Instagram is another niche social network that launched in October 2010 and has many benefits for small businesses. Instagram is image based similar to Pinterest, and is easy to use and get creative with. All you need to do is snap a photo, apply a filter and share it with your networks, including Instagram’s own network. Just like on Facebook, users can “Like” and comment on your photos to increase popularity. The photo sharing app is currently only available for iPhones, but Instagram recently announced they are working on an Android app, which will enable its user base to grow exponentially.
Large brands are taking notice and are using it as a way to connect directly with consumers. From Starbucks- the largest brand on Instagram with over 250,000 followers- to Tiffany’s, brands are posting pictures in unique ways and gaining more exposure while creating a connection with consumers. Not only does Instagram create a bond with consumers and brands through pictures and the story they tell, it can also be used to run contests and campaigns.
This past fall, Ford held a six week long contest called Fiestagram to bring attention to the unique features of a Ford Fiesta. Users tagged photos with the hashtag #Fiestagram along with unique hashtags that highlighted Fiesta’s features such as #entry and #music. The photos were also featured on Ford Fiesta’s Facebook page and throughout billboards in Europe. Winners were awarded prizes such as iPads, and the grand prize winner won a Ford Fiesta. General Electric also ran a contest with the hashtag #GEInspiredMe to pick a winner to send to Wales to photograph an aviation facility. These contests saw tremendous response from the Instagram community, and helped gain awareness of their brand and products for a target demographic, namely fashion and tech trendsetters.
Instagram isn’t solely for well established brands. It can be used as an addition to the marketing mix for small businesses as well. From hair salons to restaurants and clothing stores, this image centered social network can help gain awareness for your business and products and help foster loyalty among your customers. We have come across a couple of our nominees on the ABC7 Bay Area A-List who have adopted Instagram to use along with other marketing efforts. Nuena Photography uses Instagram to show off her photography skills, and it’s amazing what she can do with just an iPhone camera. A new user of Instagram, Batter Bakery, shows off fun Valentine’s Day themed photos and baked goods that will make your mouth water.
Thinking about creating an Instagram account for your business? Check out these tips to start off on the right foot:
As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Imagine what Instagram can do to tell the marketing story of your business.
Are you on Instagram or know of a local business that uses the app in conjunction with their marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit: Michelle Haydu (MHaydu)