Instagram is for life, not just for food pics?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so maybe this is why social media platforms like Instagram are increasing in popularity. People love images, and marketing through social media that is based solely on images is becoming a very useful technique in today’s business world.
Instagram is a social networking site accessed predominantly through an app on a mobile device. It is a way for users to quickly upload images they have taken on their phone or tablet and select from a range of filters and editing techniques to apply to their image. They can then share this picture with all of their followers, and anyone who may be searching for the hashtag they include in the description.
Instagram is often written off as a place where users just post vintage pictures of their lunch, but it is much more than this, and what if your company’s sandwich or drink is in that lunch? Creating a company Instagram account is a great opportunity to embrace and engage your fan base; you can see what users post about your brand, and can post your own pictures of your product and behind the scenes images.
Hashtags are important when it comes to Instagram, as unlike many social media sites, these are included as a caption to the picture along with only a small amount of description.
The picture itself is allowed to do most of the talking, but the #hashtag can be used by you and your followers to connect the picture to your specific brand.
Creating a unique hashtag specific to your product and applying that to all of your photos, whilst asking other users to do the same, can ensure your brand is easily found on Instagram by anyone who may be looking.
Although hashtags are an excellent way to get your product seen, be careful on the amount you use on each image. Too many hash tags can leave an image looking messy and like you are trying too hard. Limiting yourself to about five hashtags per image is a good idea.
What to post
The photos you feature on your Instagram account are obviously very dependent on your brand and product. You must ensure you incorporate your company’s tone and style into your images, and make this consistent throughout all your social media platforms.
The obvious pictures to post on your Instagram feed are photos of your product, however, there are other ways you can go about advertising your brand. You can post pictures of the product during its production, photos of the team, the office, and events that go on day to day in your business.
Cadbury UK held a ‘fun fair’ to showcase their new products ‘Marvellous Creations’ and this was advertised through Instagram, as were photos from the event. This is a good way to get followers involved with what Cadbury is getting up to day to day, whilst letting them know that their event was on so they could come and join in.
Think about who your customers are, follow them and observe what they enjoy/don’t enjoy. Knowing this can help you post in accordance with their lifestyles. Something that is relatable to them is going to interest them in what you have to say, even if it isn’t directly associated with your product, the brand is still in your name.
It’s a great idea to showcase your customer in your images. They love to be involved, and it can give them a thrill to see their faces on a company page. Holding photo competitions where users attach a specific hash tag to their image to enter is a useful way to get the followers involved. Sony held a competition with the hash tag #sonylove, users had to attach this to any image they though implied love to them, whether it be a place, a person, an object. They chose a user at random every day to win a $50 Sony giftcard. Runners up were chosen to win merchandise based on the relevance and creativity of their photos.
Although Sony is a massive international brand, the same sort of strategies that engage customers and get them involved in the brand can be used for a company of any size. A similar strategy was used by London-based band Modestep. They asked users to hashtag photos fans had taken at their live shows with #modesteplive and they chose their favourite pictures to win a signed record and album before its release.
Planning and Organisation
Frequency of posts on Instagram is something you don’t want to overdo, but also don’t want to neglect for weeks at a time. Set yourself a frequency for posting updates and try and stick to that. Ensure your content is consistent and related; creating a calendar in advance for posts is a useful way to manage your posting and get a broader look at how your Instagram feed may look as a whole.