How to Market on Instagram

Written by Alexa Frank – Marketing Intern

You may have heard of it, or maybe you’ve seen the pictures. Instagram is the latest trend in photo applications. Recently, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion and it has now become the fastest growing social media trend hosting over 40 million users. Impressive right? So, what’s all the buzz about?

It’s an easy way to feel like you’re creating something artful and meaningful. Instagram is a free photo sharing program that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter, and share it on a variety of social networking services including on Instagram. Instagram’s built in community enables users to leave “likes” and comments giving off the sense of appreciation. Who doesn’t admire a beautiful picture or a good laugh? People like to visualize things. They want to see what you’re doing or where you’ve been. Instagram allows just that. Previous social networking sites, like Facebook, have made photos a huge part of our life; Instagram is just taking the next step. Below are some pictures you might come across using the hashtag #Chicago.

So how can this help you market? Instagram can help to highlight new uses for your products. It enables product owners to take creative pictures using different products and show their friends. This increases awareness and engages prospects and leads… or potential buyers. Another way companies can use Instagram is by challenging its followers to a contest. This could entail taking photos with your favorite product or a unique way to use a product. The possibilities are endless. Then, encourage the participants to add a certain hash tag that you provide to allow your product to ‘trend’, and encourage people to vote on their favorite photos. You could even provide a prize incentive to participate.

Additionally, Instagram can be incorporated into events. Companies can encourage people to capture their experience at an event and add the hash tag you provide. This creates interaction, increases awareness of your event, and allows your event to ‘trend’. Furthermore, by hash tagging your product or event your increasing your SEO… all for free.

Here’s a great example of marketing on Instagram. Saks Fifth Avenue invited shoppers to come into their stores armed with smart phones and find one item they can’t live without. Then they had to photograph it with Instagram, tell everyone what makes it so special and why they want it, and by including the hash tag #SeeUAtSaks, they could win $1,000. Brilliant.

Whether you’re on Instagram or not, your customers are. Why not make Instagram another avenue to form connections? If a picture is worth 1,000 words, Instagram provides a level of market research worth a few minutes of your time.