Instagram is on a high note of popularity within a mere three years of launch. A result of this popularity was Facebook’s acquisition of the photo sharing site last year. The digital world’s love for ‘all things visual’ is being manifested not just on Instagram but on other social sites like Facebook and YouTube too. An average of more than 350 million photos is uploaded to Facebook and 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Getting back to Instagram, today it has an astounding 100 million active monthly users and 40 million photos are uploaded everyday! In terms of engagement also, Instagram has scored well with 8500 likes and 1000 comments per second.
So what can you do for your brand on Instagram?
- Widen Reach
The launch of Instagram profiles opened a huge window of opportunity for brands. You can make and use collages to promote new products, display current products, make announcements etc. To widen reach, you need to post content which people would like from you. Study your audience’s demographic data, consider your knowledge about them and get to know their preferences. You can also increase your content reach by making your posts more about customers. Everyone is more interested in participating in your activities if it is about them.Starbucks, one of the top brands on Instagram, uses its Instagram account to present a delectable mix of its products with a circulating collection of product pictures.
- Craft Unique Hashtags
Use hashtags in your brand promotions. Whether you are using the hashtag with your brand name or a popular keyword, hashtags give you great opportunities to interact with prospects. Using hashtags with photos also helps you keep track of the number of photos uploaded that are related to your brand.Mob Grip asks followers to use hashtags while uploading photos on Instagram. This tells the company the number of brand related photos being uploaded and also lets it measure engagement.
- Track Engagement Using Hashtags
Hashtags are great measurement tools to watch and gauge your Instagram community’s growth. Hashtags on Instagram work the way they work on Twitter and Facebook. They help collate photos belonging to a particular subject depending on the keywords used in the hashtag.To measure your brand’s growth over time, you need to study the number of photos uploaded that are related to your brand. To do this, click on the ‘Explore’ tab. You can also use analytics tools like Simply Measured to track your Instagram growth.
- Create More Buzz around Events
You hold events to draw prospects to your products/services and hopefully turn as many as possible into customers. Instagram can be used as an event promoter to showcase your event. Create event exclusive hashtags that people can follow and know everything about your event.Including Instagram among sites you are promoting your event on can help improve your reach, have more booth visitors and heighten audience engagement levels. The visuals posted of your booth with the event hashtag help people identify your booth easily. This can help you stand out from the crowd.
Anthropologie highlights its booth at a ‘Made In Kind’ event with a picture of the booth complete with its DJ spinning tunes for the event. People who follow Anthropologie and have seen this image will look for a booth like this with a DJ present.
- Use Contests to Generate Engagement
Seeing that Instagram is a photo sharing site, it is ideal for photo contests. Create exclusive hashtags for contests and ask followers to upload photos by tagging them with the contest hashtag. You can also use hashtags to organize entries and measure contest success. Another way of increasing engagement through contests is to like and comment on the photos uploaded. You can also hold exclusive contests on Instagram and make your followers feel special.Vet Depot’s Picture Perfect Pet contest lends itself to Instagram’s visual nature well. The contest also makes it easy for users to participate – all they have to do is login to Instagram, follow the brand and upload a picture of their pet using the specified hashtags.
- Use Promo Codes to Entice Followers
Simply posting engaging content and interacting with your followers keeps them in touch with your brand but it isn’t enough. You need to offer other attractions like discounts or promo codes. For example, you can offer a discount for followers who look at your pictures and comment. However, consider the relevance of promo codes/discounts before posting them. You also need to think of new, creative ways of sharing them.Topshop, a British clothing retail brand, offers exclusive discount and coupon codes for new products on Instagram.
Watch this space for more on using Instagram to leverage your marketing strategy…