Instagram is a photo sharing service available as an easy to download application for any Android or iOS powered device. The photos captured can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and even Tumblr too. Facebook announced its plans to acquire Instagram in April (2012) just after Instagram released the application to Android users and their user base exploded.
It is time for businesses to understand that this social sharing platform is here to stay. So how can a business use Instagram to share their story?
1. Build an Identity
Start snapping photos of your business. Once you’re ready to post your first image, you’ll be able to add a location if it is not already listed.
Try uploading photos of interesting aspects of the store or products, or share images of things the people who shop your business care about. You’ll be amazed at the response when you start sharing your perspective. Visuals speak louder than words.
2. Use Hashtags to Build a Following
What’s the point of taking a great photograph if no one will notice it? Celebrate your active brand advocates by deciding on a short, easy to type phrase that people can include in their tweets.
For example Adidas used the hashtag “#thereturn” to celebrate the return of Derrick Rose. They even made it a predominate design element on their website for D Rose.
With the use of these hashtags you can monitor conversations focused around your brand by using the Twitter search feed or directly displaying these photos using the Instagram API on your website.
Make sure to include any legal terms and conditions related to the use of the publically shared content. In the footer of their website, Adidas informed people: * If you send us a Tweet, or use our hashtag "#TheReturn" on Twitter and Instagram, you consent to letting adidas and Derrick Rose use your content and handle, in any media. If you opt in to our Facebook application All In For D Rose by adidas you also consent to letting adidas use your customized Facebook image in any media.
Fan based media can be shared cross-platform allowing you to successfully use Instagram for marketing and to increase brand loyalty through the instant gratification of social likes.
3. Find Your Advocates
Snap a photo using Instagram and then select that you’d like to add a Photo Map. You’ll be prompted to “name a place”. This is where you’ll see a list of available locations based on your GPS location. Once you find your business, select it as the location and then upload your photo. Once uploaded you’ll be able to click on the location as a hyperlink and browse the gallery of photos other people have tagged for that same location.
Find anything interesting? Follow that individual and you’re on your way to building your community.
4. Instagram Photo Contest
If you want to take it to the next level try hosting a photo contest. People who have a smartphone and are active on Facebook or Twitter are most likely to be active on Instagram as well. Just remember to make sure to keep the contest simple. Take Red Bull for example:
Their official rules outline the Instagram contest details. It is important to have a page dedicated to any questions your fans may have.
Instagram contests are incredibly simple to setup and can increase your following immensely, plus you never know what new perspectives your fans may share.
Ready to learn more? Get a 7 day free trial to OMI, and check out the class, Marketing on Instagram: How to Use Visual Storytelling to Build Your Brand.