Instagram for Business — Picture-Perfect Marketing

November 9, 2015

instagram-logo-largeFor businesses hoping to develop a productive and profitable social media strategy, it might be all too easy to dismiss Instagram, the mobile image sharing network, as a folly. Instagram is, after all, home to the ubiquitous selfie, hot-dog legs and countless Kardashians. What possible benefit could come from engaging such a channel?

What if we told you that Instagram is currently the world’s fastest-growing social media network and can boast of having 400 million active users? That’s 100 million more than Twitter. Can you afford to ignore such an opportunity?

At iContact, we believe that with the adoption of a few best practices, Instagram can become a viable and engaging platform for many businesses to help build their brand and reputation and ultimately sell more. And while some businesses, particularly those with visual appeal (including those in the fashion, food, travel and entertainment industries), will find Instagram an instant fit, there remain a number of opportunities available to organizations in any vertical.

7 Tips for Finding Success on Instagram

  1. Your Content Must Have a Purpose: Don’t just post images because you think they look nice. Your content must have a purpose. Is it showcasing a new product or highlighting a really positive aspect of your business culture? Remember, as with all other social media channels, if you have nothing to say, sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all.
  2. Record Everything: Get into the habit of taking photos of everything you do. While you won’t want to share everything you snap, you’ll stand less risk of missing out on great opportunities if you capture more. You already carry a camera with you everywhere (on your smartphone), so put it to good use.
  3. Get a Little Closer: Highlight the little things that make your products, services or general operation stand out. Focus on the quality of build, cool design aspects or interesting individuals within your organization. Sometimes an extreme close-up can reveal a lot more than a more general shot.
  4. Think Beyond Your Products: Instagram is a great mechanism for sharing insight into your organization. Images of employees, your workplace and the local environment can act as a great recruitment tool.
  5. Promote People: People buy from people they like. Always try to include people in your images to humanize your products or services. A recognizable face, perhaps a charismatic business leader or a well-known client, will go a long way toward making your offering more desirable. Showing someone from outside of your organization endorsing your product or service will add instant credibility to your brand.
  6. Tell Stories: Use your images to tell stories, highlight successes and map the route your clients/employees/colleagues have chosen to follow. A simple before-and-after shot is a great example of demonstrating the value of your product or service.
  7. Build Your Following: There is little point in sharing tons of content if nobody sees it. Take the time to build your following by promoting your brand via your blog, sharing your content via other social media sites, and following and engaging with other like-minded individuals on the network.

Remember: Instagram will only drive success if it is operated as part of a cohesive marketing strategy (nothing works in a vacuum). To this end, you should use Instagram (and any other social media channel) to keep your prospects and clients engaged with your brand. Social media will not replace the need for a well-designed website, a regularly updated blog and a targeted email marketing strategy (this will drive revenue). Put all four of these items together, and you’ll find, with the addition of hard work and planning, success comes more easily.

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

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