Marketing on Instagram: what really works for companies?

May 27, 2013


How brands are already using Instagram

Instagram is well-known for being a simple way to post pictures, but now companies are realizing its great marketing potential. Instagram reaches a wide audience. It provides a great collage and gives you the opportunity to promote anything your company is currently doing, from products and employees, to services and customers.

For example, Juicy Couture is putting fashion front-and-center along with the use hashtags to link their products to events, models, Hollywood stars and magazines. This not only reinforces the Juicy brand, but effectively brings in fans from other feeds. If they tag @metmuseum, people who are fans of The Met, but haven’t yet “followed” Juicy, might see something they like because of a simple hashtag and become a converted follower.

Sharpie, on the other hand, does not merely share traditional advertising methods on their Instagram account; they have invented a Sharpie “comic strip” feel. Each image is hand-drawn, and mostly submitted by followers, making them unique and intriguing. Their strategy of showcasing how their products can be used to inspire creativity is definitely inspiring their fans to visit and submit their own artwork to the Instagram feed.

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Ways you can market with Instagram

Instagram can also be used as a platform for photo contests which creates a constant engagement with customers. Most companies simply ask users to use a particular hashtag for the contest and all entries are tagged. Then, picking a winner from the tagged entries is a breeze.

Also, companies can use Instagram to reward followers. If you want to reward your followers for sifting through your images and captions, you can easily include promotional codes for followers to use. There’s nothing more fun than a little game of hide and seek with your customers to keep them excited about your products. Kohls is a good example of a company using these promotions on Instagram.

Companies like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citi Group all have Instagram accounts, but there are no images currently on their accounts, leaving users wondering why they are even signed up for Instagram, if they aren’t using it for imaging or marketing. While they could be simply parking their name (so no one else can have it to avoid the destiny companies like Dillards have endured as their names have been used by every day people), reserving their space at least merits a “coming soon” photo.

The takeaway

Instagram is becoming a tool creatively used by marketers and non-marketers alike, and building an audience is being effectively done through creative image sharing, hashtags, and mentions, but mostly by being relevant and capturing potential fans’ attention for more than one image at a time.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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