Last Monday at Boot Camp Digital, we hosted a lunch & learn on Visual Social Marketing. The class was focused on Instagram, Infographics, and Images in social media. (It’s now available online if you want to check it out).
Last week I gave a recap of the infographics section of the class by sharing 5 ways to create an awesome infographic. This week, I want to talk to you guys about Instagram, and some ways you can use it for your business, no matter how big or small your company is.
So, a few facts about Instagram…
- It now has over 100 MILLION users
- It was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion!
- Some of the top brands that use it are MTV, Starbucks, Nike, Audi, and McDonald’s
What exactly is Instagram?
Instagram is a stand-alone social network that allows you to take beautiful images from your smart phone. You can instantly share your photos on Facebook, Twitter, your Instagram account, and more. Check out the photo above – I took a regular picture of some people in our Instagram class with my iPhone, but it looks so much cooler with the Instagram filter I used! Like other social networks, people can find you and follow you, comment on your pictures, like pictures, and more. It’s just one more way to engage with your consumers in an easy and beneficial way. How can your business use it? Easy.
#1: Create an Account for Your Business & Start Engaging
It sounds like a pretty obvious step, right? Well, although it’s easy, most people are timid when it comes to starting on a new social network. But all you have to do is register your account and start sharing content that is interesting to your consumers! The reason that marketing your business or brand on Instagram is easier than Facebook or Twitter is because it’s not hard to share information and get people to listen to you. Since Instagram is all visual, there’s a much higher chance of your audience listening to you – photos are liked twice as often as text on social networks. If you’re in retail, take pictures of new holiday items you are getting shipped in, and if you’re a restaurant, upload a cool-looking photo of one of your newest dishes! Then share the pics elsewhere too – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, your blog, etc. It’s so simple that it’s unbelievable more people aren’t taking advantage!
#2: Use a hashtag for your business
For those of you do don’t know what a Hashtag is, it is a way to track images and ideas, and it’s represented by the # symbol. So if you own a bakery and you’re posting a photo on Instagram of some Halloween cookies, you could put a hashtag in the caption such as #Halloween, #HalloweenCookies, or #HalloweenTreats. Anyone searching Instagram for those types of things will be directed to your business page on Instagram. It’s an easy way to draw in people who are interested in your product. You can also encourage employees and customers to use a certain hashtag for your business. Either use your business name or, if that’s too common, perhaps use your business name combined with one of your products, and have people upload photos of your products or services with that hashtag. You’re basically getting people to do your marketing for free!
#3: Have an Image Strategy
Instagram as its own stand-alone network is great, and it’s important to have a strong presence there. But once you’ve really got it going well, you have to have a strategy for spreading your photos to other networks. Try creating a routine – once you have posted a photo to Instagram and have a good hashtag going around, post the same photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and your blog. Encourage fans and employees to share the photos and take some of their own, using your hashtag. You can even add some incentive – host an Instagram photo contest where fans take a photo of your product, give a prize away to the best picture!
Instagram can seem overwhelming, but it’s not. You just have to complete the first step – creating an account. After that, the work is effortless, and even fun! And the results your business gets will make everything worth it!