The online marketing world can generate tremendous results for small business marketers. Using content marketing, Facebook videos, and Tumblr microblogs has enabled many entrepreneurs to compete effectively with businesses which might have much larger marketing budgets. One overlooked area in the online marketing wars is often Instagram. Originally thought of as merely a photo sharing site, this online outlet has morphed into a social marketing powerhouse.
Instagram now has over 300 million users who loyally post over 70 million photos and videos each day. eMarketer estimates that in the U.S. alone 77.6 million people will access their Instagram account at least monthly, with this figure expected to pass 100 million people, or nearly one-third of US residents, by 2018. Brand engagement seems to be strong on this platform, outperforming that of even Twitter and Facebook. Usage is particularly strong in the younger demographics, especially in the key 16-24 age group, and response is almost instantaneous, with the majority of comments coming within six to thirteen hours after the initial posting.
It is important to have a steady stream of useful, quality content to garner attention on this social media outlet. Here are a few tips that can help small businesses attract more prospects on Instagram:
- Quality Counts: Use high-quality, interesting photographs and videos that quickly tell a story. Keep captions brief, and let your visual images do the talking. Don’t get too busy in your photos; instead use plenty of white space or a dominant color such as blue to attract the viewer’s eye.
- Include Hashtags: This will make it easier for potential prospects to find your business or product.
- Make it Easy to Find You: If your business relies on foot traffic, be sure to include a location in your Instagram posts. This makes it easier for customers to find you, especially those who are searching for an immediate need using a mobile device.
- Don’t Forget Videos: Although the majority of Instagram communications is still through photos, it is also possible to make a strong statement with a video.
- Don’t Just Focus on the Obvious: It might be useful to include a few visuals of your product or service in action, but don’t just focus on self-promotion. Go behind the scenes of your business to offer interesting insights, show how your product is manufactured, or even demonstrate why you decided to start your company in the first place.
- Get Others Involved: You can bring in satisfied customers or guest commentators, and ask them to provide unique visuals. It might be worthwhile to even ask employees to submit photos in order to provide a different perspective.
- Capitalize on Events and Holidays: Your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Include photos of local events, or show how your product is used during various holiday occasions. This will also help amp up the organic search potential.
Stay engaged and updated on your Instagram account, so you always have something fresh to offer visitors.