To Instagram or Not

To Instagram or Not

The benefits of social media channels like Twitter and Facebook are abundant for small businesses looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and engage with customers.  Enter Instagram, a popular smartphone camera app that allow users to share photos online.  Consumers like Instagram because it includes simple tools called filters, which makes an image sharper, brighter, or crisper, or can add a multiuse of other visual effects; clearly part of its popularity. The final image can be quickly shared with on social media sites and websites.

So what’s is in it for companies to snap and share?  Here are six ways businesses can utilize Instagram:

Create Photo Contests – Encourage customers to take pictures with your products or to show in pictures why they prefer your brand to others. Try a “caption this” contest where participants upload a photo of their own and the community captions it for a chance to win prizes.

What An Invitation – Create a regular theme to your blog and invite your visitors to upload photos that align with the theme.  Link the photos to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to share with different audiences, creating online buzz and encouraging visitor engagement.  Fan favorites include news, holiday happenings, family photos and ‘where in the world are you?’

The Main Event - What better way to tell the world about your upcoming event than through fun photos? You can be more creative with this than text alone and Instagram gives you one more platform to share it on as well.  Use filters to change colors, hashtags to draw attention or turn a group of photos into a reminder notice, poster or postcard.

Showcase Personality – Instagram is built around the ability users have to personalize and show their individuality with creative effects so why not capitalize on this and show the character of your small business? Some businesses that have locations could upload visually appealing shots when posting their special sales, deals or promotions when sharing news with customers for an added effect.

Find Fans - Use Instagram to find customers who are already using your product or service and to connect with those who have similar interest and could be potential customers.

Tell Your Story - Want to tell your history without being boring and putting others to sleep?  Create Instagram photos or a photo collage to help communicate your company background. How was your business founded? What do you do? What are your beliefs or founding principles?

It is important to keep in mind that pushing out one-way photos about your business isn’t going to work and people won’t listen. Like all social media, Instagram is a two-way street: you must ask questions, be personal and engage others naturally by commenting on their interests, experience and adventures.

You want to encourage and entice visitors to your site or store – try Instagram and let us know what you think.

 

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    Mike Samson

    Mike Samson is the co-founder of crowdSPRING (www.crowdspring.com), the world's #1 marketplace for crowdsourcing creative. Prior to crowdSPRING, Mike was an Emmy Award® nominated Producer and Production Manager in the film and television production industry. Mike is a frequent speaker on creative crowdsourcing, small business and entrepreneurship. Mike has a BA in Mass Media from the University of Illinois and a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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