Instagram, one of the darlings of the social media world, has proven to be an amazing success for its owners, with Facebook buying the company last year. Instagram’s founders aren’t the only one’s finding success through the social network. It’s users are also finding that Instagram has proven to be a key ingredient to a complete social media profile online, while others have created a network of interesting apps built around Instagram to enhance the overall experience of using the app.
While Instagram is best-known (sometimes unfairly so) for vintage-coloured photos of people’s lunch, it has also been used as a marketing tool by small and large companies alike. Instagram has attracted companies as big as Starbucks, Burberry, Tiffany & Co. and National Geographic – and some of them have really managed to push the envelope with how they use Instagram to promote their products, their company, and even involve their customers in their story.
In no particular order, here are 5 creative ways in which Instagram can be used as a marketing tool:
Showcase Your Customer
One of the best way to get your customer’s engaged is by making it about them. They’re more inclined to share content, take part in online campaigns, and market your product for you if they know there’s something in it for them. No one did this better using Instagram than Tiffany & Co. The US jeweler launched a campaign – What Makes Love True.
Through the campaign, it encouraged its Instagram followers to post photos to Instagram using the hashtag #TrueLovePictures. They’ve even taken things one step further by letting users upload photos directly to the site. A beautiful selection of user photos can be found on the website dedicated to the campaign.
Take The Customer Behind The Scenes
Another great way to use Instagram – since it provides a direct connection between you and your customer – is to take them behind the scenes. Instagram is the perfect tool to showcase a more private side to your product. By its nature, there’s something personal and intimate about the way Instagram works, and there are several ways companies can capitalize on that feature.
It can be used to display how the products are made. Another great way to take advantage of that personal feel is to introduce your followers to your team – post photos around the office, or even of the office itself. Club Monaco takes full advantage of this feature, with photos behind-the-scenes at photo shoots and inside their New York City headquarters.
Launch Instagram-Only Offers, Competitions & Promo Codes
To make your Instagram followers feel special, why not launch competitions and offers that are only available to them? With the use of hashtags, you can encourage them to spread the word about the competition on their own feeds, or even turn the competition into a photo submission affair – displaying the winning photos on your own feed. This plays in to the first idea – of making the experience all about the customer – and you’re bound to create a buzz when you do just that.
Display Your Products
This is one of the most obvious uses for Instagram, but you can get creative with something as basic as displaying your products. Starbucks has over a million followers on Instagram for a reason. Theirs is a beautifully curated gallery that will appeal to any coffee-lover, and they also encourage Instagram users to submit their own photos using the hashtag, #Starbucks. While they don’t feature those photos on their own feed, they’ve managed to create quite a marketing buzz on the photo-sharing social network.
B.Luxo, a vintage shop in Portugal, stepped things up last year when they debuted a fashion line entirely through an Instagram fashion shoot. The creative edge of using an iPhone app to display a new fashion line was a gutsy move on B.Luxo’s part, and it certainly earned them some attention in the process.
You can also use Instagram to display your products spotted in the wild. Tiffany & Co. is once again a company that has found a great way to do this – but then again when you sell gorgeous diamond jewelry, it won’t be hard to find beautiful photos of people wearing your products.
Share Your Company History
General Electric has found a fascinating, and educational way, to fill its Instagram feed. The profile description says it all “this feed features the groundbreaking research and technology that GE has been developing since the days of Edison”.
While GE isn’t necessarily the first company that would come to mind when thinking about exciting and creative uses for Instagram, they’ve really done an amazing job of putting together an extremely interesting feed. GE is proof that there’s really no limit to how Instagram is used, or by whom.
Are you just getting started with Instagram? Here are some tips and tricks on how to get more attention on Instagram to ensure a successful marketing experience.
Can you think of any creative uses for Instagram? Let us know about them in the comments.