Undoubtedly Instagram is the hottest photo sharing App on the digital landscape right now- others may include Pinterest and Flickr. Since it’s launch, it’s popularity has risen consistently and it has developed a whole new genre of amateur photographer. With it’s retro, vintage filters making us feel like we are living in the 1940’s, but being able to share with our friends at the speed of 2012 makes it the perfect time to join in on the fun.
Not Just for Personal Use; Room for Your Business As Well
If you are already an Instagram user for personal use, then I am sure you are aware that the people you follow and your followers themselves find it incredibly hard not to post a picture of what they are about to eat. Slightly blurry, or black and white, shots of sushi rolls and Cuban sandwiches tagged at local eateries and “artistic” sunset shots abound there are indeed some ways that your business can fit it between the close up of a wildflower and #picstich of BBQ Veggie preparation. What you can do is express your Brand and/or company visually; which most often is much more powerful. One of the strongest and most useful forms of communication is story telling; every picture tells a story, making your communication with Instagram even more useful.
Instagram lets you share information in image form, letting your followers view the content quickly and easily. Sharing is easy as well; you want your message to go as far as it can. Bring your Brand’s culture into it; put a face on your Brand - a smile. Show followers a glimpse into your everyday work-culture and brand ethos, which is a perfect marketing technique if those two things are important to you. Let your followers champion your brand and market for you.
How Do You Market on Instagram?
First determine who will be in charge of the account; the person must be committed and have plenty of time to produce great content. Much like any other Social Network, Instagram needs constant upkeep and monitoring. Don’t have time? Hire a Social Media Manager to help. These professionals know when, what and how to convey your Brand’s Message appropriately. Saving you time, money and more importantly saving your Online Reputation. An empty feed or blank profile is just a bad as an incoming phone call that does not get picked up.
How Frequent is Too Frequent?
At Cusp Creative we champion the philosophy that being subtle can be just as loud. As with any marketing or sales techniques, the last thing you want to do is spam people with 5 retro photographs of your logo or storefront everyday. You will need to mix in Brand awareness with other images that do not necessarily have any kind of sales push or ulterior motive behind them. You cannot seem desperate; it is very unbecoming for both people and brands.
What Should I Avoid Posting?
Remember the form and function of the platform; Infographics or text images should be avoided. Quotes and Stock photos or photos you did not take yourself should also be left out of your campaigns. Instagram is a place to showcase creativity; whether it be your personal style or your Brand’s. Also, don’t overload your followers. Spread them out over a couple of hours, otherwise they may be considered spam-ish. Remember to also post at a relevant time. Instagram is a constant stream and most followers do not go back through a user’s stream. Find the best time to post and pick your best shot.
How do I Grow My Following?
Social Networks are meant to be, well, social. Talk to your followers, like their pictures, leave them comments and let them know when you like something you’ve seen of theirs. Go through your Brand’s feed and take some time to like and comment on things, esthetics, and styles that you and your followers share. The more you like, and comment the more your pics will become popular and be shared across he network
Another highly important feature of Instagram that you must utilize is the ability to tag with hashtags (#) or user names (@). Users go through the App and search certain keywords and hashtags, like “sunset” “love” “summer” and like the images and share. Do not miss the opportunity to expand your reach Online and ensure that your pics get seen.
Can I Link to Other Networks?
Instagram allows users to share their pictures not only on their Social Network, but across others as well. If your Brand has a Twitter, Foursquare, or Facebook account you can link those services along with Instagram, taking the experience even further. Not every snap needs to be shared on every platform however, some images will be more appropriate for Facebook and Instagram. While others, like a quick shot of your morning coffee, may be more in tune with your Instagram followers. Find the balance.
Tagging a Location?
Geo-Tagging is another feature of Instagram that your Brand should utilize. Sharing the location of your photographs lets other users nearby view them. Users who are familiar with a place can view your pictures and in turn maybe stop by your business or buy your Brand.
Stand Alone or With Friends?
At Cusp Creative we believe the more the merrier and that can definitely apply to Instagram as well. Do you have a young, crack staff, working in a fun environment? Are you a hip new restaurant? Showcase the behind-the-scenes action and your followers will follow more closely. Get your staff to post pictures showing their side of the story. Create a sense of family, community at your workplace.
Get creative. Those filters in Instagram are there to inspire. Start looking at your Brand through one of the vintage filter and you may just find your future identity.