Have you considered how technology today provides mechanisms for business to communicate directly with constituents? We’ve witnessed a shift from mass communication and broad advertising to targeted communication with specific key audiences. Read more
Category Archives: internet
In the world of inbound marketing, your content is your business and your calling card. Your effectiveness as an inbound marketer relies on the quality of your content, and your content is what helps you get found online, build trust with your readers, educate and inform them, build a pathway to conversions, and sustain ongoing and profitable relationships with loyal customers for years to come. Read more
Having trouble engaging your Facebook audience? If your fans are not interacting with your brand and sharing your content, what value are they?
In this article, you’ll discover how to get more likes, comments and shares. I’ll reveal five strategies for Facebook posts that get your fans buzzing. Read more
Are you thinking about putting your business on Instagram? Are you looking for content ideas for this increasingly popular mobile social platform?
Read further to discover how you can use Instagram to give your business extra visibility and better engage with the Instagram community.
What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app with 80 million users and counting. It has seen many changes lately. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012, launched a redesign on iOS that includes a new “Explore” tab and is rumored to be developing a web presence (so that users can see photos online, not just on the mobile app).
Social media management platform HootSuite also recently announced the addition of Instagram to its app directory. This gives HootSuite users access to almost all of Instagram’s features, which include searching, viewing and liking content, adding comments and sharing photos to other social platforms.
Clearly, Instagram is an up-and-coming photo-focused social platform not to be ignored. So what can your brand do with it? Here are 10 creative ways your business can use Instagram.
#1: Show Your Products
Everyone loves to browse products, so let your followers do some mobile window-shopping! Show off a collection of the products you offer, share a photo of a new or lesser-known product or zoom in on a product and engage your Instagram followers by asking them to guess what it is.
Got a service-oriented business? Show off some of the equipment and supplies that play a role in the services you provide. For example, fitness trainers could show off their favorite workout equipment, photographers could reveal their most prized camera lens and mechanics might give us a look at their most sophisticated diagnostic equipment.
Rogue Ales, a craft brewery based in Newport, Oregon with over 3,000 Instagram followers, shared a photo of its many varieties of ales, porters, lagers, stouts and spirits, effectively reminding fans that they have something for everyone.
#2: Show How It’s Made
The longevity of the show How It’s Made is a testament to our curiosity about where our manufactured goods come from. Let followers in on the origins of their favorite products with snapshots taken at various points in the manufacturing process. If that process is a long one, you might consider making it a multi-part post that follows the process from planning to production to delivery.
Bloomington, Indiana-based Oliver Winery used another app such as PicStitch or PhotoGrid to create a collage of photos to demonstrate how its wine goes into its bottles.
#3: Go Behind the Scenes
Getting ready to launch or promote products and services is hard work, but presents many opportunities to get some great content for Instagram. Doing a photo shoot for a catalog or ad? Filming a commercial? Getting made-up for a media interview? Or getting ready to step out on the red carpet? These are moments that very few people get to experience in real life. Think of Instagram as a way to give all of your followers an exclusive backstage pass!
The fashion-forward retailer Nordstrom treated its 27K Instagram followers to a rare look at what goes into the production of its catalog.
#4: Show What Your Products Can Do
Sometimes our imagination only takes us so far. Use Instagram to create demand by helping consumers imagine new or novel uses for what you offer. This is also a perfect opportunity to invite user-generated content. Have fans submit their own photos demonstrating creative use of your products and pick the best ones to post on Instagram.
If your business provides a service like makeup or hair design, landscaping, decorating, auto body repair or interior design, show your Instagram followers the impact of your work with a shot of your subject before and after you work your magic. The side-by-side comparison will add the wow factor to your Instagram content and maybe even get you a few new customers.
Cosmetics retailer Sephora used Instagram to spotlight an unusual product that most of us do not have in our makeup bags, giving followers a better idea of how it might look out of the package and on someone’s lashes.
#5: Give a Sneak Peek
Everyone likes to be the first to know… well… anything. Make your Instagram followers feel special and give them exclusive previews of products and services, or virtual tours of your new stores, production facilities or offices in the making. Things never seen before make for particularly shareable content, so be sure to publish the post to Facebook and Twitter as well, since Instagram does not yet have a sharing or reposting function.
Makers of rugged bags and footwear Keen posted a picture of its future headquarters in the midst of construction to satisfy the curiosity of those who might be wondering where their favorite shoes will be coming from.
#6: Show Your Office
People who follow their favorite brands on social media have probably asked at one time or another, “I wonder what it’d be like to work there?” Well, show them!
Post photos that provide a glimpse of a-day-in-the-life at your office—work areas, the corporate gym or play-field, decked-out cubicles, brainstorming meetings in progress, training sessions, employees at lunch, employees at play—the opportunities here are countless. If you’re hiring, be sure to point people to your online job postings in the caption.
