Facebook may have over a billion users, but the social network giant isn’t the only place you should be using to promote your business. Ask any young teenager what the best social network is, and the answer won’t be Facebook, Pinterest or even Twitter. They’ll tell you it’s Instagram.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social network that debuted in 2010. Two years later it was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion. Using any smartphone or tablet device, one can use the free app to take photos, make minor edits, apply a filter and share with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and FourSquare.
While hashtags have been met with a disappointing lack of response on Facebook, they feel right at home on Instagram, where users actively tag their own photos and discover new photos by surfing the tags. Instagram not only allows for photos, but for 15 second video clips as well.
While it’s nowhere near Facebook’s billion, Instagram still has a sizeable audience with over 150 million monthly active users. What’s more, 70 percent of these users use the app every single day. These users are actively posting new photos, liking others’ photos and leaving comments. Furthermore, despite the lack of advertising – at least at the moment – brands do surprisingly well on the network.
Even though 59 percent of the top brands are already on Instagram, you’re not too late. Keep reading for four simple suggestions sure to grow your following in no time.
Invest in Better Photography
Instagram thrives on beautiful imagery. Take one quick look at the Explore tab and you’ll understand what I mean. Bright colors and nice compositions pop. If you don’t have someone on staff who is particularly handy with a camera, but you’re serious about your Instagram presence, it may pay to either bring in someone who has those talents or brush up on your filter and photography skills.
Show, Don’t Sell
Instagram is not a place to hawk your wares – unless you’re into selling your clothes second hand. Trying to push your followers to buy is only going to scare them away. Instead, show off the great things about your business or products.
Starbucks does a great job showing off their goods without making a hard sell, and they have a huge fan base to show for it – over 2 million followers. General Electric, the biggest manufacturing company in the United States, takes a different approach. Among their photographs, you will find illustrations of groundbreaking technology and brilliant examples of clean energy in action. Regardless of whether you’re in the travel industry or you’re marketing a team of physiatry recruiters, find a theme that will resonate with your audience.
Engage and Interact
What’s the point of a social network if there’s no socialization? Your fans are ready and willing to interact with you – but if you don’t respond, they’ll move on to someone else who will. Encourage your fans to engage with your brand using a hashtag – Starbucks instructs their fans, “Tag your coffee photos with #Starbucks!” – or by creating an Instagram contest.
Bring it Home with Hashtags
Speaking of hashtags, don’t forget to always use them. It pays to do some hashtag research – what are the most popular Instagram hashtags? What can you do to relate those to your business? Unlike Twitter, it’s not unusual to see half a dozen hashtags in a single post, but don’t use too many, or you risk coming off like a spammer.
If you incorporate these strategies into your Instagram marketing, you are sure to succeed. Do you have any other advice or experiences you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!
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