More and more businesses are jumping on Instagram as the number of smartphones on the market increases and consumers begin Instagramming their own lives. There are over 100 million people on Instagram, and there is a good chance many of them are your clients or customers.

This relatively young social media channel needs to be in your marketing toolbox. Instagram is a mobile-based platform with a different concept from that of Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Instagram has a visual appeal that other platforms don’t—rather than pictures from articles (like Pinterest), Intstagram is dedicated to just pictures, and now short videos. They are typically pictures of your life or photos from companies, as opposed to Pinterest, which collects images from all over the internet and links them to web pages. Instagram can help you continue to build your brand, your expertise in your field, and let your followers get behind the scenes, creating a more intimate bond with your company.

Before you even open an account for your company on Instagram, there are a few things you should know. Simply jumping on the Instagram bandwagon to snap photos and slap them on with some hashtags won’t do. You should:

  • Look at who your target audience is and what exactly they want to see.
  • Determine what the best marketing strategy is for engagement.
  • Decide what types of content will inspire people to talk about your business and your photos.
  • State your goals and objectives.
  • Have clear methods in place for measuring the success of your campaign.

Here are some tips that can help you get started on the road to Instagram stardom. Okay, maybe not stardom, but they’ll help you formulate and implement an effective marketing strategy by incorporating Instagram into the mix.

1. Cultivate a Following

Follow industry trendsetters, other companies, and potential clients. Follow your followers back and interact with them by liking and commenting on their pictures. As with any social channel, engagement is the key to success. People are more likely to like your photos if you’re liking theirs. Another good practice is to get your employees on Instagram to like and comment, too.

2. Balance fun pictures with business pictures

Your photos should show your business, promote your blog, etc., but they should also show that you are human. Pictures of employees, coworker lunches, and fun times in the office are essential. And there’s nothing wrong with a cute picture of a cat to start off a workweek (when is there ever anything wrong with pictures of cats?).

3. Create the occasional video

Take advantage of the video feature that Instagram recently added (most likely an effort to counter the Vine revolution but still worth using). There are a lot of cool things that can be done with it, from promotions to videos of events. To see how other businesses have used it, check out this  one by Bonobos  and the Party Dunking from Oreo.

4. Use Trends (Hashtags, mentions, etc.)

As with all social media, you should be following Instagram trends:#throwbackthursday and other hashtags, mentions and comments, videos, and more. Be sure to keep up with sites like the Social Media Examiner to get the latest news about social media.

5. Businesses Doing Instagram Right

Here’s a list of some businesses that are using Instagram to their advantage. Keeping track of your competitors and other businesses is a great way to get ideas about what would work for you and your business! As with any marketing tactic, benchmarking against competitors can be highly effective.

Sharpie

Instagram1

Bonobos

Instagram2

Oreo

Instagram3

Redbull

Instagram4


Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki
– Digital Media Coordinator

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