What is Instagram and how can it help my business?

instagramInstagram has been around since 2011 and started as a way to quickly snap a photo, use their cool editing filters and put those pics out in the unfiltered world.  Instagram allowed its users to post photos without having to send friend requests or worry about much of anything.  But then in 2012 Instagram was purchased by Facebook and the bar started to rise.  Suddenly there were more cool filters, video capabilities and sharing between Facebook and other Social Media sites became easier and people started to jump on the bandwagon.  The users grew from teenage girls and college kids to movie stars, sports teams, TV Shows and businesses.   On March 25, 2014 Instagram announced having more than 200 million active monthly users beating out Twitter in terms of number of mobile customers in the US.  They also shared the fact that Instagram had already surpassed the ’20 billion photos shared’ mark.  Instagram became a household name.

So what is Instagram?  Here’s what google says:

  • Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr

With 200 million users out there, how can it help my business?  Good question!

  1. Showcase your business, showcase your merchandise

Facebook has friends, groups and pages.  Instagram’s feed is unfiltered and can be seen by anyone.  People (or let’s say ‘Shoppers)’  have a plethora of content available from friends and businesses they follow, and chances are – they want to see what you have available for sale!   So, keep your smartphone close and snap often!  Remember this, snap now, edit later if you need to.  You would be amazed at how wonderful a quick photo can look on Instagram!  A great way to advertise a new product, a new shelf placement or just something fun.  Once you become a pro, you’ll be snapping and posting with no real interruption to your day.

2.  Showcase yourself!

Everyday photos are a huge hit on Instagram.  Snap a photo of an employee with a new or fun product.  Better yet, have your employees post a photo on their Instagram showing the store, various products  or a special event.  Use the many cool filter effects to turn a quick snap into something that looks professional.

3.  Take Instagram behind the scenes

Shoppers get a warm and fuzzy connection when they get a taste of what everyday life is for store owners and store employees.  Share a few photos of trade shows, your participation in charity events,  trips to market, a video of food parings, etc.  Do whatever is relative to your business.  Let the customer know who you are [with limits of course].

#4.  # Hashtags !

What are they and what is their purpose?  I’ll let Wikipedia have the honors:

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (“#”). It is a form of metadata tag. Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram may be tagged by putting “#” before them,[1] either as they appear in a sentence, (e.g., “New artists announced for #SXSW2014MusicFestival”)[2] or appended to it.

Hashtags make it possible to group such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. A hashtag is only connected to a specific medium and can therefore not be linked and connected to pictures or messages from different platforms.

#anyquestions #thatWASlong #annoyed #didNOTreadthat

Create your own hashtags to interact with your customers using your store name, a catch phrase, a charity event or a product name.  Make it fun and take advantage of this opportunity to reach new customers while staying connected to your current customers.  A great way to promote sales, events, products.

Take advantage of the CAPTION section by directing shoppers to your website or Facebook page where more information can be found. Don’t forget the videos!  A quick video from a customer or a video walk around the store or product demonstration videos are all great marketing tools.  With one click your photo or video capture can be pushed to your Company Facebook Page.  This gives you double coverage for the same effort.

Instagram is a fun and easy way to promote your business!  Get started today!

Good luck!

last try eye

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