Instagram is a visually-led, photo and video-sharing social media network that has garnered more than 400 million users since its launch. More than 55 million photos are shared every day on the site and contrary to popular perception, not all of these photos are of celebrities, food or cute pets. What does this mean? It means that Instagram can offer a huge marketing opportunity to businesses.
How Instagram is NOT Facebook
Case in point – FedEx, IBM, Microsoft and a host of others. But Instagram does not have links to your products or blog post. It cannot direct traffic to your website. So how could it be a marketing tool? Well, you need to think a bit differently with Instagram.
What you need with Instagram
With Instagram, you need a solid, well thought of strategy if you wish to use it for marketing. You cannot use it to sell products and services, but you can use it to build brand awareness. It’s a powerful story-telling tool. You have to use Instagram not as a marketing tool but as a platform to tell your brand’s story. It has to be a part of a larger online marketing effort.
Take the example of Warby Parker, a young, almost infantile, business of prescription eyewear and sunglasses, which has amassed over 240K followers due to their amazing story-telling.
Don’t sell to me; I am chilling out on Instagram!
Understand that people look through their Instagram feeds when they are taking a break or not working. This is not the time for you to sell them anything. Instead, use this time to subconsciously introduce your brand values into their feeds such that it does not look out of place. “Grab a Sharpie and start something,” says screams the account of Sharpie. It asks fans to submit Sharpie-drawn pictures, some of which are pretty cool.
What you can do on Instagram
Use Instagram for “humanizing” your brand. Give your audience a “sneak peak” of what goes on in your offices. Show off your work culture. Tell them how much your employees enjoy themselves while working. Give them “behind-the-scenes” insight into a product launch or an event. Take Macy’s, for example. It combines merchandise pictures with great behind-the-scenes shots of their events.
Create interest in your company by letting people know about your company’s history, its founders, its core values, its mission and vision. Use short videos of members of the top management speak on an issue of interest. Use thought-provoking quotes from senior executives.
You can use Instagram to share company news, or product demonstration or promoting your events. Use it to highlight your employees. Post pictures of employee of the week or fortnight or month and share a little bit of info on the employee. You can also run contests on Instagram. You can create a real buzz around a contest and it can give you a lot of new followers.
Instagram Ads – Its Finally Here!
Finally, Instagram has made public its advertising platform. Since Instagram is part of Facebook, all you need is a Facebook Business Manager account and you can link your Instagram account to it. The best part is that you get a chance to create visually appealing ads for your target audience on Instagram.
Like all platforms, Instagram is finally that – a powerful, yet agile, platform. How you use it to your benefit is dependent largely on how you use it! As someone has rightly said, “Your impact is limited by your imagination.”