Helping Small Businesses Grow

Instagram: A Smart Small Business Marketing Tool.

Posted by admin | On: Apr 23 2013

Instagram: A Smart Small Business Marketing Tool.
By Megan Totka

A playful and visually stunning app, Instagram also offers its users a powerful marketing tool for your small business. The developers of Instagram set out to create a quirky and fun way to share images and they’ve made it easy to take photos, apply cool filters and share your images across a variety of social media sites.

And the fact that Facebook purchased Instagram for a cool $1 Billion in the fall of 2012 – well, that alone makes it attention-worthy. So let’s take a look at how Instagram might be able to boost your small business marketing efforts.

Why Businesses Should Use Instagram
The use of Instagram by businesses has skyrocketed in the last few years. Why, you ask? Because Instagram has over 100 million users and 4 billion photos, giving brands the perfect opportunity to relay messages and show photographs to their target audience. The online photo-sharing service means small business owners can put a face with the name of their company.

Once viewed as a personal photo sharing platform, Instagram has proven itself a powerful platform for marketers to reach their customers and prospects through sharing pictures and brief messages. As you develop your marketing strategy, if it makes sense for you and your small business (and if your customers are participating on Instagram), think about incorporating Instagram imagery into your marketing toolkit.

Use Instagram to Reach a Wider Audience
Instagram images can serve to give followers better insight into your company and a taste of your brand personality. You can use Instagram to share the behind-the-scenes happenings, events, employees, products and a host of other things. For instance, a small business retailer might shoot photos of newly arrived products and share on the company’s Instagram feed to entice customers to come in and shop.

The same is true if you own an ecommerce business–Instagram can be used to help draw customers to your online store Instagram is available on both Android and iPhone devices and in recent months the company rolled out to its 90 million users the ability to view photos and interact through their Instagram profiles on the Web, a move long requested by users.

As a small business user, this means you could access your Instagram feed from your browser and interact and engage with fellow Instagram users just like you do from your mobile device.

Reward Your Instagram Followers
When you post photos on Instagram, think of a way to keep the attention of your audience and entice them to come back for more. Determine what they want and use that to hold their engagement. Use hashtags on Instagram like you would on Twitter to connect with people who are interested in your topic area – for example, a restaurant would use #recipe or #foodie.

Everyone loves to win, so consider doing something fun, like rewarding your audience for reading the descriptions and looking at the photos you share via Instagram. Run a promotion by letting them suggest a name for a new product, upload their own photos on a designated hashtag, or demonstrating unique ways to use your products. Consider awarding a merchandise promo code or even a cash prize as part of a customer contest.

Feature Your Brand Advocates
How about honoring your biggest fans? There is nothing that compares to the friendly faces of your customers when looking at a business page. Not only that, your brand advocates tell the story of your company from their perspective. Use Instagram to snap a quick photo of your customers and offer a sneak peek into what your brand is really like.

The airline Virgin America is a great example of a company using Instagram for marketing in an innovative way. The airline shares pictures of its customers travelling, snaps images of surprises the company gives customers on a regular basis and shares photos that are glimpses of its celebrity customers.

Fans who follow Virgin America on Instagram see a brand with a fun personality doing interesting things to entertain and reward their customers. And when you’re deciding which airline to patronize for airline travel, sometimes the one that creates the most memorable experiences is the one you want to fly. This same principle can translate to your small business and ways you can establish your own brand personality using Instagram.

Instagram can be a valuable marketing tool for businesses in both the B2B and the B2C space. Customers appreciate and enjoy a personal experience with an engaging and accessible brand. Instagram allows brands to do this in real time, creating a unique experience that stands out from other platforms.

What do you think? Are you using Instagram for your small business? If so, we’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences.

For more tips on improving your company’s trajectory, download Infusionsoft and SMB Group’s e-book, “8 Way’s to Grow Your Small Business.”

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Kevin M. Clark is a past Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Winner and is the author of “Kevin M. Clark’s Guide to Marketing Your Business Online. Go to http://MarketingHotWire.com and claim your Free copy of this highly acclaimed new book and unleash some of Kevin’s most powerful marketing strategies. But hurry, this offer is available for a limited time.

Feel free to forward this article to your family and friends.

Have a profitable day!
Kevin M. Clark
http://MarketingHotWire.com

2 Comments

  1. Jake says:

    I love this post !! I’m coming back to this one …

  2. I love this post !! totally kewl!!! Well done! I’m coming back to this one …

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