A photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained 15 million users. There are over 15 million users, growing at a rate of 2 million users per month with users uploading 400 million photos in less than two years (60 photos per second). Ten percent of all photos taken by humankind were taken in the past 12 months.
Instagram is quickly outgrowing Foursquare, the largest mobile social network. 91% of US citizens have their mobile phone within reach 24/7. 25% of people in the US have totally abandoned their laptops for the exclusive use of their mobile device and downloading Mobile apps 10.9 billion times and are expected to peak in 2013. Brands on Instagram that have been successful include GE, Starbucks, GOPro, and Red bull that have been effective in spreading awareness and cultivating relationships with their biggest fans.
Why is Instagram so cool? Readers process more information more quickly from images than from text, and thus images drive more audience engagement than text content. The popularity of Instagram seems to stem from the fact that it allows you to tell a story through visual images. 70% of Facebook user activity is centered on uploading, liking, and sharing photos. No wonder they purchased Instagram in 2012 for better picture sharing and increased engagement.
OPEN UP TO PEOPLE
Show people what happens with your brand behind the scenes. Show photos of yourself with respected people that you are connected to or anyone else who inspires you. Post attributed quotes that are branded with your colors.That means put your Instagram username on every point of customer contact and ASK people to follow you. Include it on invoices, in advertising, marketing material, signage or anywhere else you know you’ve got their attention. Announce your profile at your local networking groups—Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, etc—and ask for them to follow you. Fellow local business owners are a great source of support. Get people closer to your brand. Introduce followers to your employees and let them see more of what happens behind your business. This can gain you a lot of trust from customers.
WHO TO FOLLOW
Use Instagram’s Explore tool to find people or brands of interest to follow. Try searching by both username and hashtag to see how the two options differ. You can always go to Profile → Options → Find People to Follow (as shown below) to connect with people you know or follow users suggested by Instagram. Try checking the suggested users every now and then, as the list is generated based on your Instagram activity.
Filters, Frames, caption, @tagging, #hashtags, geotag location, Tilt-shift teardrop for creating an illusion of depth, eye button to rotating picture. Users are posting lifestyle photos that are visually appealing. People love visual content and photos tell stories. Storytelling is crucial to the social success of your content, and the emotions associated with photos carry a lot of weight. HubSpot has been carrying on a caption content using Instagram that literally asks users to tell the story of what’s happening in the photos. Be sure to add a caption that includes your call-to-action. Include appropriate hashtags. Make sure the link in your profile sends followers where you want them to go.
Each Hashtag has its own page, and its own RSS feed where the photos with that tag are displayed. Research what people in your industry are posting by searching relevant #hashtags. This is also a good way to find new people to follow. Make a list of hashtags relevant to your industry. Use the Instagram Explore tab to research those hashtags. Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday. Popular hashtags include #iphoneography, #iphone, #bw, #flashbackfriday, #sky, #cat, & #dog. Check out this list from socialmediaonlineclasses.com for some other great ideas:
Leave constructive comments, start conversations, and be nice. Geo-Tagging your location to make it easier for people to find your account. Host photo competitions by submitting photos to competitions such as #instadaily. Instagram is ideal to share stories and allow followers some insight into you and your world.
Make use of apps and list of Instagram apps:
- Postagramapp.com-Send actual Integra postcards to your pall
- Printstagr.am-Mini books, teeny books, and posters
- Teenytile.com-Make teeny tile from your photos
- Stickygram.com-Fridge magnets from your Instaphotos
- Tagsforlikes.com-app comment to curate
- www.web.stagram.com-ideas for the best Instagram hashtags
- pixlromatic.com-more Instagram filters, Share photos on Instagram with #pixlr hashtag to get featured
- iconosquare.com-track Instagram stats
- bluestacks.com-use Instagram too and mobile apps on the desktop
- collec.to-complete Instagram API
- picstitch-create multiple split screen photos. good for before and after
- Instaquote.com-Add text to your photos
- flipagram.com-creating music videos
Your brand should maintain consistent posting frequency by posting at least 2 Instagram photos every week to see follower growth. Focus on posting interesting images with good production value and quality photography rules such as light, composition, contrast, geometry, emotion, and processing. Audience engagement and audience acquisition convert engagement into sharing. Post about yourself to get closer to your customers and potential clients by letting them see who you are! Snap a shot of Food or Drink. Show something especially delicious and immortalize it on Instagram. Make sure your scenery Be it rural or urban, photos of your surroundings can help you connect with your community. Post about a hobby of something you enjoy doing. Try posting something motivational with an Uplifting messages and image to brighten up someone’s day. Try taking a photo of a daily routine. Show people exactly what you do with a photo of a product you’re proud of. Take pictures of employees to put faces to your company. In the middle of a project? Take a photo to document your process. Even give people a glimpse into your office or studio with a shot of your workspace. Let your personality shine in your posts. Personal posts about things and people that mean a lot to you or things that can be linked to your brand will help customers feel more comfortable giving your business.
Search site:instagram.com “name of a competitor.” Search for competitors by typing this into Google: instagram.com #graphicdesign. Substitute terms related to your industry. Review the results and see which of your competitors have several followers. Make a list of these businesses so you can refer back to them throughout the course to discover tactics that you can apply for your own business. Now that you’re done, what have you learned? Is your industry well-represented on Instagram? Are any of your top competitors using it? Can you see the potential value it holds as a marketing tool for your brand?
You can learn more about Instagram filters here and check the most popular filters used on recent top photos here. You can learn more about Instagram filters here and check the most popular filters used on recent top photos here. The most popular—and most-engaging—filters vary over time, but Earlybird, Valencia, X-Pro II, and Amaro tend to consistently be among the top contenders. Cropping a photo is especially important, as it allows you to further define the focus of a photo and eliminate negative space or elements that might take away from the composition, creating a better visual.
Make it easy for people to follow you. Post a QR code in a visible place so people can scan it with their phones and offer them some incentive to follow you. No brick & mortar location? Put a QR Code on your customer touchpoints, such as invoices or your business card. Remember to put a Widget and Follow Button on your website. Go to Statigram and customize a Widget for your Instagram profile. Choose a Follow Button. Save the code for both and add it to your website or blog. If you don’t know how to do this, have your web admin do it for you.
If you’re looking for a super effective Instagram contest idea, try partnering with another business or influencer. It’s a great way to promote your Instagram contest to both of your audiences, and also share each other’s followers. Start by looking for a cool business to partner with, and then organize a 3-5 day giveaway where Instagram users are rewarded with prizes for following both accounts, and tagging their friends in the comments.