With its recent launch on Android last year, Instagram has seen a steadily growing popularity as a social network. It is an easy way for fans to engage with their favorite celebrities and brands in addition to their own friends and followers. Data from Instagram's press page shows that there are 1,000 comments and 8,500 likes every second and its 100 million monthly users are posting 40 million new pictures every day.
As a business, including Instagram among your social networking cache can be a huge boost in forming bonds between your brand and your fans. You can use it as a platform to introduce new products and promote your existing ones to your target audience.
There are several ways that you can use Instagram to help market your business in order to grow loyalty from fans and gain more exposure for your brand:
If you want to see a quick spike in followers on Instagram, holding a contest is the way to do it. The key, though, to keeping those followers is to encourage engagement. You can offer a prize of one of your own products and ask followers to post a photo of their own marked with a unique hash tag or company name.
Create a contest and offer prizes that make sense for your business. You want to promote your own products and not someone else's. So, while you could definitely see a huge increase by offering an iPad as a prize, you will only be earning short-term followers.
If you are a custom jewelry designer, offer one of your pieces as the prize. For the contest, you can ask followers to post a picture of them wearing their favorite accessory. Remember, the goal is to build a strong fan base, not to just give away expensive gifts.
Something that has grown in popularity with Instagram is the “Photo-a-Day” Challenge. Many bloggers and businesses will create new lists and post them at the start of the month, encouraging followers to create new photos every day. You can easily find samples of these photos a day lists online to get some inspiration. You can also tie a contest in with these challenges to gain even more exposure for your brand.
Twitter has long-used the hashtag to make it easy for users to find tweets that refer to a specific topic. Instagram uses hashtags in much the same way. They make it easy for users to enter contests and for businesses to locate those entries. Find hash tags that fit with your business and any contests. You can find a list of the most current popular hashtags with sites like Top-hashtags.com.
When you set up your Instagram account, it is a good idea to link up your other social networks to it as well. For instance, linking to your Facebook account and Twitter will allow your photos to be posted to those accounts automatically. This means increased exposure and higher user engagement.
Instagram gives businesses a simple way to personalize their brand. It gives users an inside look at their favorite brands and celebrities. In addition to photos of your products, use this platform as a way to give your followers an inside look into how you operate. If your small business is in your home office, share pictures that shows your workspace, your cat included. If you are a larger business with a brick-and-mortar location, shoot a few pictures of your employees at work. Give your followers an inside perspective of how your business runs and you will create more of a bond.
Has your business been using Instagram to grow a strong following? What are some of the ways that you use the social network?