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Rethinking How You Use Instagram for Marketing

Instagram has recently undergone a few changes. For example, Instagram pictures no longer show up in Twitter feeds, forcing people to click a link to see Instagram photos. Instagram was also acquired by Facebook, sparking speculation that more big changes could be in the photo sharing website’s future.

These changes have caused some to question whether people will still use the service and how businesses can continue to integrate the platform into their digital marketing strategies. Regardless of these changes, Instagram remains a popular site that attracts young, artsy and creative people.

The Power of a Photo

Pictures can be an incredibly powerful way of promoting your brand. They can show off products and how they are being used. Pictures are also able to send a strong message in a very short amount of time. In a day when people are inundated with marketing materials and the written word, a picture can be refreshing, grab someone’s attention and send a message without much effort on the part of the viewer.

Find Your Instagram Voice

To leverage Instagram, your brand needs to take advantage of the fact that the channel is almost purely a photo-sharing site. Users can add captions and comment on photos but can’t add status updates or any other kind of content like links or videos.

Think Visual

Knowing how Instagram works and what kind of people use it, your brand needs to find visual ways to speak to its audiences. Of course, there is the obvious strategy of sharing pictures of your company’s products, events, locations and employees. But, if you get creative, your can use the site for much more than this. Think contests, discounts or customer spotlights.

Involve Your Audience

For example, try hosting a photo contest or starting a fad where your customers just can’t resist sharing an Instagram photo of themselves wearing your company swag. You can also use Instagram to ask questions and listen for feedback. For example, post a picture of your new store layout and ask followers what they think. Or share a picture of one of your products and ask for ways it could be improved.

Nike uses Instagram to show off products and share pictures of athletes using the company's gear. Image source

Nike uses Instagram to show off products and share pictures of athletes using the company’s gear. Image source

Let Your Personality Shine

Instagram is for the creative. It allows users to take pictures from new angles or to add new filters to them, giving an artsy look to otherwise ordinary scenes. Use these tools to let your personality shine, adding some personality to your brand. Let your photos speak for themselves by carrying your brand. If you are a classy, elite brand, share photos with that feeling. On the other hand, if you are trying to bring a more fun, relaxed feel to your company, some funky photos with fun captions could help you get there.

Don’t Be too Serious

Of course, your Instagram posts should be part of a larger plan and a call to action. However, Instagram is a casual social media site. Even if your company isn’t necessarily going for the funky image, you can find ways to tone down what may seem stuffy to an Instagram audience. Be personable and transparent, and your brand’s message will still carry through as you match the tone of the social site.

Instagram will likely continue to attract and thrill users who enjoy taking and sharing creative photos with their phones. Your brand should find ways to visually speak to your market and leverage Instagram’s large audience by involving your followers and letting your personality show through.

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