The old adage says that a picture is worth a thousand words – and Instagram provides a shining example of that. With 150 million users, the mobile photo-sharing app is one of the most popular (and fastest-growing) social networks out there. Instagram relies exclusively on photo and video interaction, which may pose a challenge for some businesses – but that unique visual emphasis also makes it a perfect medium for telling your brand’s story.
Instagram focuses on the visual “moment” to attract attention and inspire quick action and decisions – a potential goldmine for social marketers. What’s more, it combines visual imagery with likes, comments, and hashtags to fuel powerful conversations – and it also links to other social media platforms for greater exposure. Telling your story successfully on Instagram depends on finding the right balance between promotion, relevance, and creative expression.
Find your personality. Is your brand polished and professional? Playful and humorous? Serious and thought-provoking? Having a clear picture of who you are as a brand is the first step to successfully conveying that image on Instagram. It can also help determine the most effective visual strategies and styles to make that personality resonate with your audience.
Seize the chance to bring out the “real” you. Yes, visual platforms like Instagram are great places to showcase your merchandise. Even if you’re not a product-oriented business, though, Instagram still offers a creative way to share deeper aspects of your brand that may not come through on other platforms. Behind-the-scenes glimpses into your company culture, employees, special celebrations or events, or the ways your brand gives back to the community all help reveal a “human” side that users can personally connect with.
Change your perspective. Social sharing is about conversation, not sales – so don’t be afraid to take off the advertising hat. Instead of only directly promoting your product or service on Instagram, focus on creating a unique, engaging visual experience that will inspire a positive response from your target audience – and then use that response to create an even better experience. Try to discover common ground between what’s meaningful to your brand and interesting to your followers.
Promote a two-way dialogue. Instagram’s real marketing potential goes beyond just posting images. User generated content can have a much wider reach and a greater impact than anything your company can create alone. Asking followers to share photos of themselves using a product, for instance, not only creates valuable images and testimonies that you can reuse, but also strengthens customer relationships by making each person an active, valuable part of your brand. So, give your Instagram followers every chance to contribute: ask questions, hold contests, and of course, recognize your best and most loyal followers.
Be adventurous. Nothing turns off users like stale or repetitive content. To make a big impact on Instagram, take advantage of the creative variety the platform has to offer. Experiment with different filters, explore new image formatting combinations, or try out Instagram’s new 15-second video feature – and, of course, you can check out tools like Statigram to measure the success of all this activity. Remember, though: Instagram isn’t Twitter. Posting too much product-related content can overwhelm followers and make them more likely to ‘unfollow’ your brand.
Instagram isn’t just a trendy way to post images; it’s a unique social media channel that allows you to tell your business story through video and photos. Finding just the right voice and content angle can take some creative trial-and-error, but in the long run, Instagram offers a valuable tool that smart marketers should not ignore.
If you haven’t tried to use Instagram for your business yet, maybe it’s time to give it a shot. As a mobile app, it lives on your smart phone, which is a great way to post spontaneous images and videos that help humanize your brand and create an emotional bond with your followers.
If you’re looking for guidance to build up your social media strategies, contact the professionals at Pulse Marketing Agency to set up a free consultation! We’re happy to take on your marketing challenges.