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Social media guides: how to use Instagram to promote your business

According to Hootsuite, Instagram now boasts over 300 million active monthly users [http://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics-for-business/], meaning that it’s far from just a platform on which to post mountain-top selfies and snaps of your supper.

With sponsored advertising now present on the Facebook-owned social media platform, opportunities to market on Instagram are increasing. Don’t let your business miss out! Read on for another one of our ever-helpful social media guides…

Mirror your current social media marketing plan

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the basics of the app, start to build a strategy that links closely with your marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. Set goals, work out how you’re going to measure them and then outline how you’re going to achieve these goals by drawing up a content strategy. Just because Instagram is a spontaneous medium, that doesn’t mean all planning should go out of the window!

Adapt your content to the medium

Play to the platform’s strengths. Instagram places an emphasis on visuals and instant gratification, so you need to stand out to the casual scroller. A good way of encouraging users to follow and share your content is by running competitions with fun prizes to offer but, unless you’re a fashion brand or a travel company, you may have to think outside the box a little more on this one. Whatever you’re marketing, try and establish a style that users will come to recognise over time. Use the same filters, or take pictures of your products against similar backdrops.

Use hashtags

Hashtags, as on Twitter, help others to find your posts when searching. Using ‘insta’ – for example ‘instafood’, ‘instagains’ or ‘instalife’ – can result in users sharing your posts and form an effective call to action.

Integrate

You may have noticed that you can publish Instagram posts to other social media sites, including Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare, as well as the usual suspects, for further content dissemination. You should also use photos from your Instagram account on your website or blog, to ensure that all aspects of your web presence are connected – according to Kissmetrics, 14% of “prestige brands” do this. If it’s good enough for them, it should work for you, too!

As with any other social media platform, there’s no set way of conducting a marketing campaign and, as these sites are relatively new, we’re still discovering how to use them to our best advantage. If you have any comments on how you’ve used Instagram to benefit your business, or if you’d like to ask us any questions about the platform, please comment below.

instagram logo copyright free Virginia State Parks by vastateparksstaff licensed under Creative commons 4


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