Beloved online shoe store Zappos shows fans that even its employees work in cubicle-land, albeit a very fun, colorful one that matches its friendly brand personality.
#7: Take Us With You
Going to a trade-show or sponsoring an event? Use that as an opportunity to take your Instagram followers with you wherever you’re going. Followers in those locations will be tickled to know you’re in their neighborhood. Folks can also get a better feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.
Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders gave fans an off-field glimpse of its players doing something quite ordinary, standing around waiting at an airport with luggage in hand.
#8: Introduce Your Employees
Humanize your brand by using Instagram to introduce your fans to the people who make your company what it is. Spotlighted employees will enjoy the recognition (and a few seconds of fame) and Instagram followers will get a chance to see the people behind the brand. You might even want to make this profile an ongoing campaign that takes fans around the office to meet staff serving a variety of roles within your company. Be sure to punch up the post and share a little about each employee in the caption.
Keen put a human face to its brand with a shot of a spreadsheet-wielding employee.
#9: Share Celebrity Sightings
Let’s face it. We live in a society that is crazy about celebrities—we know who they’re dating, what they’re eating and where they go to vacation. Cash in on celebrity cachet and share pictures of them interacting with your brand, whether they’re signing autographs at your sponsored event, speaking, visiting your office or even using your products or services. These posts will be sure to get followers talking.
Sony Electronics shared a photo from a celebrity appearance at an Xperia event to grab the attention of Maroon 5 fans on Instagram.
#10: Share the Cuteness
There is no denying the appeal of animals in social media. Lolcats, Cute Overload and the countless other awwwww-inducing blogs out there are proof that there is capital in cuteness.
Whether they’re pets visiting the office, starring in your ads or animals sporting your schwag, never miss an opportunity to get a snapshot to share on Instagram. Our furry friends can be counted on to get likes and comments from followers.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gave its followers the warm fuzzies (and collected many likes) with a photo of a dog sporting an SFMOMA t-shirt.
Read full article: 10 Creative ways to use Instagram for Business »
Building a large Instagram following can often be quite challenging for brands. To date, the photo sharing super-network is almost completely a mobile one, and to further the challenge, Twitter recently cut off Instagram users from being able to find out which of their Twitter friends are also on Instagram.
Instagram is tough, but it is worth it. Images are such a gigantic part of social content sharing these days and Instagram does a great job at simplifying the process. If you have a visual story to tell, Instagram should be part of your digital marketing playbook.
So how the heck do you build a following on a network that is so tough to find people on? Here are some of the basic components of a successful Instagram community building campaign. Master these and you are on your way to Instagram success.
Hashtags are a critical component of building an Instagram following. They are a great way to find users that share the same types of content as you do as well as a great way for those users to find you.
You always want to include one or more hash tags in every photo you upload. Just as important as including the hashtags is making sure that they are tags that are commonly used. After all, what good is tagging something if nobody is ever going to search for that tag?
A great way to find trending and popular hashtags is to use a third-party tool like Statigr.am. You should never mislead users by loading your post up with unrelated but trending hashtags, but trending hashtags lists are usually diverse enough to include one or more related to your photo. For example, if your picture is of the front of your new office building, your company name may not be the best hashtag, but #architecture or #building maybe better for attracting more eyeballs to your image.
On the flip side, you should be actively seeking new followers by searching on the hashtags most related to your brand. There is a great deal of reciprocity on Instagram so if you find someone who looks like they may be interested in your brands, follow them. Look through their images and like and comment on the ones that have relevance to your brand. You should see this outreach pay off in reciprocal follows, likes and comments.
To build a solid Instagram community, you really need to post regularly. As with just about any social network regular, smart network activity results in a larger following.
Try to post daily and at different times of the day. Instagram is an international mobile network, so it is generally more difficult to pin down a time that is best to post at. In building a following, you don’t want the same people seeing your photos every day. Mix it up to broaden and grow your audience.
Use your existing digital properties to promote your Instagram photos. As with any new social account, you need to let your base know that it exists. One way is to create your own hashtag and promote it offline and on. You should also connect your account to your social networks to amplify the reach of your account. Currently, Instagram allows users to share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and foursquare. Use your success on these other networks to your advantage here.
Unless your brand is top of mind for the average consumer, Instagram isn’t the easiest network to build a large community on quickly, but the value it offers to your digital marketing campaigns makes it an important tool. The good news is that just about every other marketer out there is up against the same challenges. With knowledge of the tools available and a little creativity, you should be able to build a solid, engaged community for your brand.
Read full article: 3 key components of building an Instagram Community »