Saturday, September 15, 2012

Working Smarter: Useful Tips on Using Instagram for Business Promotion

By guest writer Andrew Scherer

Social media has exploded in popularity over the past 5 years. Twitter and Facebook are bigger than they ever were, and newer sites like Instagram and Pinterest are gaining traction. 

Social networking is a very trendy industry. The tide of people and traffic shifts from one site to another in a matter of months, with only titans like Facebook maintaining a solid userbase. 

Take Myspace as an example. It was incredibly popular since its creation in 2003, but started to slowly lose users to other social networks over the years. Today, it's a shell of what it once was, even after several design changes were made in the hopes of attracting new users.

Today, the focus is shifting from primarily text-based networks like Myspace and Facebook, to picture-based networks like Pinterest and Instagram. More and more users are joining these types of sites, many of which do not allow advertising in a traditional sense. These sites provide an excellent opportunity for marketers that are willing to think outside the box.

Instagram, in particular, presents a great opportunity for business owners and promoters. Recently acquired by Facebook, Inc. in early 2012, Instagram is growing faster than ever. For those who don't know, Instagram is a photo sharing application, that allows you to take pictures, apply filters, and share the pictures through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare. It follows the basic model of social networking sites, in that users can acquire friends or "followers", which can always see the pictures posted, even outside of Facebook. Unlike most social networking sites, however, there is very little text used on Instagram. If you're a business owner or promoter who is considering an internet marketing campaign, Instagram should definitely be on your list of potential tools. It has a huge userbase, that is growing every day. There are several ways that you can use Instagram for business promotion.

Monitoring Public Image

While Instagram can be a good tool for direct business promotion, it can also be a valuable tool in monitoring the public image of your company. It is basically a network for people to share and discuss photos, and plenty of people post pictures of products, often with some sort of comment as to their opinion of the company/product. All you need to do is browse the hashtags on Instagram, and find pictures relating to your products/company. This will let you gather information, such as what hashtags are popular with your products, who is posting your product, and what type of content/pictures are they posting. This information can be invaluable in your marketing campaign, and it's free to gather!

Promoting Subtly

Instagram actively discourages posts that contain blatant self promotion. This does not mean that you cannot promote on Instagram, it just means that you have to be subtle about it. Posting pictures of your products in use is fine, as long as it doesn't look like a commercial. Ideally, you want to post something funny or interesting enough for people to start talking about.

Custom Hashtags

You should be tagging all your pictures with hashtags related to your brand. Once you've done this, you can consider adding custom hashtags on too. Get creative, and try to come up with one that is going to stick and become popular. In order to unleash the full potential of social network marketing, you need to appeal to the people and get them to talk about your product or business.

Run Promotions/Contests

Instagram can be a great tool to promote your business through contests and other promotions. Consider running a contest for the best picture containing your product, or something along those lines. Also, the Instagram community likes to be involved in decisions, so holding polls or other votes for potential new products, commercials, etc. might be a good way to subtly promote your brand. If you're considering running any sort of major promotion, it would be wise to contact Instagram first and confirm that you're following guidelines, just so you don't spend a bunch of time and effort on a promotion just to get shut down. 


Working Smarter acknowledges Andrew Scherer's contribution which is greatly appreciated. Andrew has been sent a complimentary copy of "Guide to Letter Formatting and Writing" which is given to all guest writers.


  1. Thanks for this useful tips and it is really a good idea and i love your blog post very much for your presentation and good stuff.

  2. Yes!! now a days instagram is the very effective way for your branding. Thanks for sharing this informative post.
    instagram shoutout


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