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Social Media Marketing Tips: Instagram

How To Market On Instagram

instagram for business

What it is

Instagram is a photo and video sharing site released in 2010; it was bought by Facebook for an estimate $1 billion dollars in 2012. It currently has around 150 million users, and is widely used by celebrities who often have followers numbering in the millions.

It can be a tricky place for business promotion. Its status as a primarily image-based social network means that any B2C interaction must take place in this medium – a difficult proposition for those companies whose products or services are not easily condensed or represented visually. Nonetheless it can be a powerful tool for building strong customer relations and brand loyalty, and the ease with which posts can be shared and spread means that the potential for viral content is exponentially increased.

Who uses it

Instagram users are young – 90% of the site's members are between 18 and 35 – and, similarly to Pinterest, generally female – 68%. It is also an overwhelmingly mobile-based network, with an estimated 12% of smartphone users world-wide using the app. It is also second only to Facebook in terms of frequency of use: 57% of users check the site daily.

How to use it

There are two potential approaches to getting the most out of Instagram as a business. Paid adverts were introduced to the American market earlier this year, and the company has stated that it plans to expand that to Canada and Europe by the end of 2014. That makes now an ideal time to engage with Instagram, to learn how to best understand and utilise it before it the flood of new businesses pushing their adverts on there. A more rounded and nuanced understanding of the community and the protocol's of the site will pay dividends when it comes to using it commercially.

instagram for business
Source: business2community.com
Until adverts are introduced, Instagram can still be a extremely useful for promoting a business. Much like Twitter, the businesses who thrive on Instagram are those with a softer touch and sense of humour. Ben & Jerry's, whose account has over four hundred thousand followers, frequently posts pictures of their ice-cream in unusual and amusing situations. This awareness paid off when they paid for one of the first photo ads on Instagram in the U.S., which was seen by almost ten million people in a week. 

Ben & Jerry's actions demonstrate one of the first rules for promoting your product on Instagram: be interesting, but also make sure that your product or brand is at the forefront. It's easy enough to post endless pictures of pretty sunsets and over-priced cappuccinos drenched in filters (and plenty do) but that won't get you too far insofar as product awareness goes. You want to build a loyal and genuine base of followers, but you need to balance popularity with practical concerns of self-promotion.

instagram for business
Source: adweek.com
The flipside to this is that engagement with the wider Instagram community is equally important. As with any other social media you need to be a part of the conversation about your industry, so follow rivals and notable customers – not only as a business concern, but also because you can learn from their successes about how best to tweak your approach to maximise your reach. This also means your own followers. Respond to their comments and like their photos, and you'll see that goodwill come back to reward you.

When it comes to posting photos, be consistent but not overwhelming. Instagram operates at a more measured pace than platforms like Twitter, and users appreciate quality over quantity. Take time to consider your submissions – people won't hesitate to unfollow you if you're clogging up their feed with poorly executed and unattractive pictures, no matter how much you shoehorn your product into them.

instagram for business

As with any other media, follow trends. Watch for what's popular. The high celebrity population of Instagram means that notable entertainment or media events receive widespread attention; the photo which has thus far received the most 'likes' on the site is that of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's first kiss at their wedding.

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.
Social Media Marketing Tips: Instagram Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, July 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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