Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grow Your Brand on Instagram

Over the past four years Instagram has grown from an emerging social media platform to a powerful marketing tool for top brands.  From major global companies, such as Nike and Starbucks, to small mom-and-pop businesses, brands of all kinds are using Instagram to strengthen their brand identity and reach new customers. Here we have gathered some of the best tips to market your brand on Instagram.

  1. Share noteworthy photos –Instagram allows brands to tell their story in a visual way. By posting personalized snapshots, brands can showcase their business through a more genuine approach. It is important to share not only product pictures, but also a wide range of content in order to appeal to your audience. According to Wishpond, customer-centric and employee related photos generate the most engagement.
  2. Use #hashtags – Hashtags are a great way to expand your content reach and develop your brand. Creating a unique brand hashtag is a great way to get the message out about your company or a specific campaign. A great example of this is the Giorgio Armani #framesoflife campaign. The brand encouraged followers to share photos of themselves wearing Armani sunglasses with the hashtag #framesoflife to be selected for the Giorgio Armani “Frames of Life” website. This campaign engaged thousands of followers and increased website traffic.
  3. Geotag your location – Geotagging is a way of attaching geographical information to media. Creating a geotag for your brand will not only allow you to attach your businesses location to your photos, but also allow customers to tag your location in their photos. For example, if you are a restaurant and a customer snaps a photo of their delicious lunch, they can tag themselves at your restaurant and allow their followers to see exactly where your restaurant is located.
  4. Share videos - Short videos are now a digital marketing staple. Instagram allows brands to share 15-second video, about the same length as the average television commercial. Instagram’s editing tools are user-friendly and allow users to create multi-clip videos. Videos are an excellent channel to showcase products in a creative way. Take a look at how lululemon incorporates their apparel into a appealing branded video.
  5. Share on other social media sites – Sharing your Instagram content on other sites expands your reach. Instagram allows you to share your photos and videos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and foursquare. Not only will this increase the amount of impressions you get on your content, but also draw more awareness and followers to your brand’s Instagram account.
  6. Run contests: Contests are one of the biggest engagement drivers on social media. Incentives and rewards are a great way to gain followers and keep your followers checking in with your page. Whole Foods asks followers to upload environmentally themed photos during Earth Month with the hashtag #WFMEarth. Each week they select a winner to receive a $100 gift card. Contest such as this allows the consumers to create the content and promote the brand at the same time. It’s not only major corporations that are finding success on Instagram. Many small businesses are increasing the social influence with the use of Instagram engagement and contests. Tender Greens, a small restaurant group, hosts a photo contest where customers post photos at their establishments with a contest specific hashtag. The weekly winner is sent a Tender Greens t-shirt. The brand is up to 1,822 followers.
  7. Maintain a branded profile – Lastly, what might seem common sense, but is often overlooked, is to maintain a branded profile. A business’s Instagram profile should be consistent with all other marketing and social media. Your company logo should be used as a profile picture and the company slogan or mission statement should be used as the copy for the bio. It is also necessary to include a link to your website. Many businesses find it beneficial to include their company location in their profile.  

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