Is Instagram a Valid Marketing Tool?

Instagram-valid-marketing-tool

Here is a horrible joke: as I was preparing to write this article about Instagram, I was told to use my best Instagrammar.

It’s a little known fact that about twice a day someone is proclaiming another online social marketing tool that must be used in order for your business to stay ahead. If you want your company to be legit and relevant you have to be on Facebook… and Pinterest… and Twitter… and Friendster (that still exists, right?).

One new social platform that has been becoming a hotbed of awesome is Instagram. I know what you’re thinking: “Instagram? Isn’t that where I post my 32 selfies each day?” Selfies, aside, Instagram has become a fantastic place for companies to connect with their clients and public in a social online forum. We’re not talking just small Mom and Pop businesses here, either. At least 132 Fortune 500 companies have been using Instagram as a marketing tool and are succeeding with it.

So how many people can you reach with an Instagram account? Last month Instagram announced that it has over 150 million users sharing 16 billion photos. Of those photos, there were 1.2 billion “Likes” daily and an average of 55 million new photos posted daily.

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There is a market to be tapped with regards to the Instagram community, but in order for your marketing push to succeed, you must establish and continue to have a presence. One of the simplest ways to maintain that presence is through hash tags. Using the right (and better yet, popular) hash tags will make all the difference in the world. Use trending hash tags along with your own hash tags that best describes your photo. Social Media guru, Dan Zarella did some Instagram research and recently posted that pictures with hash tags are more likely to get more “Likes” than those without.

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You can also get your audience involved through the commenting process. Take a picture of a new process or idea your company is working on and ask your customers what they think. Instagram users do this already by posting pictures of things they think are cool or interesting. You should take the same approach as a business. By doing this, you not only get a more grass roots feel of where your company is going, you also earn respect from the customers because you’re showing them that you appreciate their input.

Make It Pretty

Creativity is the key when you’re using Instagram. Make sure your images are visually appealing and relevant to the message you are trying to get across. Instagram has also recently started allowing users to record and post short videos. You can also upload videos that you have made outside of the application giving you more creative control. However, at the end of the day, whatever you’re posting has to be visually appealing otherwise people will not be drawn to it. If you’re not sure whether or not the direction you’ve chosen to go in works, just ask your customers. If you’re really looking for some ideas or a visual direction you want your account to go in, check out these creative users.

Plan Your Attack

Lastly, one of the best ways to use Instagram to your advantage is to learn what already has been working. Trackmaven recently released their findings on what practices the Fortune 500 businesses on Instagram were using. This includes what filters they used on their visuals, what time they posted and where they found the most success.

Instagram, when used properly, can be a great weapon in your marketing arsenal, and the best time to start with it is today. Don’t be afraid to play around with the application and make it work towards your advantage.

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