With the popularity of social media and people sharing everything, it’s no surprise the free phone app Instagram has become a wildly popular way to share photos. Although it’s primarily used among smartphone owners and consumers to document their daily activities, businesses can also tap into Instagram’s popularity and utilize the app to reach their customers on a more intimate scale.
1. Embrace the New Visual Trend
Numbers speak louder than words, and the numbers confirm social media users like images in posts. A study conducted by Facebook analyzed journalists’ pages and found posts with images were much more popular than posts without them. Photos received 50% more “likes” from viewers than text posts, and journalists who shared links with a thumbnail image got 65% more likes and 50% more comments than posts without photos. (These findings likely prompted Facebook to purchase Instagram for an impressive $1 billion.)
So how can you benefit from Instagram? First, simply using it shows you’re ahead of the curve, gaining interest from customers and respect from professional contacts. Anytime you plan to post on social media, consider how an Instagram photo might be used to tap into that visual audience. Have a new product? Take a nice close-up and write an intriguing caption. Test different filters, snap different angles, and consider what aspects of your business are conducive to sharing visually. (But don’t worry, customers aren’t expecting you to be a professional photographer—just take interesting pics.)
2. Use Geo-Tag
Whether you’re at a convention or in front of the office, make sure to geo-tag the uploaded images to give followers an easy way to map where the photos are being taken. This is especially useful if you are at a professional event or if you want to try a virtual scavenger hunt with your client base (followers who are at the conference can physically find you). To use the feature, tap the green checkmark once you take the photo and click “Enable Geotag.” Afterward, click “Location” and pick your location option.
3. Involve Followers
Invite your followers to post their own Instagram photos of your business product or service, then retweet those images to create a sense of community among the business’s followers. This can work for a variety of businesses, from manicurists to dentists to even auto mechanics, and is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship with your followers and show others your best work.
4. Be Real
It’s important for businesses to realize the growing Instagram trend and capitalize on it, but it’s also important to be authentic. Users don’t want to see Instagram images they can tell are obvious advertisement tactics; they want to see visual proof of a company they’re doing business with. Most importantly, they want to see that there are real people behind the product. Avoid only posting photos of brand logos or your storefront, and mix in some interesting images of an office ping pong game or a funny piece of wall art in the executive suite hallway.
Take a tip from Nic Adler, who runs LA’s famous venue The Roxy. Adler started an account for the venue after seeing fans snap photos using Instagram. Now the venue has more than 7,400 followers. ”The Roxy posts all kinds of photos now, including art, scenery, and funny thing we come across, while sprinkling in pieces to promote our shows,” Adler told Instagram. “The best thing you can do for your business on Instagram is show people why they should get to know you.”
Do you use Instagram for your small business? Tell us how you make it work for your business in the comments below.