Small Business marketing using Instagram
Instagram is an online mobile application that is used for sharing photos and videos. Instagram is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter and has fast become a viral social media tool. Instagram was originally developed to apply different filters to photographs they had taken on their mobile phones. It would allow them to easily upload and share these photos with friends (or account followers) using the Instagram application. More recently, the video was introduced to Instagram. It can now be uploaded, but Instagram video clips are limited to between 3 to 15 seconds long.
Why are businesses turning to Instagram?
There are more than 300 million Instagram users worldwide.
Approximately 70 million photos are uploaded per day.
The account is ‘free’ to set up, so there are low barriers to entry.
It is a medium that allows for easy sharing of content 24 hours a day.
What sort of success have businesses achieved using Instagram?
Businesses such as Levis, L’oreal, and hundreds of others have been able to use the tool to:
To increase awareness of their products and services.
To increase brand recognition.
To showcase their community and pro bono work to inspire and attract prospective customers to engage with their product, service, or brand.
Run successful promotions, competitions, and giveaways.
Small Business marketing success with Instagram
Instagram appears to be particularly popular with product-based businesses due to its visual nature. Many businesses that are product based such as clothing, jewelry, makeup, or even food-based business, have achieved success using Instagram. The application allows for photos to be posted and shared of people either wearing or using these products. For instance, a food manufacturer might post photos of someone cooking, sharing a meal, or entertaining friends using their food products.
This success is not exclusive to big brands, as many small businesses have been able to leverage the power of Instagram to engage their clients. For instance, Melbourne-based café The Kettle Black had over 45,800 followers in March 2016. They have achieved this by using attractive photographs of their food and images of cafe meals that Instagram users would be attracted to and using hashtags that foodies, food bloggers, and other Instagram users would be interested in or search for.
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Bloggers, social media stars, and media personalities have amassed a loyal following online, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of people following their Instagram accounts. This ‘influencer’ group means that several eyeballs are there, ready to see your product or service. The audience has already been built for you. The engagement has already been formed, and tapping into this by getting your product uploaded onto their Instagram feed or featured by a blogger or popular Instagram account holder will help you grow your audience more quickly. Therefore taking the time to identify key ‘influencers’ in your industry and how you can tap into this is important.
Hashtags – What are they?
How can they be used to increase business exposure?
I suggest that if you are interested in getting onto Instagram, you spend some time upfront doing your Hashtag research. Hashtags are tags that you can add in a caption of a photo that you upload. To create a hashtag, you need to use the # symbol at the front of the tag and add several keywords without spaces after the hash symbol. For example, you might post a product image of pair of jeans. Your hashtags could be: #fashion #style #jeans #lovethatstyle. You may already be familiar with hashtags as they are also popular on Twitter, but if you are not, take a look online to see some examples of how they are being used. The hashtag’s purpose is to tag your photo to a subject or topic category ‘searchable’ or ‘popular’ on Instagram.
No special characters can be used in your hashtags, E.g.!@$& Instagram includes a powerful search feature, so if posts are set to ‘public,’ you can use hashtags to tag your photos and videos so that the content becomes easier to search and becomes more accessible to the public. That means when someone runs a search and is exploring that ‘search term,’ your content may be discovered, which leads to more people finding out about your business or brand. Some hashtags are viral, so it’s important to identify the most relevant ones to your industry. The aim of the game is really to get people talking, liking, following, and sharing your content. Hashtags help get the word out if used effectively, so take some time to find out how to use these to get the best out of your content.