Using Instagram for Marketing

Instagram is a free iOS and Android photo sharing app launched in October 2010. It allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and Using Instagram for Marketingthen share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram’s own. Instagram’s distinctive feature is its photo filter, a digital layer that gives snapshots the appearance of professional editing. Some filters enhance the colors, while others dull the light to a soft glow for an aged, vintage appearance.

Instagram users take and share pictures on their smartphones and “follow” other users’ photostreams, a model similar to Pinterest’s. The app has revolutionized mobile photo editing and has great potential for social media branding and outreach.

Embrace the new visual trend

Social media users like images in posts. A study conducted by Facebook analyzed journalists’ pages and found posts with pictures were much more popular than posts without them. Photos received 50% more “likes” from viewers than text posts, and journalists who shared links with a thumbnail image got 65% more likes and 50% more comments than posts without photos.

You’ll show you’re ahead of the curve just by using  Instagram, so you’ll gain interest from customers. Anytime you plan to post on social media, think about how an Instagram photo might be used to tap into your audience. Have a new product? Snap a nice close-up photo and write an attention-grabbing caption. Test different filters and camera angles, and don’t worry about being a professional photographer. 

Use Instagram for:

  • Social media sharing: Share photos via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Instagram allows you to add a hashtags, which will help you track any picture via your social networks.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Name your photos with keywords, including alt tags, using Instagram’s editing features.
  • Contests: If you sell products, ask customers to take photos of themselves using the product and then upload the photo to win a prize. Add an element of interaction by encouraging people to vote on their favorite photo.
  • Event marketing: Ask people to take photos of an event you’re having. This generates excitement about the event and creates more interaction.
  • Connection: Your customers are probably already using Instagram, making it another avenue to form connections.
  • Location: Instagram’s geo-tagging gives followers an easy way to map where the photos are being taken. This is especially useful if you are at a professional event or if you want to try a virtual scavenger hunt with your customers.

20 resources to help you use Instagram for marketing

Here’s a roundup of articles that will help you take full advantage of Instagram marketing to grow your company:

  1. Is your business on Instagram? (Instagram blog)
  2. 5 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Marketing (Sprout Insights)
  3. 5 Instagram Marketing Mistakes: Don’t Take These Photos (Sprout Insights)
  4. Instagram for Business: 3 Creative Ways to Build Loyalty (SwipelyWorks)
  5. The Rise of Instagram in Social Marketing: Tapping Into Consumer Creativity (Business2Community)
  6. These Brands Are Doing Amazing Things With Instagram (Business Insider)
  7. 5 Awesome Examples of Instagram Marketing From Real Brands (HubSpot)
  8. 10 Early Adopter Brands Using Instagram (The Next Web)
  9. How News Organizations are Using Instagram (Instagram blog)
  10. How Nonprofit Organizations are Using Instagram (Instagram blog)
  11. Is Your Fashion Brand on Instagram? (Fashion’s Collective)
  12. An advanced guide to using Instagram to build your brand (GeekWire)
  13. The Beginner’s Guide to Instagram (Mashable)
  14. Instagram Users To Follow: 19 Stunning Accounts We Can’t Get Enough Of (HuffPost)
  15. How Small Businesses are Using Instagram (Binkd)
  16. Why Instagram makes sense for your brand (Hartford Business)
  17. Why Instagram should matter to your business (TechFlash)
  18. Why You Should be Using Instagram for Business (One Social Media)
  19. How 3 Small Businesses Use Instagram for Marketing (NFIB)
  20. 4 Ways B2B Marketers Can Take Advantage of Instagram (Eloqua)
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  • Great thoughts.  The new trends are upon us.  Appreciate it Pam.

  • Thomas Mead

    I don’t think you’l be able to use Instagram for SEO – apart from the share link, there’s no way to trace the content back to a source unless you’re using an app.  You could use an Instagrammed image in a blog post mabye, but that’s just the same as any other.

    Good post though!  I’ve seen a few brands try and use Instagram, the most successful have been using it to give a behind the scenes humanizing look at their biz.

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  • Thank you for sharing, I find that the part where you ask the customer to take photo of your product as a contest very innovative. I think this is a very creative marketing tool.

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  • Hi Pam, I’m a bit late to the party, commenting on this blogpost now, but I hope you’ll still get to read it.
    I think you mentioned really good ways to use Instagram for marketing. Mainly, I believe that it’s a great network to include customers in and truly connect with them, in a way that’s sometimes difficult to achieve in other networks. After all, we do say that a photo speaks a million words!
    Of course, you mentioned the ways brands could do that (include customers): contests, using hashtags, and covering events.

    What do you think about the tools that are starting to appear as ways to help people deal with their brand’s Instagram accounts? I’m thinking about things like for interacting from a web browser and getting some insights, or Facebook apps to include their Instagram stream to their Facebook page (like Instatab and Instagram_feed).

    Me and my team are currently working on : Nitrogram is a web-based solution for brands to efficiently use Instagram for Marketing. With Nitrogram, you can follow hashtags and users, comment and like photos as well as easily re-use the content that is shared on Instagram, directly into your other online outlets such as a webpage, facebook page, or a blog. I’m very curious to know your opinion about what we’re trying to achieve!