The rules for success in the Instagram community as with any social network platform are very simple. Audience engagement, providing relevant and valuable content, and positive contributions to the community are the very basics.
As your follower base increases and your business is gaining traction as far as recognition goes; enhance this by utilizing creative ways to make your business stand out. However, even if your business is brand new to the Instagram community you can still start out strong and continue on that momentum. Here are a few ways you can stand out as a business with Instagram:
- Showcase your events: This is not only effective in drawing an audience but with a little strategy your brand could be recognized for and associated with certain things of interest. Also, attendees can use designated hashtags to follow and share your events on Instagram. Another important thing to consider is adding Instagram on every piece of marketing material. Maximize every opportunity to reach an audience.
- Utilize promo codes: These can be used as rewards for followers of your brand. Promo codes will help to ensure that you have a steady stream of users interacting with your brand. Everyone likes a good bargain so frequently provide valuable promo codes and they will keep coming back for more.
- Turn your customers into stars: By featuring your customers having relevant associations with your brand, you will be creating a comprehensive picture for the world to see and experience. This type of customer highlight gives way to brand credibility that is priceless. It also helps to personalize your brand as well as maintain consistent user interest and interaction as long as customer highlight is a regular feature.
Whatever product or service you are promoting, a targeted audience is important. The 130 million users that are on Instagram will most definitely need sifting to identify and select those who are relevant to your business or marketing objectives.
Everything from your business profile to marketing efforts has to be strategically designed and executed. It will require some creativity and definitely quality time but the rewards will make it worthwhile. Here are some ideas for reaching targeted audiences with Instagram:
- Using contests to garner attention: In reaching a target audience you will first have to get noticed. In getting noticed you will need to grab the attention of as many people as possible so that you can eventually refine the lot. Photo contests are great tools for accomplishing this. These contests entail informing the community of the hashtag that applies to the contest. This is what they would use to tag their pictures.
- Utilizing Instagram Profiles on the web: This app allows individuals to access your Instagram business profile via devices such as a personal computer or laptop. By utilizing this tool you will be reaching a much larger audience.
- Interact and make friends: Make your brand known and show that you are also an active contributor to the Instagram community. Make friends with not only your target audience but also with the very brands that your target audience is following. This is also a good way to study your target audience so that you can effectively engage them at all times.
Since its inception in October, 2010; Instagram has come a long way indeed. What started as a photo sharing social media platform has now incorporated video sharing as of June, 2013. Also, whereas iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch were the exclusive devices to utilize Instagram; Android phones now have access as of April, 2012. Let us examine the growth and development of Instagram:
- October 6, 2010: Instagram was released.
- December, 2010: Instagram had one million registered users.
- January, 2011: Hashtags were added.
- February 2, 2011: More funding received to increase its net worth to $25 million.
- June, 2011: Five million users.
- July, 2011: 100 million photos uploaded.
- September, 2011: Version 2.0 for the App Store (iOS) was introduced. Over 10 million users.
- April 3, 2012: Android version was released. Also, new funding was received which valued Instagram at $500 million. Users totaled more than 30 million.
- April 12, 2012: Facebook purchased Instagram for $300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock which totaled approximately $1 billion in stocks and cash.
- May, 2012: More than 1 billion photographs uploaded.
- December 17, 2012: Controversial Terms of Service caused Instagram to lose some of its members.
- January, 2013: Photo IDs requested for verification. Also, the BlackBerry O.S. 7 devices would no longer have Instagram access.
- February, 2013: Over 100 million users.
- June, 2013: Video sharing was introduced. Videos up to 15 seconds can now be uploaded.
- August, 2013: 130 million users.
Competitions or contests used as Instagram advertising tools can be leveraged in ways that are only limited by the depth of the imagination. As far as competitions go, Instagram provides a unique opportunity for brands to steer an audience in their marketing direction. Competitions can take the form of video contests or photo contests.
- Budget: This is important in helping you determine the extent of the competition as well as the type of competition that you would be able to promote. Stick with simple options that ensure that the competition is easy to enter.
- Using hashtags: Include the name of your brand in your hashtag. Leverage this by requesting that users register. In so doing, you will be adding even more names to your mailing list.
- Crowd-sourcing or crowd-shooting: Ask users to submit pictures, in real-time; that are specific to a topic or theme that you put forward. Ensure that the hashtag for the project has the name of your brand. This will help to imprint your brand on images and keep it circulating for as long as the pictures are shared. Also, it should be very easy for users to share their pictures.