With over 300 million monthly users, Instagram is becoming a growing force in social media circles. More than just an application to share photos, users rely on the platform to identify trends while documenting daily life.

I personally love the way that you can tell a narrative with a simple photograph. Which is why I encourage every business owner to consider incorporating Instagram into their marketing strategy. The great thing is that you don’t have to be a great photographer-just someone with an eye for a really great story.

So what do you need to establish your brand as Instagram’s latest star? Here are some tips to get you started.

Know Your Audience

igbusinessAs with any form of social media, breaking down user demographics is essential to crafting your message. In the case of Instagram, over 90% of users fall between the ages of 18-35. Therefore, relevancy is a key factor for any company looking to make its mark. I recommend doing a search on how other major brands in your industry are using the app so that you can get inspiration for what works.

Hashtags are Your Friend

Instagram is all about simplicity. Which means that unlike Facebook or Twitter, hyperlinking is not available outside of your profile bio. So hashtags are a key way to reach new followers.

To get started, consider using popular hashtags like #tbt (throwback Thursdays) or #instagood (a showcase of a user’s best photos) to attract new followers. Then you can utilize the search function to identify any trending topics that you can tap into to communicate with users.

Understand the Power of the Photo

The beautiful thing about Instagram is that it’s purely a visual media. More than any other social media platform, users are looking for photos that speak to them. The best brand pages are the ones that routinely post beautiful, emotion-filled photos of their products and people celebrating moments.

Instagram_bkRemember, you don’t have to be the greatest photographer to achieve this. The app actually has a wealth of features (called filters) that give you the chance to take photos that could rival the works of Ansel Adams. Just make your pictures seem candid as opposed to being overly produced. Here’s my approach: http://instagram.com/bryankramer1

Understand the Power of Your Customer’s Photo

Hashtags are not the only way to identify trending topics, they can also be a great tool to finding people who are using your merchandise. Encourage clients to take photos of themselves using your products and services while using your company name as a hashtag (or tag your company). It’s always better when someone else talks about you! Plus, it’s a wonderful way to connect instantly with your satisfied customers via comments. You can even use tools such as Repost (Apple store app) to share your customer’s images on your own page. 

Reward Loyalty

The most popular companies on Instagram are those who reward their followers with exclusive content. Consider posting photos that give them a peek behind the scenes of your business. It’s a great way to leverage the intimacy of marketing through Instagram in building lasting relationship with your customers. And don’t forget you can reach out to your followers in a direct message with a question or simply thanking them in some small or fun way for being a loyal customer.

Key Takeaways

A social media platform boasting over 300 million users in one of the most visual media platforms in social, Instagram is a great way to use pictures to build rapport with your audience. To be successful, tap into trending topics while communicating with followers and watch your community grow.

 

This is part of the social fundamentals series, enjoy the previous articles in this series below:

The Top Six Fundamentals of Using Twitter

The Five Fundamentals to Using LinkedIn

 

Image Source: Viral Heat