How to Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool

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Using
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for marketing purposes is now considered
standard practice for most businesses. As the realm of social media expands, so
do the opportunities to reach out to potential clients and conduct market research.
Instagram is no exception, with over 80 million users worldwide. Yet using
Instagram as a marketing tool presents unique challenges, as it's entirely
based on streaming photos. Just like the program itself, Instagram works best
for businesses when it's combined with other social media outlets.

Create an Online Presence

Before any
business can start using Instagram for promotional purposes, they will first
need to have a fairly solid online presence to fall back on. It's important to create a
website
for consumers
to refer to, along with company profiles for other social media sites such as
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Keeping a blog is also essential for
online marketing purposes. Instagram can then be added to this mix, used to
share photos and cross-post them on your other websites.

Choose Posts Carefully

There are a
few features that all successful business Instagram profiles have in common.
They use this program to post interesting, engaging photos on a regular basis,
while also taking the time to communicate with their client base. Instagram can
be used as a clear way to promote your products, by posting creative and
appealing snapshots of them. Yet if all you post are product photos, you'll
lose viewer interest quickly. Don't be afraid to post behind-the-scenes photos
of the faces at your business. Avoid stock photos or overly professional
snapshots, and feel free to get creative with new filters and photo effects to
create quirky, memorable visuals that viewers will want to share.

Get More Involved

The rules of
engagement with Instagram are the same as with any other social media outlet.
To successfully use this tool to your advantage, it's best to reach out to your
viewers by responding to comments and liking or commenting on their photos as
well. Opening up your account to employees can also diversify your photos and
make your brand seem more human to the community at large.

Incorporate Promotional Tie-Ins

To encourage
your community to share your photos, you'll want to tie in promotional deals,
discounts, or contests. Hosting photo contests is one fun way to interact with
potential customers, allowing them to submit their own photos of your products.
Contest winners can be rewarded with prizes and displays of their photos. Discount
or coupon codes can also be used within your photos. These could be subtly
hidden to create a scavenger hunt, which is bound to lead to more shares.
Instagram features like hashtags and geo-tagging can also be used in creative
ways to provide discounts or reward customers. These are all ways to make the
user experience more interactive.

As you grow
your online presence using a website
builder
, blogging
platforms, and other tools, Instagram deserves to be added to the list. With
consistent upgrades and an ever-growing audience, it holds a great deal of
promise for business owners who use it wisely.

 

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