It seems like every three months, another website emerges, setting off a new round of fervor among entrepreneurs and established business owners: Am I using social media right? What will my Facebook strategy look like? Is my business tweeting enough?
Instagram is yet another way of connecting with the crowds; however, this go-around is the latest buzzmaker. In brief, Instagram is a fun, organic and intuitive way to get people excited about your enterprise’s events because it’s a medium designed to share excitement in an immediate way. Here are some solid strategies to make Instagram work for you:
Instagram speaks in images.
More and more, people are communicating complex messages entirely free of language through the use of icons, logos and photographs. Instagram was designed with precisely this in mind, so if you can let people know what your gala is all about in a visual way that needs no translation, Instagram can be a natural-seeming way to generate buzz for your products or services. In other words, if your customers look good doing business with you, Instagram is a forum in which you are expected to flaunt it.
Instagram puts customers in the mix.
If you define your business as a part of a greater community and not just a way to make money, many clients will not only connect, but they will also want to take part in the network you’re creating. Encourage your favorite customers to take and share pictures of themselves at your store, smiling over your stuff. It’s not only a great way to build the solid kind of customer relationships that make a great business great, it’s an avenue of implied word-of-eye credibility that few ad campaigns can match.
Furthermore, loading pictures of you and your crew taking care of business makes customers feel part of the experience on the other side of the equation. When regulars see you, your staff and individuals with a greater story to tell, they are more likely to want to see your brand flourish.
Your image will stay current.
One of the open secrets of marketing and publicity is to make sure your name is always on someone’s tongue. Instagram is a prime way to make sure this happens. Because the nature of Instagram is for its users to provide a constant flow of moments, you can use contests or in-store promotional events to encourage hashtagging of perfect photo ops with a visiting author, a fabulous new window display or the proud winner of a year’s supply of dog food.
Even more, you can use your own stream to add excitement to your special events before they happen, promoting a real-time feedback loop between your business and your clientele.
You never know who’s looking.
If there’s one thing we know about internet successes, they are quite unpredictable. The most market-researched, funded campaign can fall flat on its face while the right cat video at the right time can shift fortunes. Don’t force it — people know when you’re just pushing for shallow photo ops — but if you can encourage not only your clients, but also your staff, to translate their experiences at events into funny or provocative pictures, one of those moments might just go viral and win you the free publicity lottery.
Whether you are a busy independent retailer or own a large business, mastering social media as well as peripheral networks, such as Instagram, are key to being successful in today’s world.
In general, using Instagram is the perfect way to advertise your business because it doesn’t look like advertising; it doesn’t rely on costly, rigid promotional platforms and, most importantly, it’s fueled by sincere feelings.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing professional in Southern California. Her writing covers a wide range of topics, including everything from social media and web hosting, to fitness and beauty, to tech and manufacturing.