By Janette Speyer & Alison M. Brown, Web Success Team
When Instagram started just a couple years ago in San Francisco, it was just a little photo sharing application for the iPhone. Now, it has over 80 million users and was recently purchased by Facebook for $1 Billion. By using multiple filters and artistic blurring effects, the app helps virtually anyone create visually appealing images. But what does this have to do with business? Up until relatively recently, most people that used Instagram were individual users that took photos of their Saturday morning brunches. But now, companies are taking advantage of this outlet to connect with their audience in a multitude of creative ways.
Facebook Makes it Personal
The recent success of Pinterest shows that people react very positively to visual branding. When Facebook announced it was purchasing Instagram, it was not that surprising. The photo sharing app and social media platform were already very well integrated since most people that were sharing photos on Facebook were sharing Instagram shots. Now that they’ve become mutually exclusive, Facebook and Instagram can help promote your brand by featuring images about your company in a “cool” way that appeals to viewers. With the push of a button you can share images to business Facebook pages to take the level of engagement a step further. Of course you can post to other social media pages as well, but where Facebook and Instagram align is in their ability to communicate your brand’s story.
The Art of Storytelling
The story telling aspect of Instagram is really one of its strongest selling points from a business perspective. You can come up with very innovative ways to help build your brand and engage with your audience. One idea could be running a campaign involving a photo shoot with interesting logo placements. You could go around with stickers of your brand’s logo and showcase them all over the world and have people follow your story. Or even better, you can have fans share their own photos featuring your logo by using hashtags for everyone to follow. Since people are always keen to get more followers on Instagram, you could even offer to promote one fan’s image per day that shows off your logo in an impressive location. Not only does this allow you to get free publicity, but also your fans are acting as ambassadors for your company by sharing images with millions of other users.
Follow the Leader
When a brand is really leading the industry and using Instagram to its fullest potential, you can definitely see a difference in the level of user engagement. One new website that allows you to do just that is called “Followgram,” which focuses on using Instagram for branding purposes. You can make a “pro” or business account that allows you to take advantage of the Instagram branding by laying out all your photos in a webpage format, sort of like a Facebook timeline for photos complete with a personalized QR code linking to your page. What this site also does is help promote your visibility on the app by boosting your follower’s count—and what brand doesn’t want more followers?
Promote, Promote, Promote
Brands that use Instagram definitely notice a difference in their user engagement. Younger users appreciate it, and older one’s do too. You can use Instagram to run promotions, tell your story and ultimately get people excited about your brand. At the end of the day, you want people to have a clear vision as to what your company stands for and people should understand why they care about what you’re doing. Interesting and relevant content can only go so far—it’s the connection you make with people that really counts. So next time you’re wondering how Instagram and Facebook can help your brand, jump on the app, get creative and start sharing! Who knows, you may be just a few snaps away from developing quite a few new business leads.
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