Did you know Instagram could be an important marketing tool for every business? Launched in October of 2010 (and acquired by Facebook in 2013), the Instagram community has grown to more than 200 million users; and to date, has seen over 20 billion photos shared.
Now before you groan and roll your eyes at the thought of one more social media platform to manage, there are a few facts you should know. Instagram is a fun, free and quirky way to share your life or business through a series of pictures. Users can snap a photo with their mobile phone, choose a filter to transform the image and post it on Instagram along with other social media. Simply put, Instagram is a photo sharing app that doubles as a repository for photos of everyone’s lives, passions and business.
It’s no secret that social media channels come and go, or just peak in popularity before being replaced by the next latest-and-greatest shiny object. But with over 130 million monthly views and 40 million images posted a day, Instagram has the traffic and the clout that provides marketers and business owners with some strong reasons to give this growing social media platform another look. If used properly, Instagram can be an effective way to share the story of your brand and connect with future customers. Here are a few tips for those looking to dip their toes into the marketing pool of Instagram.
Brand your Instagram Account: Many users don’t realize that, just like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram can be branded to a business, not just an individual person.
Hashtags Still Rule: Just like Twitter and Facebook, hashtags are a well-used and viable way to track topics and participate in trending topics. Trending hashtags like #Happy, #PeopleIFollow or #PhotoOfTheDay are widely followed and users can tap on any hashtag to see a page that shows all photos and videos people have uploaded with each specific hashtag. Numbers are allowed in hashtags, but special characters like $ or %, won’t work, and users can only tag their own posts, not other people’s photos/videos.
Need to Retrieve Your Photos? No Problem: Let’s say you’ve captured a magical moment with your Instagram app and would like to use that photo in future marketing materials. Instagram saves all photos taken with your device to your Camera Roll for easy sharing, emailing and printing.
Monitor your Progress: Stats are available, and just as important, on Instagram as they are elsewhere. Users can opt to use third party monitoring tools like Statigr.am to check Instagram stats and keep tabs on what their connections are or are not responding to. Monitor your total number of likes received, your most liked photos ever, your average number of likes and comments per photo, your follower growth charts and more advanced analytics as well.
Privacy: Like any other social media channel, Instagram is a social place, and what is posted on your Instagram feed is seen by the public. Instagram has a follower model that means if you’re “public” on Instagram, anyone can subscribe to follow your photos. They do, however, have a special private option, and in this mode a user can make sure he/she must approve all follow requests before they go through.