Since launching in October 2010, over 5 billion photos have been shared on Instagram, making it one of the most popular photo sharing platforms ever created. The app has been a goldmine with social and photo savvy brands who were quick to adapt to the social network and create a whole new touch point with customers and prospects.
Due to the mobile centric nature of Instagram, interactions are much more intimate than with traditional marketing channels, people who engage with your brand on Instagram are typically doing so during their downtime. This allows for a very unique opportunity to build a personal connection with people, take them behind the scenes a bit and generate a lot of positive awareness and goodwill for your brand that can come to fruition down the line.
Below are 9 tips and best practices that should get your Instagram marketing strategy off the ground.
1 Engage Your Audience by Posting Interesting Photos
This is the core of what Instagram is about: people posting photos they find interesting on their feed.
For brands this means going beyond photos that would appear on your website, advertising or marketing materials, and instead, sharing photos that communicate directly with your audience. Invest in the means and the time to create high-quality photographs that will allow your customers and fans to experience your brand on an emotional level.
@NatGeo One of the best brands doing this at the moment is one that has a century old track record in award winning photography. National Geographic (@natgeo) posts gorgeous photos to their Instagram several times a day and really raises the bar on the type of photography that is shared on the platform.
@GeneralElectric On the technology side, GE's Instagram presence showcases their legacy and leadership role in the field of consumer technology with dynamic photos of their R&D efforts, engines and wind turbine offerings.
2 Post Regularly
Instagram feed is by nature, very linear; most recent photos on top. If a fan follows a large number of Instagram accounts, it's easy for your content to get buried in the feed. One strategy to avert this is to post regularly and consistently so that ideally you are catching people at their peak browsing time throughout the day or week.
One thing to note is to not go in the other direction by constantly spamming your followers. Space out your posts throughout the day or week so that your followers are not receiving a bunch of posts in any given window of time.
3 Let Your Customers Peek Behind the Curtain
The great thing about Instagram is that you are giving your followers a sneak peek behind the curtain of your corporate brand. Snippets of office life, community engagement, visual oddities from around the neighborhood that inspires your employees will really resonate here.
@Starbucks is one of the leading brands active on Instagram today. Their Instagram account highlights how their products are integrated into millions of people's daily lives as well as touching on the human emotions that allows people to connect with the brand.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a huge initiative taking place in many Fortune 500 companies. Across all sectors, employees are being motivated to give back to their community. WIth this customers want to connect with the human face of brands, and Instagram is a great way to generate interest and support with your CSR activities. Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook makes information regarding your brand's Corporate Social Responsibility efforts more accessible to a larger group of people.
4 Share Photos of your Products and Services
is a great place to showcase your products and services in a very
immediate and direct manner. Now we're not talking traditional product
photography, more evocative imagery and detail shots tend to perform
very well on the platform.
@MaerskLine is an unexpected entry for Instagram. Shipping containers aren't something that most people would normally consider sexy, but the fact that Maersk Line operates over 600 shipping vessels all over the world gives them a very unique vantage point to document and share images relating to global business. The photos of their services operating in the context of global trade and commerce goes a long way to solidifying their brand presence as the largest shipping container company in the world.
@Audi does a
great job of showcasing their well designed cars as well as engaging
fans to share their photos of Audi products. The photos highlight Audi's
performance and racing heritage and appeals to automotive enthusiasts
in general and Audi loyalists in particular.
5 Integrate Hashtags into Your Event Marketing Mix
This is a great way to generate live social media coverage in real-time. Hashtags allows for people to easily find photos related to your brand and event.
At a recent event for AIGA Houston, renown designer/illustrator Jessica Hische came to Houston to speak before a sold out crowd. To help share the experience and create awareness for the organization, an event-specific hashtag was developed to help track and curate photos shared on Instagram by various attendees. The hashtag #JessicaHischeHTX, was heavily promoted across various channels and during the event introduction. As a result it generated awareness of the event far in excess of the amount of people who attended and drove membership engagement to new heights for the organization.
6 Connect with the Community Using Geo-Tags
Geo-tagging is a great way to connect your business with the broader community as well as transcribe location data across various other channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Foursquare.
7 Promote Your Instagram Handle
Make sure your Instagram handle is discoverable across your other channels; Facebook, Twitter, Corporate website and print materials.
Add the social buttons to the header and footer of your website, as well as your email signature (next to your other social media channels).
Instagram provides a variety of ways to embed a badge across various platforms.
8 Invest in Mobile Photo Editing Apps.
|VSCO CAM gives users additional image adjustments beyond Instagrams bundled filters.|
Experiment with various photo and imaging editing apps on your smartphone to tweak your photos. Great ones to check out are VSCO CAM, Google Snapseed and Mextures.
These additional apps will help elevate your photos beyond the default filters found on the Instagram App and give it a unique look that will help your photos stand out from the crowd.
9 Curate Content from Fans
One of the most POWERFUL tools of Instagram is to curate fan-created content for your brand.
A great example comes from GE who encourage customers and fans to submit photos tagged #GEInspiredMe to audition as GE’s official “Instagrapher” over 4000 photos were submitted and the winner (selected by their fans on Facebook) was flown to England to photograph a new engine that was being announced.
So hopefully with these tips your marketing team can start incorporating Instagram into your social media toolkit. By no means is this list meant to be complete and we will update it as time goes by. Please feel free to comment in the section below and check us out on Instagram @AxiomCreative to get a backstage view of our studio or stop by my personal account, @stimulacra to view a lot of food and Corgie pics.
Have additional questions about your brand's Instagram strategy? Contact John Luu at (713) 523-5711 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Labels: Digital Marketing, Instagram, Social Media, Strategy