Instagram is a free mobile photo sharing application, an image and short-form video social media platform, and – with over 150 million users – a great way to get your business or product noticed for free.
Chef Jamie Oliver has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram. He posts food-related products through foodie pics and uses hashtags for his website, TV shows, or magazine so that followers can find the recipes for his own creations.
Jamie makes his followers feel like friends when he posts pictures of himself and gives out little nuggets of information – like the one of him with chef Gennaro Contaldo, whom he says drops by while he’s writing his recipes. Giving fans a glimpse of Jamie behind-the-scenes is one of “brand Jamie’s” chief successes and Instagram gives him yet another platform to do that – without the cost of a big marketing campaign.
Another familiar brand that successfully uses Instagram as part of their marketing strategy is Starbucks, which has been using it virtually since its inception. Starbucks has over 2.1 million followers whom the brand invites to tag their coffee photos with #Starbucks.
A recent posting by Starbucks tagged #Mornings and #SnuggleUp in a simple image of a coffee mug on a bed sheet that got over 97k likes because Starbucks advocated the day as a “national drink your coffee in bed day”; simple, but effective.
So, how can you use Instagram effectively to launch your business or a new product?
If you haven’t set up an Instagram account pre-launch, this is the time to do it. Having an established presence before you launch your company or product will give you a serious leg up.
1. Username: Make your username something short, easy to remember and that properly represents your brand.
2. Device: If you already have a personal account, you may want to invest in a device that will be used purely for your Instagram business account so that you don’t inadvertently post personal content to your business account.
3. Profile Picture: Add your profile picture – either your logo or your new product.
4. Link Your Accounts: If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business, link it to your Instagram account (Profile > Edit sharing settings) so you can share your pictures to your Facebook page/Twitter account for some cross-marketing.
5. Cross-Promote: Promote your Instagram username on your Facebook page to build up your followers.
Which Content to Post:
1. Showcase Your Products: The whole range or just a selection. Using a hashtag for a selection of images will identify them as a collection (more about that later).
2. Show People How Your Product is Made: step by step pictures of the creation or manufacturing process.
3. Showcase Your Process: If you’re a service type of business, show some of your team in action or some of the products you use to deliver your service.
4. Go Behind the Scenes: Give people a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of your business – the preparation for an event, a brainstorming session, or in the studio shooting an ad.
5. Showcase Before-and-After: If you’re in the beauty, interior design or building industries, before and after pictures side by side are a real winner.
6. Showcase Your Workspace: Show customers where all the magic takes place – your work space or your office. They want the personal connection.
7. Bring Them With You: If you are on to an event or attending a trade show? Show it in pictures. Make customers feel a part of the entire experience.
8. Introduce your team: don’t be afraid to show everyone’s fun side and how they utilize your very own product.
9. Incentivise: If you have discount offers and incentives like Vouchercloud does, share an Instagram a photo of them so that followers can tag friend and share rewards.
1. Use Hashtags: Use a number of hashtags to help people find your pictures – they’re key for searching on Instagram. It’s not uncommon to use multiple hashtags on an image on Instagram (were warranted of course). According to a Simply Measured study of the Interbrand 100, 83% of all posts by top brands include at least one hashtag, and 21% include more than five.
2. Involve Everyone: Invite your customers to post pictures of them using your product with a specific hashtag so that all the pictures form a collection and are easily searchable. If you have an ecommerce site, provide a link to the product page for anything a customer features.
3. Focus on Outbound Engagement: Respond to fan pictures by liking them or commenting on them. It makes your customers feel appreciated.
4. Plan Cross-Channel Publishing: Publish your posts to on social platforms and in web content do refer to your Instagram account.
5. Ask followers for their feedback: What do you like about our product, what would you change, or how do you use it? In a personal example, my friend was once eating some popcorn and uploaded a picture on Instagram the brand company then saw this through her hashtag of their brand name and asked what she thought of the flavor; that is product feedback through Instagram.
6. Coordinate Promotions: Promote exclusive previews of a new product or give followers the opportunity to purchase it before the general public. Make them part of your inner circle.
Once your campaign is up and running, measure success and optimize based on the data you see. Simply Measured offers several ways to measure Instagram success:
1. Hashtag Monitoring: Gain valuable insight about your specific campaign.
2. Competitive Reporting: Understand how your launch positioned you against other companies in your industry.
3. Account Reporting: Learn about your audience, and how the tactics you use with your content impact your success on the network.
Hannah Connor is a guest blogger and product strategist who works with Vouchercloud. Hannah has experience in product development, devising strategies and developing marketing campaigns.
If you’re interested in blogging for Simply Measured, send an email to email@example.com with the topic you’d like to cover, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.