Photography specialist Instagram, with over 50 million users and now owned by Facebook, is the perfect tool for marketing your business with some simple, professional looking imagery!
The application launched as an iPhone app in Apple's App store on October 6, 2010 and was bought by Facebook on April 19, 2012 for $1 Billion!
Instagram is essentially a social network built around photography, offering a mobile application that lets people add a range of 18 quirky filters to their smartphone snapshots and share them on their social networks.
The app has a community/social network of it's own, where you can follow friends, as well as 'like' and comment on photos, however, the app also lets you share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and email. Instagram also allows you to label and categorize your pictures with a hashtags, which will help you track any picture via your social networks.
Instagram states their application is a 'fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family' as they attempt to 'recreate the instant and magical feeling that once surrounded Polaroid pictures.'
Often engagement online with customers can start with the simple act of publishing a photo and then sharing will happen. Instagram allows your venue to showcase your company to an audience of millions with a range of fun, effective imagery.
- Instagram has 80 million users
- Over 5 million photographs uploaded and shared daily
- Over 4 billion photos shared on the application to date
- Zero-revenue start-up company to $1 billion company in 18 months
- The Android release in April 2012 was downloaded over 1 million times in less than 12 hours
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
The first thing you will need to do to start benefiting from Instagram is set up your profile, you will have to do this on a mobile either Apple or Android. Simply enter a valid email address, select a username, decide on a password and upload a display picture.
Now, here's a few tips on how to make the most out of the application and implement it effectively into your social media marketing...
1. PERFECT, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
It is often said 'An image speaks a thousand words', how true that is! People prefer colourful, exciting imagery to a bunch of words on a page. This is definitely the case with social media marketing, as it is said that users pay more attention to the cover photo on Facebook than any content on your timeline.
A study conducted by Facebook that analyzed journalists' Facebook Pages, found posts with pictures were much more popular than posts without them. Photos received 50% more 'likes' from viewers than text posts, and journalists who shared links with a thumbnail image recieved 65% more likes and 50% more comments than posts without photos.
By using Instagram you can showcase your venue or hotel and gain interest from your customers on your social networks. Say perhaps you have a new cocktail? Why not snap a nice picture of it, add a attention grabbing caption and an effective filter?
As a bar, restaurant and hotel, unlike an office, you have a physical environment that you need to sell to your audience. Instagram is the perfect application to help you do this and you don't need to be professional photographer either! Get your smartphone out, take some nice pictures of your establishment, the grounds, your products and menus, then share them on your social networks.
Finally, image-based social network Pinterest, is a perfect platform for promoting your Instagram photos. To see my other blog post on 'Pinterest marketing for venues and hotels' click here.
2. NEW 'PHOTO MAPS'
Last week Instagram launched an update of it's application where the most talked-about adaptation of the app was the implementation of 'photo maps'.
This allows users to 'geo-tag' photos on a map displayed on their profile, making it easy for users to browse photos by location, versus scrolling through a person’s stream.
Therefore, this enables you as a bar, restaurant or hotel owner/manager to categorize and promote your different venues around the country.
So, if you do have several venues under your brand, geo-tag the pictures you take in 'photo map' with the location of the company. Adding these photos to a photo map will then allow your followers to browse photos taken in their own city or region!
3. SHARE, SHARE AND SHARE AGAIN
Make sure when taking photos with Instagram you share on them on all of your social networks. Sharing to the Instagram community is great but remember to tweet out your photos, post them on Facebook, Pin them on Pinterest and promote them on Flickr and Tumblr.
It is also a good idea to use a website that allows you to share your Instagram stream outside of the application, there are a number of these websites that allow you to do this since the company opened up it's API. I would recommended Followgram
Followgram creates a 'website version' of your Instagram, meaning you don't always have to use your mobile phone. Here you can browse your followers, view comments and see all your photo stream in one place.
Most importantly Followgram allows you to have a URL that links straight to your Instagram photostream which you can post a link to on other sites. This helps you promote your profile as well as generate more followers!
In conclusion, whenever you are taking a photograph for your venue, whether it's of the garden, the bar, or simply a pretty product, you should be considering Instagram.
Here's a few last tips to remember before starting:
- Share your Instagram photos to all of your social networks for maximum exposure
- Build SEO by naming photos with keywords, including alt tags, using the apps editing features.
- Why not run an Instagram photo competition for your brand and implement with Twitter or Facebook?
- Make sure to connect with your customers on Instagram - this is another form of engagement!
- Always remember to use geo-tagging if you have more than one venue
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions please tweet me @beeliked and feel free to follow :-)
BeeLiked will be integrating with Instagram shortly to bring you all the pictures taken at or near your venue! Check it out and request a trial...here.