We all know that Instagram has been on the wrong side of the camera lately, but let’s step away from that and focus (some pun intended) on what benefits Instagram can offer your business.
If you’re not one of the 100 million registered users of Instagram, I’ll briefly bring you up to speed. Instagram is a mobile based social site cleverly disguised as a photo editing app for users to share their photos with other users. For me, it’s somewhere to post funny pictures of my dog tagged with #boxer or #puppiesofinstagram for other enthusiasts to like and comment on. For others, it’s a place to post pictures of their children, dream cars, friends, funny sightings, and even food.
Plums in Bacon
With Instagram’s geotagging feature, users have the ability to tag the location they’re at. This has been a hit with foodies looking to document their meal on Instagram and others who are looking to try a new restaurant. This is great for restaurateurs looking to showcase their latest signature dish or cocktail. While customers are waiting for the entrée, they can hop on Instagram and read comments about desserts that users have publicly posted. (I don’t know where the picture above was taken, but it’s working!)
Firehouse, a local favorite, has been using Instagram to run contests and have been doing quite well. Their most recent contest was one that gave customers the opportunity to win a $10 gift card simply by taking a picture of their favorite sub and tagging it with #firehousesublove. They really took the possibility of having hundreds of fan-photos floating around the internet with their food, tagged with their company name, and ran with it. (Remember to make sure that official terms and conditions are made publicly available or your promotion may backfire.)
Sharing behind the scenes photos is also a great way to increase brand awareness. You can post pictures of the product being made, or a few willing employees having fun. Anything that shows the company is run by actual people that users can relate to is a plus. These days, customers have more options than ever and they’re well aware of it. This year, Black Friday started during Thanksgiving dinner and seemed to last all the way to Christmas Eve. This is because companies have realized that they no longer get to pick and choose a date to pigeon hole customers into.
• Consider using other apps to edit your photos before posting them on Instagram. Two of my favorites right now are Pixlr and PicSay.
•Don’t forget about #hashtags. Think of hashtags as a way for users to streamline search results by category. If they want to see funny pictures, they’ll simply search, “#Funny.” Let’s say your company installs vinyl decals, consider having a special for an upcoming event, like the Superbowl. Post a few high quality photos of your work with the words “50% Off #CarDecal Installation of Your #Superbowl Team!” Take it to the next level by requiring they post a picture of the finished product and tag your company to redeem the savings.
• Instagram recently added the ability to view from your desktop by simply going to Instagram.com/. If you want to go to a specific user’s feed, you can do so by typing their username in behind the URL. (e.g. Instgram.com/marketingchick)