Instagram has become a social sensation for everyone from foodies wanting to display their latest gastronomic experiments to new mums eager to show off their little bundles of joy. But how does the photo sharing app translate as a social marketing tool? We’ve already discussed on this blog the vast potential Instagram offers brands to reach its 80 million–strong user base, particularly since its acquisition by Facebook in April.
What’s required is the creativity and the courage to develop and share content ideas that will engage rather than be ignored. Social Media Examiner ran an interesting piece on how to use Instagram for business, and here follows our pick of the best of the bunch:
1. Share the manufacturing process
Do you remember the children’s TV show Come Outside, or have you ever enjoyed the Science Channel’s How It’s Made? Although pitched at entirely different demographics, the longevity and popularity of both programmes is testament to our fascination with where the products we know and love actually come from. Social Media Examiner points to Indiana-based Oliver Winery, which used an app like PicStich or PhotoGrid to create collages of images revealing how they bottle their wines.
Any business that makes products can similarly illustrate the manufacturing journey with photos taken at different stages along the process.
2. Showcase your products in innovative ways
Don’t you sometimes wish that you could show your customers just how wonderful and versatile your products are? Rather than waiting for them to wander into your showroom or visit your website, try meeting them on Instagram with some photos that will get them excited without a sales pitch.
This technique can also work well for companies that are more service-based than product-oriented. It can be frustrating trying to convince prospects of how top-notch your service is, or relying on word of mouth from satisfied customers. Photos are an excellent medium to demonstrate the benefits your business offers. For example, a decorating or gardening business could use before and after pictures to show real-life examples of their work to convey that wow factor.
3. Take people on a journey
Your weekly schedule is packed with events, from trade shows to roundtables to corporate jollies. Don’t waste the opportunity to communicate what your company is involved with visually. Using Instagram, you can take your followers with you and in so doing, offer them an insight into how your business operates, networks, moves and shakes.
4. Add a human face to your brand
What is one of the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from the competition? Revealing the real people behind the scenes that make your brand what it is. We’re obviously not recommending a warts and all David Brent-style display, but a well-selected visual introduction to your best asset – your people.
Spotlight employees in different roles across the organisation, using punchy captions to describe who they are and what they do, or take snaps around the office to offer a day-in-the-life glimpse of activities in your office – the latter can also be useful for recruitment purposes. Be sure that the photos capture the spirit and personality of your brand rather than week-old mugs in the kitchen sink!
5. Tap into the zeitgeist
Even the least patriotic of people couldn’t fail to have been ignited by Brit fever this summer, as Britain, and London in particular, became the focal point of the entire globe for first the Golden Jubilee and then the Olympic Games. One marketing services agency tapped into our moment perfectly, live posting an Instagram pic of the Olympic torch going past its offices.
Remember that you can use hashtags to tag photos on Instagram, so monitor news and current trends to see what people are interested in and find creative ways to share images on those topics, always weaving in relevance to your company and what it stands for.
This is just a handful of ways to incorporate Instagram into a social media marketing strategy. Has your business found the resources to use Instagram yet – and if so – what response have you experienced to date?