An Instagram photo is worth a thousand words

Instagram has become the social media platform of choice for vast numbers of users in the region. Tamara Pupic looks at how your business can make the most of it
An Instagram photo is worth a thousand words
By Neil King
Wed 02 Apr 2014 10:58 AM

Are you thinking about putting your business on Instagram?  If not, you really should.

More than 100 million users and four billion photos shared on the popular photo-based social media platform make it a channel well worth exploring.

Whether you’re new to the process or not, your business could benefit from our simple guide on how to provide real value for your Instagram followers.

When adding a new social media channel to your marketing mix, it’s important to use unique content that people can’t obtain elsewhere. Your Instagram business account should only have photos posted with the intent of driving traffic and increasing engagement, which can be easily achieved if you do the following:

Create your Instagram account with a plan

Before posting any photo on Instagram take a moment to think about whether or not it will actually help you reach your goals:

Show what your products can do

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.

Use Instagram to promote sales, offers, and events

One of the most popular forms of Instagram contests is to ask users to post pictures and use a dedicated hashtag. Winners can then be selected at random by pulling all the images with the dedicated hashtag. Contests are a quick way to increase your followers, but make sure to promote your contest on your other social media channels as well.

Show the process of how your product is made

Wondering about where our manufactured goods come from is a testament to our curiosity. It is the most popular question among customers when they are deciding to buy a product. Do shots at various points in the manufacturing process and share them with followers.

Make your followers feel special

Give your Instagram followers exclusive previews of new products and services, or virtual tours of your new stores, production facilities or offices in the making. Instagram is also a good channel to showcase your company’s culture. Post photos that provide a life story at your office. Employees will appreciate the recognition and Instagram followers will get a chance to see the people behind the bran.

Use Instagram badges

Since you have already created a consistent look and style of your Instagram account, don’t forget to use Instagram badges, which are the icons provided by Instagram that allow you to link your Instagram account to your Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Twitter account and Pinterest boards.

Leverage the power of hashtags

Instagram, like Twitter, allows users to search content, and find new profiles to follow, via hashtags, making them critical to your strategy.

It’s vital to use a mix of brand-specific hashtags that you have created based on your name, products, services, and contests in order to establish your unique branded categorisation. However, generic hashtags are often even more beneficial because you can attach your content to popular categories and capitalise on the exposure around users searching or filtering by generic hashtags. Make sure to have a mix of both, and don’t overdo it! Too many hashtags will annoy people.

Instagram is becoming a significant platform for brand marketers to leverage because its user engagement rates are so high. Users on Instagram are even interacting with brands that do not have an official Instagram presence. A recent study by the Pew Research Center, a US think tank, showed that Instagram users visit the site nearly as frequently as Facebook users. More than half of Instagram users (57 percent) use the app on a daily basis, with 35 percent doing so several times per day. So, waste no

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