Every online marketer knows that social media is here to stay, and that it’s practically a requirement for an effective Internet presence. However, with so many social networks out there, it’s hard to know what will work for your business.
Even Facebook isn’t a guaranteed channel choice any more. A recent report from iStrategy Labs, a digital marketing strategy company, found that over the last three years, more than 3 million users in the 13-24 year old demographic have left the reigning social media platform.
So where should you focus your social media marketing efforts? If what you’re doing right now isn’t working, you might want to consider giving Instagram a shot.
Instagram: The Social Media Frankenstein
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A funny thing happened in 2012. Facebook paid $ 1 billion for a little photo-sharing app called Instagram that wasn’t making a profit, and had already picked up a lot of ridicule for being nothing more than a way to lower the quality of images and call it “retro.” Speculation abounded, especially after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg offered a bizarre comment on the purchase: “[A] billion dollars isn’t cool. Spending a billion dollars is.”
While it sounded like the company simply flushed a billion dollars down the drain because it could, today it looks like Instagram was a wise investment. There are now more than 200 million users on the platform—many of them the teens and young adults that deserted Facebook—and over 140 million of those users are logging in every day.
Instagram may owe its popularity to its structure. The platform is basically a blend of the two most popular social networks: it’s centered around images like Facebook, and hashtags like Twitter. And casual users aren’t the only ones taking notice of the growth at Facebook’s adopted network. In 2013, the use of Instagram to promote brands grew by 80 percent, with powerhouses like Nike and Coca-Cola leading the way.
Tips to Use Instagram for Your Business
Promoting on Instagram isn’t much different than using other social media platforms. An effective Instagram strategy revolves around understanding what your audience wants, and giving it to them. On Instagram, it starts with an image.
Like any marketing campaign, your images shouldn’t revolve around your products or services. Instead, look for related images that are entertaining, engaging, or even inspirational, and find a way to relate them to your brand. Pair them with hashtags that people commonly search for, and you’ll start to grow your presence.
Here are a few more tips for maximizing your Instagram presence:
- Take better pictures. You’ll need a good supply of images, and using stock photos can get expensive quickly. Instead, start learning how to take great pictures with your smartphone.
- Fill out your bio. Use the Bio section on your Instagram profile to fill people in on who you are and what your company is about.
- Experiment with image editing. The better your images, the more followers you’ll attract. Try out the filters included with Instagram, and consider checking out online image editing apps like PicMonkey or Lumie to create unique and engaging photos.
- Post pictures with text. Internet memes tend to spread fairly quickly—but make sure you really understand the meme before you try to create your own contribution. Otherwise, you’ll turn off a lot of viewers.
- Don’t forget your people. Posting pictures and brief stories about your team or your customers is a great way to create connections with Instagram users.
Right now, Instagram is a hot new platform with a lot of activity, and plenty of opportunities for savvy companies to promote their brands. Consider Instagram to revitalize your flagging social media strategy—what will you post?
Image via Shutterstock