If you have an iPhone or an Android based smartphone, you surely know what Instagram is and how you can use it. If you haven’t tried this amazing application yet, I will show you how it works and how you can use it to promote your business.
Instagram? What is that? Well, Instagram is a mobile application innitialy used to take pictures. Afterwards you could add one of it’s filters and then share it with your friends on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr or Tumblr. That’s it? Basically yes, that’s it.
But lately, Instagram itself started to become a social network due to its high number of users. Let’s say it is Twitter, but only with pictures.
Interesting…How can I use it? First of all, you have to download the application from App Store or Google Play. Instagram can be found absolutely free. After you have installed Instagram on your phone, launch the application. Now you have to create an account, this usually takes about two minutes. Next you will be able to choose to import contacts and find your friends from your contact list, Facebook account, Twitter account, or you can simply search for your friends by their names and usernames. Next step: after adding some of your friends to your Instagram account, you can follow suggested Instagram users. To do that, all you have to do is to hit the follow button next to their names. Congratulations! Now you are ready to use Instagram.
In the “Feed” tab you can scroll through all of the posts of the users you are currently following. Keep tapping on the refresh button in the top right corner to reload the tab. If you want to show your appreciation to somebody’s photo, you can simply hit the “Like” button or if you have something to say about it, you can leave a comment to that specific picture. It’s like on any other social network, but you don’t have the “reshare”, “retweet” or the “repin” buttons.
Now comes the interesting part. If you want to share one of your photos you have to tap on the “Share” tab and you will be able to take photos or select pictures from your mobile phone. After taking a picture you can add one of Instagram’s many filters to make it cooler, add a description and, if you want, you can add your location too. Now hit „Next”. Here you have to tap on any social network that you want to share the photo on. Hit “Done” to complete the process. Now your selected photo will appear in your “Feed” and also in the feed of other Instagram users that are following you. It will also be posted on all of the social networks you have selected.
Ok, I got it! But how can I use Instagram to promote my business?
Since the beginning, Instagram had a lot of users, but now it has over 25 millions users and the number is still growing. With this number of potential clients and customers, you can exploit Instagram to no end.
Here are some tips for how to use Instagram for promoting a business.
First of all, you must know that with Instagram you have to focus on interesting content, not on branding. One of the best features of Instagram is its capacity of turning simple pictures into artistic photos. And since everybody knows that a good photo is worth a thousand words, just imagine how much you can say about your business or product with a couple of good Instagram pictures. Instagram could prove more effective and in the same time a lot less cheaper than any other method of promoting. Just remeber: Instagram users are always looking for interesting images. So if you want to succeed, you have to come up with great, interesting, conceptual photos. Another important thing is to post regularly.
Like on Twitter, or any other social platform, your followers will get upset if you blow up their feed with redundant or ordinary posts. In other words, you have to post original and cool content, and do it often as well. The best way to do this is to make Instagram part of your daily routine. Take cool pictures and post daily.
You will also have to consider the fact that just uploading your photos on Instagram will not be enough if you want to be popular and gain visibility for your business. You will also have to comment and „like” your followers pictures. Ask questions, share compliments and always be nice and social to your fellow Instagram users.
Another awesome feature of Instagram is that it allows you to share your photos on other social networks as well. Don’t use Instagram as a stand alone application, use it instead to start sharing photos on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
There are a few famous brands, like Starbucks and Threadless, that are using Instagram to promote their products and gain popularity for their business and they are doing a gread job. Ford also registered a great success when they lunched the new Fiesta. They used Instagram to promote the new model and they rocked.
When Ford wanted to promote their brand new model, Fiesta, they wanted to do it a little bit differently. Ford’s promoters came up with a brilliant idea and they wanted to lunch a campaign called „Fiestagram”. They saw the potential in Instagram due to it’s continuing increase in the number of users and they decided to use this mobile photo-sharing application exclusively. The Fiestagram campaign was launched on October 10 in the form of a six week contest in which Instagram users from Europe could sent photos and win a lot of prizes. At the end of the campaign the biggest prize was a brand new Ford Fiesta.
Basically, the Fiestagram campaign worked like this: each week they announced a new hashtag associated with one of the Fiesta’s high-tech features, such as #entry, #hidden and #music. Then people had to submit photos using Instagram, tagged #Fiestagram and the week’s hashtag. Those photos were automatically posted on Ford Fiesta’s Facebook fan page. Ford’s goals were to promote the Fiesta’s new high tech features and they wanted to targeted a wider audience. They brought Fiesta to people in fashion, style and tech circles and in no time their new model was everywhere over the Internet. At the end of the campaign there were over 16,000 pictures submitted.
While many brands were promoting their products using old-school advertising techniques and mainstream social networks like Facebook or Twitter, Ford successfully promoted their new car with the help of Instagram and they managed to emphasis on their selling point – the high tech features. The Fiestagram campaign stands as a proof that if you have a well-planned campaign, you could promote your business using Instagram, just like Ford did. Nothing is impossible, you could do it as well!
I hope that you found my article useful and that you are downloading and installing Instagram on your smartphone as we speak. Have fun!