their content is used by the company they posted about.
Hold a Contest
If you have followers through email subscriptions or even other on other social media platforms share with them your latest contest. Create a hashtag you would like people to use and offer them a product or service. Does not have to be top of the line, or anything that will break the bank. Hell, it could be coupons, free shipping, or even stickers. Of course, the greater the prize the greater the participation. Have contestants post to their Instagram account, tag or hashtag your brand, and pick a winner after a given time.
Like any social media account it is important to be active. Post regularly, make comments, answer questions, engage others. Get people talking about the brand, show them the amazing products or services your brand offers. Instagram can be an excellent way to get people talking about your company, take the time to setup an account and start building a following.