Instagram is a social media app where users can share moments of their life in a fun and creative way through a series of pictures or short videos. Each photograph or video snapped on your mobile phone can be edited with a filter and captioned to keep forever and share with friends and family.
Instagram has become one of the most successful applications in the market with over 150 million users and over 16 billion photos shared.
Businesses have the opportunity to take advantage of the global user base and the consumer enthusiasm for Instagram. There are numerous ways to engage customers and improve customer relations with the app. Below are our five top tips on how you can get the most out of the platform and the reasons why you need to be on it.
1. Utilise Instagram for Business
A great place to start is by checking out the official Instagram for Business Blog. The blog was created to help companies learn the ins and outs of Instagram and offers tips, brand spotlights, API examples, and news. It is a great way to see examples of how other companies are using Instagram the right way and stay up to date with the newest additions or features.
2. Cultivate a Following
There are many ways to gain a following on Instagram, but there are a few tactics that are the most important.
For example: #TBT is an extremely popular hashtag and stands for Throwback Thursday. People all over Instagram post pictures of memories with the hashtag #TBT. Companies have been taking advantage of the hashtag and #TBT-ing a past event or older model products.
Be sure to use relevant, popular hashtags and hashtags you use on other social media platforms for a cohesive message.
Engage your users by following others, including those you already follow on other social media platforms, as well as liking and commenting on posts. Also be sure to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook and Twitter account for cross channel promotion.
3. Leverage Photo Contests on Instagram with Facebook
A photo contest is a strong marketing strategy that can get users everywhere involved in the conversation. Submissions are organized with hashtags and an RSS feed to follow all new photos they add. It is essential to promote the contest on Facebook and other social media platforms for continuity.
Who is doing it right?
This boutique hostel located in Swiss Cottage, London is successfully using Instagram to engage their guests. They have created an Instagram contest that invites their visitors to take pictures of the sightseeing they do over the course of their stay.
Each guest receives a checklist of different popular websites in London. If they post to Instagram and mention @palmerslodgehostels and hashtag #PalmersTreasureHunt all of the websites on the treasure list they win a free breakfast at the hostel. The contest has the potential to be extremely successful as it engages the guests on a platform they are comfortable with and will make them want to include @palmerslodgehostels in their holiday plans in London.
4. Optimise Your Profile
Instagram profiles, just like Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc. include brand information in very specific ways. This includes the amount of characters, where logos are placed, etc.
Gerry Morman created a blueprint infographic to explain how to optimise a company profile. The more optimised a profile is the more attractive users will be to it and will engage with it.
Some of Gerry Moran’s tips include:
- Use your company logo as your profile picture.
- Choose an Instagram username that is the same as your company name and your Twitter handle.
- Always be sure to include your company website URL or the company Facebook URL.
- Engage your customers by tagging your customers in your photos.
5. Analyse your Company
Find out how your brand is doing on Instagram as you would for other social media platforms by tracking your success and failure.
Analytics tools such as Blitzmetrics and Curalate can provide detailed reports of how you are doing. It is important to understand if your company is using Instagram well because if not the platform can hinder your brand rather than help it.
7 For All Mankind, the denim brand, leveraged Curalate by finding their most popular Instagram posts among its followers and used those pictures in their most successful Facebook ad campaign to date.
Instagram has proven itself as a social media platform that consumers love and will continue to use. Businesses should take advantage of the platform to enhance their customers’ experience and relationship with their brand, as well as their company visibility.
How does your company use Instagram? Tell us in the comment section below. And if you need advice or consultation about how you can use Instagram, we would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your exact requirements or to help you with any other social media marketing requirements.
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