If you think Instagram is only for sharing photos of cute babies, average-looking food, and a selfie (or 12), think again. With the right strategy, the photo-sharing platform can work for your business. Here are six quick reasons your business should be using Instagram.
1. You can show your products in a new light (er, filter).
This is the most obvious reason to use Instagram. By sharing through a visual medium, you’ll give your current and potential customers a look at your products in a new way. Get creative. For example, if you’re a car dealership, share photos of your in-stock vehicles---exterior, interior, cool features, even pictures of the vehicles “in action.” As your inventory changes, so, too can the pictures you post. And don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer---Instagram makes it easy to have cool images with just a push of a button.
2. Your audience already likes---and loves---Instagram.
Instagram is on track to pass Twitter users later this year, making it one of Facebook’s best purchases ever. With 60 million new photos posted daily, and 58 percent of users checking for new content at least once a day, itâ€™d be a mistake to overlook Instagram as something that is just a trend.
3. You can give your customers behind-the-scenes access to your company.
Don’t limit your pictures to “showcases.” Let your followers get a glimpse of your team and your company’s culture through behind-the-scenes photos of the group of people who are bringing them awesome products (and content). Not sure who should post? Why not everyone? For example, once a week, you could pick a different employee to share a “day in the life” through the lens of his or her job. Don’t limit it only to work-related things---let your employees’ personalities shine, and give your customers a glimpse of just how awesome your team is.
4. Hashtag #engagement.
One of the hallmarks of Instagram is just how easy it is to connect with users through hashtags. A hashtag is the pound symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase with no spaces that users can tag photos with. Once a photo has a hashtag, it’s made into a link that shows you all of the images under that hashtag. Here’s an example: Chick-fil-A took a picture of a cup of sweet tea on a golf course and hash-tagged #masters in honor of the Masters Tournament. That’s pretty brilliant, huh? Now, whenever anyone clicks on any #masters tags (there are potentially millions of them!), they can see Chick-fil-A branding. And because Instagram is a free platform, this doesn’t cost you a thing.
5. Locations and user shout-outs bring your customers to you.
Another awesome thing about using Instagram for business? Your customers become your brand advocates through location and @user tags. Instagram lets you pinpoint user locations in images, so anytime you click on a location, you can see all of the users who have “insta-ed” there. Similarly, users can use the @ symbol to tag other users to connect to each other.
In the car dealership example above, consider what this could do for your business. If you asked your customer (who uses Instagram) if he or she could post a photo at your car dealership (using locations) and tag you in it, you could gain exposure from all of his or her followers. With that customers permission, you could regram (repost their picture from your account), too, and give the picture a creative hashtag unique to your dealership (or even the dealership name). Now imagine doing this with all of your customers. Sounds pretty awesome, right?!
6. You can get a business edge (for free!).
Here’s the “so, what?” to using Instagram for your business; it’s free, it's fun, and it’s also measurable. To find out if your Instagram marketing is actually driving leads, you can include a call-tracking number or a unique website in the “about” of your account or within image captions. That way, you’ll know it’s both fun and productive to market your company! Based on the analytics, you can choose to post more of the type of photo---product photos, maybe, or behind-the-scenes shots---that your followers seem to engage with. The possibilities are limited only by your creativity!
Tell us, how do you use Instagram for your business?