You read the title of this post and thought… Instagram? For business? With a contorted expression on your face, right? Yes, Instagram for business! The wildly popular mobile photo sharing app that once was just a method personal visual storytelling is now a very powerful business marketing tool. With its seamless integration with other social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr, and the fact that there are 80 million users (and counting), incorporating Instagram into your marketing strategy can be an amazing way to connect with current and potential customers.
Why? Well, sorry to be a bit cliche, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine what a lot of pictures can say about you and and your products or services. Instagram provides an exciting, creative, and candid way for you show off your wares that goes above and beyond what you’ve got on your website. Instagram recently added video to their interface so now users can post a 15 second motion picture to their feeds. A thousand words just got amped up!
Go Beyond the Product Shot:
It is highly recommended that you share photos of your products on Instagram, especially when you’re introducing a new line or having a sale. But don’t just post a product picture from your website, get creative with the shot and the caption that goes with it. If its a new product, show just a portion of it or maybe just one ingredient with a teaser caption encouraging followers to “stay tuned” for what’s to come.
Give a Backstage Pass:
This is one of the best ways to use Instagram for marketing. People often feel personally “connected” to products and brands. What better way to deepen that connection than by giving them “insider” access. Snap shots behind the scenes of where the “magic” happens. Show products in production. If you are a clothing designer, show a cool shot of the sewing machine that put your latest creation together. If you make organic spaghetti sauce, take some pictures of the garden where your tomatoes grow. This not only gives your followers and fans a sneak peek into how their favorite items come to life, but it showcases… even amplifies your company’s philosophy and authenticity about the products you produce.
Offer Exclusive Content:
Instagram has a generous character allowance so there is opportunity so say a lot with your pictures, not to mention the option to post a short video clip. Chefs, bartenders, or baristas can share the recipe for that scrumptious looking dish or drink. Fitness gurus can give step by step exercise instructions or show before/after photos of satisfied clients. This is another way to go beyond your regular website or blog content (and a way to increase your following on Instagram). Offer content people can’t get anywhere else. With that, be sure to add “follow us on Instagram” to your website.
Let Them Get to Know You:
In addition to giving people a backstage pass to how things work, let them know who is doing the work too. Some of the greatest business Instagram photos are of the employees getting the job done. It shows the human side and helps us see the “who” behind the “how” of your business. Instagram also allows users to literally follow where you go… to trade shows and other industry events, when you make appearances in magazines or television talk shows, or when you happen to capture a celebrity using your product.
Let Them Join In On All The Fun:
Because Instagram works like most social media platforms, you can mention or tag users and incorporate hashtags to follow the conversations. Encourage your adoring fans to tag you or use campaign-specific hashtags when snapping shots of your products in use. Most social media/Instagram savvy users will do this automatically so tracking your brand’s hashtag can expose you to a whole new set of potentially loyal customers. Acknowledgement can be key to furthering relationships, so when you can, respond posts that mention you. Hashtags can also be used for contests and specific product promotion.
As mentioned before, Instagram integrates with multiple social media platforms so sharing your photos and videos is ridiculously simple. Instagram has also incorporated a web interface so profiles and photos/videos can be seen on desktops as well as mobile devices and links can be shared from there as well.
Instagram gives you the opportunity to make your business go visually viral. Are you on Instagram? Let us know how it’s working for you!