Not too long ago a reader asked me how to use Instagram hashtags within a social strategy. Well even before she asked me that question I was thinking of a bigger question: In which ways can a marketer use Instagram in social media marketing?
Here are 9 key points in marketing with Instagram. Since marketing is not holistic for any company, product, or situation, I encourage you to read these points and comment below if you want to expand on any ideas raised, or especially if you disagree. I am open to anyone’s thoughts and questions and will always respond quickly, with a value of One Billion dollars and 80 million users Instagram can’t be ignored.
1: Don’t rely just on Instagram
When forming your social media strategy Instagram is a great mobile marketing tool, but it is not the only tool. By design Instagram works best in conjunction with other sites. Especially visual friendly content sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook, as these sites also offer the best viral impact for sharing and discussing photos.
2: Involve your Community
As with any social media campaign not only should you reply on your own pictures, you should reach out liking and commenting on their photos too, especially if they mention your product or brand. As we have seen before customer service through social media can be a great way to retain a customer who is having a problem.
Create contests, scavenger hunts, and other promotions that encourage your community to display your brand on their photo feed and on their other connected social media networks.
3: Let Your Community See Behind the Curtain
Often examples of companies and people doing great jobs marketing with Instagram have a few things in common. They’re active, they post interesting pictures, they engage their base, and they show people the world beyond the faces at the counter.
Personally my favorite examples of this are:
4: Let Your Employees be Involved
As with any social media strategy your immediately accessible and most loyal brand evangelists are your employees. One great way to develop legitimate activity on your social media profiles quickly is to encourage your employees to participate. But don’t just encourage them to follow your company and like your images, encourage them to submit their photos too. This ties back into seeing behind the curtain, what is a greater way to let your community see behind the curtain than to have your employees submit their photos. Set clear guidelines on proper decorum, but work to make sure that the guidelines are not so restrictive that they stifle clever and creative contributions.
5: Popular Hashtags on Instagram are Dead
There I said it, someone had to say it. While hashtags are far from dead or falling from use in the internet, Instagram’s popularity is out pacing people’s ability to monitor these tags from within the app. Even with third-party monitoring tools these tags and their photos have a very short half-life before they’re replaced by another photo. If you’re a regular visitor to my site aptsonic.com you know that every month I update a post on the top 15 popular Instagram hashtags. This page is set up so that readers can easily copy and paste the hashtags into their Instagram captions. However from my own use of these tags I’ve noticed where photos that previously would have received 20 likes receive only 5 to 10. Therefore the use of generic popular hashtags on Instagram by companies and brands isn’t necessary. I’m not saying to not use hashtag your brand photos but instead use photo and promotion specific tags rather than cluttering your comment area with hashtags.
Individuals looking to promote themselves should and still use these tags as I do, but they should also focus on Instagram group hashtags and contest tags to gain greater recognition.
6: Create Your Own Hashtag and Engage People that Use it.
Creating, Using, Promoting, and Monitoring your own hashtag has some great benefits.
7: Geo-Tag Instagram Photos
The geo-tagging feature on Instagram was great even before the 3.0 update because on upload it gave the user the ability to transfer that location information to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare all at the same time. After 3.0 users can still geo-tag and upload their content but now the Instagram app also incorporates a photo map on user’s profiles displaying where the photo was taken.
Geo-tagging involves your communities on another level on multiple platforms at once. Using it can help you promote your event or your participation at an event in a great way. Beyond that restaurants, retailers, and any other brand can promote their location and their products in use using and promoting geo-tagged Instagram photos.
8: Find the Perfect Timing
SimplyMeasured has a fantastic study into engagement with Instagram showing which tags, filters, and times have the greatest correlation to comments on photos. From their work we can derive that the best time to post pictures for engagement is between 5-6pm.
The article is definitely worth a read:
9: Finally Play with your Photos