Small Business Marketing Using Instagram
Instagram is an online mobile application used to share photos and videos. Instagram follows in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter and has quickly become a very popular social media tool. Instagram was originally developed so that people could apply different filters to photos they had taken on their mobile phones and allow them to easily upload and share these photos with friends (or account followers) using the Instagram app. More recently, video was introduced to Instagram and can now be uploaded, but Instagram video clips are limited to between 3 and 15 seconds in length.
Why do businesses turn to Instagram?
There are more than 300 million Instagram users around the world.
Approximately 70 million photos are uploaded daily.
The account is ‘free’ to set up, so the barriers to entry are low.
It is a medium that allows you to easily share content 24 hours a day.
What kind of success have businesses achieved using Instagram?
Companies like Levis, L’oreal and hundreds of others have been able to use the tool to:
To increase awareness of your products and services.
To increase brand recognition.
Showcase your community and pro bono work to inspire and engage potential customers to engage with your product, service, or brand.
Run successful promotions, contests and giveaways.
Small Business Marketing Success with Instagram
Instagram seems to be particularly popular with product-based businesses due to its visual nature. Many businesses that are product-based, such as clothing, jewelry, makeup, or even food-based businesses, have found success using Instagram. This is because the app allows photos of people wearing or using these products to be posted and shared. For example, a food manufacturer could post photos of someone cooking, sharing a meal, or entertaining friends using their food products. This success is not exclusive to big brands, as many small businesses have been able to harness the power of Instagram to engage their customers. For example, Melbourne-based cafe The Kettle Black had more than 45,800 followers as of March 2016. They achieved this by using compelling photos of their food and images of cafe meals that would engage Instagram users, as well as the use of hashtags that foodies, food bloggers, and other Instagram users would be interested in or search for.
Bloggers, social media stars, and media personalities have amassed a loyal following online with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people following their Instagram accounts. This group of ‘influencers’ means that there are several eyes ready to see your product or service. The audience has already been built for you. Engagement has already been formed and leveraging this by uploading your product to their Instagram feed or featuring it by a popular blogger or Instagram account holder will help you grow your audience faster. So it’s important to take the time to identify the key ‘influencers’ in your industry and how you can take advantage of them.
Hashtags – What are they?
How can they be used to increase business exposure?
I suggest that if you’re interested in getting into Instagram, you spend some time early on researching Hashtag. Hashtags are tags that you can add to a caption of a photo that you upload. To create a hashtag, you must use the # symbol in front of the tag and then add a keyword or keywords without spaces after the hash symbol. For example, you can post a product image of a pair of jeans. Your hashtags could be: #fashion #style #jeans #loveesestyle. You may already be familiar with hashtags as they’re also popular on Twitter, but if not, take a look online for some examples of how they’re used. The purpose of the hashtag is to tag your photo in a topic or topic category that is ‘searchable’ or ‘popular’ on Instagram.
No spaces in your hashtags
Special characters cannot be used in your hashtags, for example!@$&
Instagram includes a powerful search feature, so if your posts are set to “public,” you can use hashtags to tag your photos and videos to make content easier to find and more accessible to the public. That means when someone does a search and explores that ‘search term’, your content may be discovered, leading to more people discovering your business or brand.
Some hashtags are very popular, so it’s important to identify the ones most relevant to your industry. The point of the game is really to get people talking, liking, following and sharing your content. Hashtags help spread the word if used effectively, so take some time to figure out how to use them to get the most out of your content.