Can (and Should) You Use Instagram to Boost Your Mobile Presence?
Instagram has definitely established itself as a solid social network slash photo sharing app. It currently has over 100 million users sharing billions of photos daily and it managed to attract the attention of countless celebrities and companies, including Facebook which acquired it for a whopping $715 million in cash and stock, thus proving all the more that Instagram isn’t just some novelty photo application.
Yes, Instagram is undoubtedly one of the hottest and top apps right now, and it clearly has an active and engaged user base. The app has also helped various businesses, websites, and individuals to get more exposure and engage potential and current customers. The question is, is it right for YOUR company?
To answer that question, you need to take a look at two things: the type of business that you’re in and who your customers are. If you deal with a lot of vibrant colors and things in your industry (i.e. if you’re in fashion or event planning) then Instagram could be a great marketing tool for your company.
Regarding customer base, Instagram usually caters to females who are 30 years of age and below. According to Mattan Griffel who cited Appdata, 68.2% of Instagram users are female. When it comes to their ages, 23.5% are under 18, 34.4% are between the ages 18 to 25, 30.7% fall between 26 to 35, 8.2% are 36 to 45 years old, while 2.1% are between the ages of 46 to 55. Less than 1% of Instagram users are over 55. (Data as of May 25, 2012).
Based on the above statistics, if you have a lot of customers that are below 35 years of age, then you could probably use Instagram to effectively forward your brand.
Test the waters
Of course, research and data can only take you so far. If you really want to determine how effective Instagram can be on your marketing campaign, you need to see it for yourself. Test the waters. If you don’t already have an Instagram account, start with a personal profile and observe the types of people and the kinds of images being shared on the network.
Ask yourself about the types of pictures that you could share. Can you see your company thriving with the app? You can also do a search for similar businesses using the app and see what they’re doing to engage users.
If you decide that Instagram isn’t a right fit for your business, then just carry on with your other efforts to engage customers. Don’t force yourself to use the app if you don’t want to or if it isn’t a great addition to your marketing campaign. This will only do more harm than good. Remember that Instagram isn’t for everybody, and if your audience or business doesn’t jive with the app, you’re better off focusing on other tools and tactics.
However, if you do discover that Instagram can help your company reach more users and gain exposure, check out the following tips below on enhancing your social and mobile presence using the popular photo sharing app.
Connect Instagram to your Facebook Page
Once you create an Instagram account for your business, the first thing you should do is link it to your company’s Facebook page. This will allow you to easily share your Instagram pictures to your Timeline, saving you time and effort.
To connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page, go to your Instagram app and navigate to the Sharing settings (Profile tab > Edit sharing settings). Tap on Facebook, and click select “Post to” in order to choose the business page that you want to connect. When you do this, you will be able to seamlessly share your Instagram photos directly to your Facebook Page.
*It’s important to note that this feature only works for the iPhone app at the moment. Instagram has not released an Android update yet to support Facebook Page posting. To learn more, visit the Instagram support page here.
Leverage your current fan base
Not being an early bird to Instagram has a huge advantage: Since everyone is already using the service, it’ll be easier for you to find and gain followers. Tap into your current fan base and invite people to follow you on Instagram. Post tweets and Facebook updates urging fans and followers to follow your brand.
Quick tip: It would be best to post a couple of interesting photos first, before inviting people to follow you. Your Instagram page would be much more enticing if it already contained a bunch of images.
Don’t just point and shoot
When posting images to Instagram, stick to high quality and sharable images. You need exert some effort to make your images look beautiful. Think about the angles and colors of your images before posting. Remember that people use Instagram to share and discover interesting images, and if you keep sharing low quality pictures, your fans could end up unfollowing you.
Also be sure to make your captions count. Use relevant keywords and hashtags when they’re applicable to boost the social discovery aspect of your account.
Enhance photos with other apps
Need to add more oomph to your images? Can’t decide on which images to post? Then consider creating a collage out of them. Use collage generators or photo stitching apps such as PicFrame, Diptic, or PhotoGrid to post collages and photo combinations.
Set up your location page
If you have a brick and mortar store or if you’re business has a physical address, be sure to create a location page for your company on Instagram. This will allow people to cite your location whenever they post pictures from your address, thus allowing you to gain more exposure.
To help you add your location, Instagram’s support center lists the following steps:
1. Download and sign up for Foursquare from the App Store: http://bit.ly/lx9vzb or on Google Play.
2. Go to the Check-in tab and search for the name of the place you want to add
3. Tap the "Add this place" option
4. Once you've added the place to the Foursquare database, you should be able to search for it on the Location screen in Instagram and select it to tag your photo with the place you've created
5. Upload your photo, then tap on the place name (in blue text) that appears above your photo to see the location page you've created, where your photo and all photos tagged with this location in the future will appear.