Instagram is not just a social media channel for funny photos, and OMG moments; though it does contain a fair few of those. It has over 100 million users, and given its recent purchase by facebook, the growth of Intagram is not going to slow any time soon. In fact, the Instagram could now be worth an estimated $35 billion. Maybe it’s about time you start to take it seriously as a way to promote your business?
For those who are still in the dark about what exactly Instagram is, it is a photo and video based mobile social media platform. Users connect with each other by sharing photographs or short video clips of their lives or business. Like all major social media channels, Intagram should be a part of your marketing strategy, and can seriously improve your brand awareness and customer engagement.
Here are 7 ways that you can make it happen:
Showcase Your Products
The most obvious way to use Instagram to promote your business, is to showcase your product range in photo form. A picture says a thousand words, and in this case it could also sell a thousand products. For example, think how many mouths would drool if you shared a pic of your freshly baked cookies.
Share some of your more unique and unknown products, introduce a range, or get creative and take crazy angled shots, and then ask your audience to guess what product is in the picture.
For service-orientated companies, you could take pictures of the equipment that you use; the crucial cogs that make your service run smoothly. For example, if you run a hotel, show off pictures of the rooms; just make sure you have made the beds.
Show How The Product Is Made
In the world of social media, audience engagement is key, and it is no longer good enough to flash a picture of a company logo in someone’s face and ask them to respond. People like to feel that they are involved in your business, and like they understand the process behind their product. Give the people what they want, and take snapshots of the whole process behind the end result.
To roll with the cookies example, show the dough, and then the dough about to be put in the oven, and then the steamy hot oven during cooking, and then the cookies coming out, and being placed on the shelf. This technique is brilliant for customer engagement, and it also brings people closer to your business. After all, it is easier to trust something that you seen being made.
Show Your Products In Action
The final piece of the pie when it comes to displaying your products on Instagram, is to display them being used, or being eaten as the case may be. Show someone having a great time with your toys, or living a great life in the houses that you design. Ask your followers to send in pictures of themselves using your products. If you are in the clothes industry, ask people to send in shots of the wearing your clothes in different places, or near famous landmarks.
The natural progression of the previous point should lead you to another great way to use Instagram to promote your business; competitions. Use similar audience engagement posts as mentioned above, but offer a price as an incentive. This should pull in the crowds, get people talking, and create a bit of a buzz around your brand. Offer a decent prize; it will pay for itself many times over when your social media engagement explodes! Of course, the prize should also be something from your own product range or services.
Behind The Scenes
As well as sharing everything about your products on Instagram, why not share everything else too. It is not only a product and a manufacturing process that make a business; it is also the people behind it for a start. Send photos of staff hard or work, or staff kicking back in the office as the case might be. Share a video tour of your work environment, such as your offices or studio. The more glamorous your industry, the more viral these posts will likely be, but in any case it can never hurt to get behind the scenes with your audience.
Reward Your Followers
A good social media campaign is not a static and passive act of sharing the odd photo. You need to properly engage your followers; follow them back, answer their comments and questions, and most of all reward them. Give them something that they won’t find anywhere else; an exclusive sneak preview of a new product or service for example, competitions, giveaways, and a chance to have an input on your business.
Don’t Be Afraid To Mix Business With Pleasure
Social media platforms like Instagram, effectively destroy the barriers that might once have existed between business and consumer. Ordinary folk come up close and personal with big brands, and intimate with small companies. It is a whole new paradigm. As a result people do not only want to see information that relates directly to the sale of your product; they also want to know the human behind the business. They want to feel the emotion. Do not be afraid to share something funny that you found on the internet, a cute picture of a dog, an epic moment from your life, or even some personal thoughts and feelings about something completely unrelated. The human touch is really important.