Really clever ways to use Instagram for business
There is an increasing need to tell a story about ourselves and our business through social media. Platforms such as Instagram allow businesses to upload photos and video to give the user a glimpse into their world. It is the fastest growing network to date with 150 million active monthly users and 16 billion photos shared.
All you need to create an Instagram account is to download the app from ITunes onto your phone or tablet, create a username and password and set a profile image. At the moment there is no easy way of managing more than one Instagram account at a time. You need to log out to swap accounts, which can be laborious if you are switching between your personal account and a business account. You also need to be careful of which account you are currently logged into so you don’t post to the wrong one.
Instagram is the perfect place for brands to share photos and videos giving the viewer a personal tour behind closed doors. It is also a wonderful tool for customers of the brand to post pictures/videos engaging with the product. It allows customers to feel part of your world.
Imagery can incorporate product launches, events, behind the scenes, employees, how the products are made, where they are made and who makes them, where they are sourced from, what the product can do, or even a photo shoot.
Another clever way of utilising Instagram is to post photos/videos of new and inventive ways people use your product. Tap into the reuse, recycle phenomenon and highlight new uses for your product. Be creative!
Tip: Make sure your photo is not blurry. There is nothing worse then posting an out of focus photo. Use the filters and apps available and craft your image according to your brand. Take heed of background noise when taking a video for Instagram, you don’t want any unsavory language going on in the background. And please if you wish the user to link to your site in order to download a recipe or enter a competition then please add your URL into the description feed. There is nothing more irritating than having to search for the website.
Make sure you link your business Instagram account and publish to facebook, twitter, flickr, foursquare or tumblr, if you have an account with these platforms. The image is automatically posted to the selected accounts. There is an Instagram badge that can be added to your website or blog linking your Instagram account to increase your overall presence.
Use hashtags so you can measure the success of an Instagram campaign and to build awareness about a service or product. You can tap into conversations about your business by searching related hashtags. Or use hashtags for promotional use, to set a theme, tag your brand or tie in with other popular hashtags. Hashtag = brand awareness #product.
Statigram is a free analytical site detailing the engagement of your Instagram account. Sign in with your Instagram account, username and password. Authorize Statigram to access your account.
You can view your follower’s photos, heart and comment on the photos.
View statistics on your Instagram account such as followers, likes and engagement on your photos. You can mange comments and use private messaging to engage with clients.
Promote your Instagram account via Statigram. The site gives you an Instagram tab for Facebook pages and makes a Facebook profile cover with a collage of Instagram photos. Use widgets to showcase your Instagram imagery on your blog and website. And it also offers an RSS feed.
Nitrogram is an Instagram platform for Brands, analytics and engagement. You can trial the platform or purchase from $US149/month. Nitrogram Insights include a complete history of stats for Instagram @users and #hashtags.
Create competitions using Instagram to encourage user engagement and promote the brand. An example is to:
Take a picture of yourself … Upload it with the allocated hashtag… get the most votes or likes and win!
1. KLM is promoting this contest at the moment using the hashtag #KLMgetcomfy.
2. Heineken’s innovative scavenger hunt in September 2013 was cleverly crafted; winners were given free tickets to the U.S. Open Men’s Final. Fans had to search a mosaic of Instagram photos for clues that lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. To prove a clue was found, users had to comment with the tag #SHHH. The competition went as follows:
- Check out @HEINEKEN_US on Instagram
- Follow the clues by flipping your phone
The photo hunt for each pair of tickets starts with a clue and a codeword posted on our Instagram feed. The clue references another fan somewhere in the stands. Turn your phone sideways and scroll across the giant panoramic mosaic, then click to zoom in on the different photos to find the fan mentioned in the clue.
- FIND THE FAN WITH THE TICKETS AND YOU COULD WIN
Once you’ve found who you’re looking for, look in the caption for the next clue. Follow all the clues to the last photo, and be the first to comment with the codeword, and you could win the tickets. Now get photo hunting!
Heineken was able to generate numerous impressions for its brand.
3. Bolthouse, an American company that grows and distributes carrots in addition to salad dressing and a range of bottled beverages, already had over 16,000 images already uploaded to Instagram with the hashtag #bolthousefarms without any prompting from the brand.
Bolthouse took advantage of the current behaviour of it’s fans and encouraged it’s users to take photos of anything that related to Bolthouse such as billboards, bottles in the grocery store, drinking from the bottles and upload them to Instagram with the hashtags #carrotfarmers and #gotcoupon. The fans were rewarded with $1.50 off a Bolthouse beverage. Once the image with the two hashtags were verified the @bolthouse account comments on the fan’s image with a link to collect the coupon.
Bolthouse measures the impressions it receives from uploaded images and the reach from the fan’s followers. They also measure the amount of coupons printed and redeemed. Although the campaign is generating immediate business results, Bolthouse is delighted that it also supports their “farm fresh” branding.
4. Visa Australia are always evolving their Instagram account with frequent engagement. #gosnaphappy asked fans to upload photographs that corresponded to the set theme. Fans also had to include the hashtag #gosnaphappy and @Visa_au to be eligible. The competition ran on both Instagram and Twitter platforms. Winners had 72 hours from the time of winner notification to respond to the Promoter in order to claim their prize. If the winner didn’t respond in time then they forfeited the prize. Each entry was individually judged based on creativity and originality of the Photograph, how well the Photograph demonstrated the theme and overall popularity. The winners received a $500 Visa Prepaid card.
The latest contest run by @visa_au was for fans to share their St. Jeromes Laneway festival photos in Sydney with the hashtag #visacrowdpics to win a $200 Visa prepaid card.
5. A PR initiative #HipsterSanta was created to drive awareness and increase sales at Sydney’s new Central Park shopping centre in Chippendale. Traditional OOH media supported the PR campaign, however it is socially lead through Twitter & Instagram channels created by @HipsterSanta himself. Shoppers are encouraged to get involved on Instagram & Twitter by posting tagged photos for the opportunity to win store vouchers.
Instagram is a fun and creative way to maintain excitement with your brand and business. Snap a photo/video, tag it with a hashtag and watch the momentum build.
This was a guest post by Mardi Barnes of Scoop Social