Instagram now has over 100 million users and there is no reason why your business should not take advantage of the most popular photo sharing app on the planet right now. If you get to understand why people use Instagram and the kind of images they share and like, you can equally make the most of the photo sharing app.

Most marketers are now learning how to use images and short videos to enhance their customers’ experience. The good news is that you can equally use images to tell stories your prospective customers can connect with.

Getting started on Instagram

Getting started on the Instagram platform is a fairly simple process. Sign up for an account. You should use same name as your Twitter handle for branding purposes, add a profile photo (e.g., brand logo) and link to your website.

You should also connect your account to Facebook and let your followers know they can also follow on Instagram. The difficult part is knowing what best to share and how to attract followers.

Instagram marketing in a nutshell

Beyond using Instagram to share photos,  you should connect directly with your followers and connections on other social accounts. Instagram can also be a great social platform for your fans to share  feedback, suggestions and comments on your products.

If your business maintains a blog, images you share can also be frequently shared on your blog. Don’t forget to connect with Facebook, allowing it to reach even more fans of your brand.

These are proven examples of how businesses are using Instagram to promote their businesses.

1. They tell stories with photos

You can start a month or week-long story with images. Share one or two images at a time to unfold the story. You can go a step further by  invites guest Instagrammers or fans to “take over” your account and share their own experiences and stories.

PayPal

PayPal frequently invites guest Instagrammers to “take over” the account and share these experiences. For example, Brooklyn based fashion blogger @keikolynn recently documented her shopping excursions using PayPal. Followers are encouraged to share their own adventures on Instagram using the #paypalit hashtag.

PayPal

2. They don’t over think, they just share!

Use  Instagram like an individual would use it. Don’t try to over think and just share some of the great, authentic business moments from your company.

Dig into your company’s past and share images from the company’s photo library. Encourage your fans engage as well by tagging related images with hashtags.

Maersk

Followers are encouraged to engage as well by tagging sightings of the company’s ships all over the world with #maersk, and the photos are shared by Maerk Line on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

3. Some brands start an Instagram challenge and reward fans

Encourage your fans posting  photos related to your brand or business on Instagram to use the your selected hashtag. Each week, you can select five or ten your fans shared using your hashtag and re-post them on your official account.

You can also pick one champion and share that image on your multiple social accounts. You can go a step further with  price for your winner. Figure out a way to get a lot more people engaged and sharing.

4. Others give users an inside look!

Images speak louder than text. The best thing you can offer your fans is an exclusive view of your what your business does inside your offices, events you organise and programs you hold.

@CNN welcomed Instagram to the world of video and took users inside a DC control room

@mtv chronicled their “road trip” through Brooklyn to promote the VMAs.

5. They allow fans to customise images!

Depending on the product you sell, your social media managers and interns can help fans customise some images they can share on their social platforms.

Nike

Nike (@nike)  introduced a new way to customize your NIKEiD experience using your Instagram photos. Through the Nike PHOTOiD experience, you can now choose your favorite Instagram photo, and PHOTOiD will customize the Nike Air Max model of your choice based on the colors in the photo. From there, you can immediately purchase or share the photo of your custom-designed shoe.

Nike

6.  Others take fans through the process!

Are you in the process of building a new product, mobile app or launching a new service. You could take users through the process and showcase some the images of the “build” process.

Heartwalk

Over the past months, Situ Studio (@situstudio) brought their followers along as they visited demolition sites of hurican Sandy to reclaim the wood. Users were able to watch as the wooden planks were transformed into a beautiful work of art- Heartwalk

heartwalk

How does your business make the most of Instagram, share with us in the comment box below.

Instagram success stories courtesy Instagram business blog