instagramLaunched in October 2010, Instagram became an immediate success story.  Instagram users were able to quickly and easily turn a plain photograph into something spectacular.  Although Instagram became a favorite for camera bugs,  it was never imagined that the service would become a powerful tool to be used in social media marketing.  Three years later, Instagram now has 54% of the most popular brands like MTV, Burberry, Audi and Nike using the social app to leverage their brand.

Instagram is not a marketing resource for just the big brands. If you operate a small business, Instagram can be used to gain the necessary momentum needed to capture the attention of the market segment that has an interest in your product offering or services.  How can small businesses or start ups Instagram their way to success?  The process is simple.  Here are a few tips will have you on the right path to successful Instagram marketing.

  1. What is everyone else doing?  Before opening an account, see how other Instagram users utilize the service.   Spend some time doing research.   Watch how  savvy Instagram users leverage the service for both personal branding and marketing of their products or services.   Will their process work for your brand?  By monitoring popular Instagram users,  you can strategize and develop a careful plan as to how you want your brand to be represented in a unique way.
  2. Show the human side of your brand.  Include behind the scene photos, pictures of customers enjoying your services or include any work that your company is doing in your community. You don’t have to make a sales pitch to get attention and support; creativity and ingenuity will go a long way.
  3. Hashtags are everywhere!  When posting photos to Instagram,  make use of relevant hashtags.  Utilize hashtags that can help increase your chances of your photos being viewed by your desired demographic.   But, be careful and tread lightly.   Any misuse of hashtags can carry your brand in areas where there is no real interest in your brand or what you have to offer.
  4. Where’s your content calendar?  Like any other  social network you use as part of your social media strategy,  your Instagram marketing strategy should include a content calendar. Once you have determined the best content to post on Instagram, establish the most opportune times to post your content.   Posting bad content – or posting  too often – will cause your followers to be annoyed and become disinterested.
  5. Show off your Instagram content.   Use Instagram badges on your website and blog. These badges help website visitors find your Instagram content quickly and easily.   This also aids in helping your website  visitors learn more about what your brand represents.

The most important thing you can do to help your Instagram marketing strategy become successful is to post relevant content on a regular basis.   Don’t spam your users and make sure your Instagram content puts your brand’s best foot forward.