The number of Instagram users has surpassed 150 million people recently and so it becomes harder and harder to ignore this platform.
However, the results of the research performed by L2 Think Tank Company are even more interesting. These results showed that Instagram allows online shop to attract customers in a more efficient way (25% more efficiency) than other social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Users of this application for publishing and sharing photos grows by 900 percent annually starting from the moment of its release and is composed of approximately 70 % of women and 30% of men according to a research company studies.
Popularity of this application can be partially explained by the fact this is a native mobile platform and it is almost entirely visual, which is a really winning combination if to take into account the rise and popularity of visual social media that became apparent after other visually-oriented platforms such as Pinterest have ushered in visual marketing (no kidding).
So, no doubt Instagram is a serious tool to advertise your business online, but what are the ways to promote a business?
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Here are 4 ways to use Instagram for the benefit of your business:
1. Run an advertising campaign or a contest
It’s never too much of a good especially when it comes to user generated content, and the best way to increase the amount of this content is an advertising campaign or a contest on Instagram.
For example, if online awareness of your brand is not as high as Nike or Starbucks brand awareness, an advertising campaign on Instagram can be a great way to stimulate your customers to share photos of their purchases and to show that they like most about your brand.
To start a campaign like this is really easy:
● Decide on a right motivation – users need to get something really desired for participating in a campaign;
● Decide on a Hashtag for your advertising campaign – this Hashtag must be more than ordinary and simple at the same time so that it would be easy to remember;
● Come up with a topic for your advertising campaign;
● Create the content and upload it into the Internet.
Fortunately, there are lots of different tools that will simplify your life when it comes to running advertising campaign or contests on Instagram, in case you are ok with not using Instagram API for sharing pictures from application through other channels.
We recommend considering at least the following ones:
A great example of a brand with successful marketing campaigns on Instagram is Michael Kors. The company held the contest in which users needed to upload into Instagram pictures of their watches with a #mktimeless hashtag, and the prize was one of the three limited edition timepieces.
Here is the example of a participant’s picture:
Holding such contests is a great way to promote your Instagram account, make it more interesting and valuable for your audience, to advertise your business online and attract new customers.
2. Add pictures made by users to a product description
It’s a great idea to show your current and potential users that your products are not only popular, but also regularly bought thanks to a well-known psychological phenomenon called “social proof “ – the concept that explored in more detail in this article about the psychological triggers that can increase sales.
The very core of the this phenomenon lies in the fact that people tend to like what other people like, especially if those people are somehow connected with each other. So why not provide your potential customers with pictures taken by real buyers who use and love the products you sell, in addition to the standard glossy photos and product images?
Here’s a great example of how this concept looks in action on the page of Free People:
To add users’ photos to product cards try using Olapic, one of the services that have been already mentioned in this article.
3. Show what’s happening “behind the scenes”
There is nothing that attracts customers as enabling subscribers to show what is happening “behind the scenes”, and giving them a chance to put the “Like” or leave a comment. It’s like inviting someone to a dinner – the feeling imbued with loyalty to the brand, or at least a step in the direction of greater openness, which is so essential to buyers and provides a wealth of opportunities.
For example, Threadless Company gives its Instagram subscribers not only an opportunity to look at the company’s office “from the inside”, but also to find out how the print is printed on their shirts. Getting “behind the scenes” is about more personalized users’ experience, something that makes a lasting relationship between the brand and the users and is very valuable to the last ones.
4. Show your product catalog “on the move”
Certainly, you may continue making pictures of your products for online product catalog on a white studio background, but Instagram provides you with a possibility to creatively showcase your products in the context of real life. This allows your subscribers to see the products in an environment that they can compare with the reality of their own lives.
For example, Nike takes the first place in the list of brands on Instagram and they demonstrate the latest sneakers model as it is an episode from a real life that has been photographed and uploaded on Instagram. In this way Nike provides subscribers with a possibility to like and comment the picture.
Think about how your customers interact / wear / show your products, and use this to make interesting photos for Instagram.
We hope these tips will help you to make the first steps on the path to success on Instagram and will allow you to benefit from the opportunities of attracting buyers, which is provided by this platform.