Utilizing Social Media in Business Part II: Instagram
As Instagram and other social media websites become more and more popular, companies of all sizes have started to rely on them in order to increase brand awareness and connect with current and future consumers. While fairly new, Instagram has quickly grown (there are currently over 300 million users), and the site provides users with unique marketing capabilities. Users are able to share both images and videos, and Instagram includes features that let you link your content to other sites including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Tumblr. The program has created a filter system that allows users to adjust the contrast, hue and color of a photo, which provides users with a realm of creative opportunities. Instagram is a great way to connect with current and potential customers on a more personal level, as you can illustrate a “human” side of your company as well as your great products and services. Below are a few suggestions for incorporating Instagram into your marketing strategy:
As with any social media site, you’ll need to create an account first. Make sure your account name matches the tone of your brand, website and other social media accounts. Next, you’ll need to connect your Instagram account with your other social media accounts (including Facebook and Twitter). This allows you to post to multiple sites simultaneously, which adds a convenient level of efficiency. In addition, add a link to your website or blog, so users will know that you’re on Instagram and can follow you with ease.
- Illustrate your products. Everyone loves to browse, and Instagram is a great way to provide consumers with an opportunity to do some virtual window-shopping. You can showcase your collections; share photos of newer or lesser-known products; or highlight one product in particular. By creating unique and creative photos (using Instagram’s various filters), you can catch consumers’ attention and engage them further.
- Go “behind the scenes” at your company. People are often interested in what they can’t see and by showing users what goes on, they gain an understanding of the hard work and dedication that goes into your products. By illustrating how your products are created, users will feel as though they are a part of the process (meaning you’ll gain loyal, committed customers).
- Highlight what your products and/or services can do. You can use Instagram to create more demand for your products and services by illustrating new uses. Additionally, this is the perfect opportunity to ask users to contribute their own content. You can have users submit their own photos and videos, demonstrating a creative use of your product. You can also display before and after photos, illustrating the impact your company can make. Not only does this add a certain “wow” factor to your brand, you’ll gain new followers.
- Provide unique “sneak peeks”. Everyone likes to be the first to know, so you can take this opportunity to make your Instagram followers feel special by providing exclusive previews of products and services, and you can also include virtual tours of new stores or production facilities that people otherwise wouldn’t see.
- In addition to providing tours of your office, make sure you introduce your employees. Not only will your employees feel extra special, your followers will appreciate being able to “meet” the people creating the products and services they love. You can make this an ongoing campaign and introduce new people each month. Be sure to add some fun content about each employee in the caption.
- Take your followers with you. If you’re hosting an event or going to a conference or tradeshow, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring your followers along.
- Highlight celebrity sightings. Most people are interested in celebrities (actors, athletes, singers, etc.) to some extent, so if you can share pictures of them using your products or services or even visiting your offices, this will generate some additional “buzz” and will likely gain you more followers.
Bottom Line: Utilizing Instagram provides you with a unique opportunity to capitalize on creative images and videos that highlight not only your products and services, but provide a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of your employees and offices.