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Instagram = Insta-audience

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 / mRELEVANCE

The popularity of social media and the use of electronic devices is evident just about everywhere you look. From teens and twentysomethings physically attached to their smart phones, to adults unable to take a breather from work emails and phone calls, to the elderly who are becoming increasingly savvy with using all things web and mobile. In addition, the attention and value that consumers place on researching potential purchases, and investments via the web and social media is valuable to business owners. Most recently, businesses have taken the success of marketing their products and services on social platforms such as, Facebook and Pinterest, to Instagram.

With more than 300 million active users, a total of 38 billion plus photos shared, and an average of 2.5 billion daily likes, Instagram can be an effective marketing tool, if used correctly. The Instagram blog boasts that brands like Mercedes-Benz, Chobani, Taco Bell, Benn & Jerry’s and Levi’s have used the site to increase awareness of a product, or visit a company website.

Here is an example of how Instagram can work effectively for a business or brand. An Instagrammed image of the perfect Friday night outfit leads a viewer to click on the image to find out where the items came from, that viewer may then go so far as to seek the items out and purchase them. Instances like this, and the popularity of Instagram, and its images and short videos, have caused businesses to start using the platform to increase awareness, and sales.

In an earlier Ask Carol blog, we briefly touched on the significance of using photo-sharing sites, like Instagram to market your business. Here we will expand on that idea and offer five tips to include the platform in your own marketing endeavors.

#1. Social photo sharing sites are not about selling! Sounds a little counterintuitive, right? I know you are asking, “Why am I using this platform if I don’t want to eventually increase my sales?” remember, this platform is about sharing. Mix photos of interesting, fun experiences in the life of you, your business, and your employees, with your product, and you will give viewers a fuller picture of your business, and your interests. Look at it as a visual conversation you are having with visitors to your Instagram page, it’s a one sided one, but the opinion your pictures can form in the mind of the viewer can ultimately influence your business.

#2. Show off your goods! Does your business have cool visual elements that would make for great Instagram pictures? Share them. A beautifully put together living room could come up in a search for someone looking for interior décor inspiration, a wonderfully styled outfit could show up for someone looking for work outfit ideas, all of these things could potentially pop up in the feed of a customer you do not have yet.

#3. Use those hashtags and tag your location. The perfectly worded hashtag means everything on Instagram. Often times users search by hashtags when they aren’t sure what they are specifically looking for. The use of #woodfloors could easily expose your brilliantly designed interior space or carpentry work to a potential customer. The use of #tinroof could result in photos of expertly constructed tin roves or photos of the members of the B-52s… A good rule of thumb for hashtagging is to search for other popular hashtags and use those in your photo uploads. Tagging your location is also a good way to drive consumers to your business. This way, when new customers visit your place of business and take a photo there, you will be able to see all of the pictures that were tagged with the same location.

#4. Include links to your websites and other social platforms. You can add links to your posts on Instagram, however, the only clickable link for viewers is in the profile of the user. Be sure when setting up an Instagram profile for your business that you use the website field in the bio. Use that area for your business site URL. For posts to your profile aimed at directing viewers to your company website, be sure to hashtag that the link to your company page is in the profile. Make sure that the page you are directing viewers to is regularly updated, if not, you could lose followers by providing stale information.

#5. Share quality photos. Regularly posted pictures of you in traffic, a sunset, while pretty the first five times it’s posted, could become old news on the sixth time. Make sure that the content you are posting is relevant to the interests of your followers. Check out their pages periodically and see what they are posting to get ideas. One good tip about taking great Instagram photos is, don't use Instagram to take them. Photos taken by your device’s camera or even a digital camera photo uploaded to the Instagram profile traditionally comes out better than using the Instagram app to snap a pic. In addition, you must always remember that you are working with a small amount of space. Most viewers use Instagram on a smartphone, so don’t try to cram too much into that small space.

For more information on building your business using Instagram, make sure to Ask Carol! At or

Published by : Ask Carol
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