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Social media sites are integrated into almost all aspects of the internet now. You can log onto sites using your Facebook information or wrap yourself up in various circles on Google+. But there is one social network where the benefits of using it for business may be harder to figure out. Instagram, while filled to pictures of random meals and fashions, can also be a boost to businesses. Showing off your latest product via photos can be an excellent way to attract customers. Beyond that, how is Instagram used for business? Below are some comments from entrepreneurs on how they use the site for their business.
Connecting in a more personal way
Instagram is an amazing visual social media tool that can really enhance your personality within your brand. As a photographer, I am all about photographs and Instagram gives me the opportunity to connect with my readers, clients and followers in a more personal way. I take various photographs on my phone of things that I am doing, interesting parts of the day and just general musings. I guess it's kind of “A Day in the Life” type of feel. I then have a plugin for my website, blog and Facebook to share my Instagram images.
Thanks to Nicole Barralet
Building up an audience
As a fashion designer I use Instagram to build up an audience. I do close up shots of all hand beading and work in progress. This gets the audience and consumer excited about up and coming ranges/designs. I will be launching my new website this weekend and the build up and following is great. I get a few new followers a day. My every day style is included as a business and this helps build an audience and following. I Instagram all styling. Even my home deco and food. Consumers want to purchase whatever you create based on the same lifestyle and life really. If they like your style they want to be informed and know more of what your up to and what your purchasing.
Thanks to Mariam Seddiq
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Post original content and host giveaways
Instagram is a fantastic way to promote and market your business, especially when you are selling a visual product such as clothing or food. However, many businesses fall into the mistake of product spamming– where they simply repost catalog images of the products they are selling. That comes across as annoying to followers. The trick is to post fun and interesting content that will engage with the followers. If you have a new product that you want to sell, post original and creative shots of the product that can't be found in a more professional setting, such as your online catalog. Giveaways are also fun and effective for promoting your business. Have users submit entries by posting photos under an exclusive hashtag (e.g. #quotesomegiveaway), or have users like and comment on a post and pick a random winner from the comments.
Thanks to Michelle Lara Lin, Quotesome
To showcase your company culture
Instagram is an incredible platform for Businesses to showcase their company culture and culture, to have open conversations with their existing or potential customers and to benefit form the earned media generated by other users tagging them in their photos. With a potential audience of over 100 million active users, all business from local stores to leading brands like Nike have an opportunity to leverage Instagram.
Thanks to Gabriel Hubert, Nitrogram
Related Post: What Makes Your Business Unique?
Tapping into the interests of your typical client
Companies can use Instagram for business by tapping into the interests of their typical client. Something many companies still don't realize is that social media is not the place to pitch hard calls to action. It's a place to interact and connect with current and potential customers, garnering their interest and attention. Sharing relevant, engaging content is the name of the game on every social media platform, and it's especially key on image-based channels (Instagram, Pinterest). Take REI for example, they are a outdoor clothing and equipment company. On Instagram, they share high-quality nature scenery to inspire fans to go outdoors. They also engage their followers by asking them to submit their own photos, which REI then combines into daily compilations. REI effectively generates content for their Instagram account while encouraging followers to use their custom hashtag – #REI1440project. Brands should use Instagram with a set customer personality in mind and gear all content toward that imagined, ideal follower.
Thanks to Lisa Parkin, Social Climber, LLC
A great way to visually attract customers in
Instagram is a great visual tool to market a business. Not everyone enjoys reading lines of text, much like on Twitter, so Instagram allows companies to use a visual to initially attract or catch the attention of the public. This is a great opportunity for a company to feature an image that describes their brand or they may even like to post a picture that reflects the kind of work they do. As a photographer, Instagram is a great way for me to promote my business. I like to capture behind the scene images so people can see me working, as well as peeks of the finished product. Instagram also allows captions, hash tags and tagging, which is very helpful in attaching your company name or an individual to a post. When I work with local vendors I like to tag them in the caption to give them credit for their work and also in order for their followers to find their way back to me. Additionally, Instagram makes it very easy to simultaneously copy the same post onto various social media sources like Facebook, Twitter or Email. Using Instagram is one of the best and easiest ways to promote a business and reach as many people as possible.
Thanks to Jenna Bechtholt
Sharing various office adventures
At Gavin Advertising, we use our Instagram account as a tool to share our company culture with our followers on social media. We Instagram pics of various office adventures, field trips, cool projects we're working on, “caption this” contests and more. The photos feed directly into our Facebook Page, where we also have a specific tab just to view our Instagram photos. We find that our social media in general serves as a great recruitment tool for talent. We use our social media accounts to give a behind-the-scenes look at Gavin company culture and what a great place this is to work.
Thanks to Mandy Arnold, Gavin Advertising
Telling your story with visuals
You hear the phrase “content is king” all the time. This sucked for people that didn't like writing because, up until the last couple of years, it mostly meant writing to get found… Now – if you're more visual – platforms like Instagram are great avenues for businesses to market their brand and create content. The most straightforward advice for using instagram is to tell your story with images. That means – what is it like to use your products or be a client, an employee, or a partner of a business etc. Invite user-generated (customer/client) content via hashtags, take behind the scenes pics, do a series to introduce your employees, etc. A well executed Instagram strategy can give your business extra visibility, engagement or even generate photo-evangelists.
Thanks to Ben Lloyd, Amplify Interactive
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Let everyone know what they are missing
I'm new to Instagram myself, but one of the rules I understand is that to keep an account I must post pictures every so often. I'm not much of a social media guru or Roadie but I have found a challenge to post pictures (with client consent) of services I perform for them as well as post their responses. I find it to be a rush and a contest for myself to gain more clients. I let the world know what they are missing by posting my pictures and low & behold I've gained a few more clients doing what I love and bragging about how well I do it. Its a rush for me!
Thanks to Bakka Karriem, Cloud 9 Therapy Spa
Gives customers an inside look
Mobile apps and social media platforms have become an essential aspect of business management and growth. Among these social platforms lies an application that has revolutionized the way we see, take and share photos: Instagram. It's more than a photo app; it's a face for your business. An active Instagram helps businesses in more than one way. First, it creates the illusion of an “inside look.” Potential customers like to feel as though they're in the loop, and Instagram provides that. Secondly, Instagram gives your business a personal touch. While Facebook and Twitter accounts are just as important, they can sometimes appear sales-y. Unless you go out of your way to post promotional photos, your business's Instagram account will do nothing but solidify that behind your business doors, you are human. This leads me to my last and most simple benefit: a human touch. Instagram is one of the best social media platforms to utilize for a more personal business experience. When your customers feel like they know you, they are more likely to establish an emotional attachment to your brand.
Thanks to Daryl Bryant, Hudson Horizons