How to leverage Instagram for your small business

Instagram has emerged over the past couple of years as one of the most popular social mobile applications around. With 80 million users and counting, the photo-sharing and editing app has been widely adopted into the mainstream, so much so that Facebook acquired it for $1 billion in April 2012, according to Social Media Examiner. With such a wide and varied audience, and continued growth on the horizon thanks to Facebook’s considerable resources, Instagram is clearly here to stay. The social app can even be leveraged effectively for small businesses as a unique and creative way of branding and promotion. Here are some tips on how to turn Instagram into one of the most cutting edge marketing strategies for small business.

Use it or lose it
The first benefit that small businesses can derive from using Instagram is to simply use it. According to Flowtown, using it shows that your business is ahead of the curve on social trends, which will gain interest from customers and respect (and possibly envy) from your professional contacts. Experiment with the many filters to give your photos a unique look that conveys what you want the photo to say about your brand. Most importantly, remember that customers aren’t expecting professional photography (unless your company is a professional photography business) so have fun with it.

Go behind the scenes
Social media has done more than practically any medium to show consumers what really goes on behind the scenes at retail outlets and businesses. Instagram can be the best way to do so, as a picture is worth a thousand words. Social Media Examiner recommends letting followers in on the origins of their favorite products produced by your company by taking snapshots throughout the manufacturing process. Additionally, if your company is about to launch or promote new products and services, let viewers take a peek behind the curtain of the promotional process. Taking photos of commercials or photo shoots can give consumers a taste of celebrity and the media zoo.

Engage with fans
Strengthening bonds between consumers and your company is always a good idea, and Instagram provides the perfect avenue for doing so. Invite your followers to post their own Instagram photos of your products in use. Flowtown suggests retweeting these images could help create a sense of community among your followers.

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