Instagram has been gaining steam as a platform for social media marketing, and it looks like the trend will only continue in the coming months.
The popular photo-based social media company was acquired by Facebook for almost $1 billion in 2012, and by mid-2013, its number of active users had reached 150 million.
Last June, Instagram added video sharing capabilities, allowing users to post short clips of those moments in their lives that simply can't be captured with a static image.
Additionally, Instagram has announced the rollout of its new ad program, designed to help brands showcase their products and services in the most creative and engaging way possible. Within the next few weeks, Instagram ads will be available to a handful of companies that already have a large following on Instagram, and will continue to expand in the near future.
With all the buzz around Instagram's recent innovations, you may be wondering how your business can benefit from this promising marketing platform. It's simple: grow your followers, use relevant hashtags, and post content that delights users.
Grow your followers and use relevant hashtags
Nala_cat is a great example of a successful Instagram profile. The user joined the platform in 2012, and gained 926,900 followers in less than a year by posting pictures of her cat using hashtag #cat. Now, there are over 12.6 million posts with the hashtag #cat and 2.8 million for #dog. While you may not be marketing something as widely appealing as cute pets, you can still benefit from the lesson of nala_cat: find a hashtag that is relevant to your business and consistently add it to the description of applicable posts.
We also recommend searching for other users who are regularly using the same hashtags and follow them. Then sit back, relax and watch your followers grow!
Post Delightful Content
Love pictures of food? Instagrammers do! They love posting photos of their home-cooked meals, gourmet restaurant appetizers, desserts - anything that is edible and looks great. Post your daily yum photos and add quirky descriptions that will get people's attention. Don't forget to use viral hashtags to attract more followers to your Instagram profile.
Photo Source: mawahit
Fashion is another popular topic on Instagram. There are over 43 million posts with hashtag #fashion. Brands like Nike, Forever 21, Adidas, Topshop, Vans, Victoria’s Secret, and Michael Kors are in the top ten of most followed fashion brands on Instagram. You can definitely benefit from the fashion crowd by posting content that has broad appeal, but at the same time accurately depicts the nature of your business. If you are a dentist, for example, post photos of outfits that accentuate model's smile and colors that make teeth look whiter, and use the hashtag #brightsmile to get more people to follow you.
Photo Source: mulatamarichal
In general, building an Instagram following is very similar to establishing your presence on Pinterest; on both sites, food and fashion are the most popular topics and therefore speak to the majority of users. Use your creativity to apply your brand's personality to these and other popular topics with eye-pleasing photo and video filters, and you will quickly notice the increase in your follower count!
How do you use Instagram in your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments!