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How to Make Instagram Work for Your Business

What’s the big fuss about Instagram?

Well according to 300 million instagrammers sharing more than 70 million photos and videos each day (source: Instagram Press Page: http://blog.instagram.com/post/104847837897/141210-300million), Instagram is more than just a “selfie” platform. It’s a place to share and discover and make amazing connections with friends, family, celebrities and brands.

With Instagram being a 100% visual social media platform, it can be a tricky task for businesses to utilize it in a way that is more than just pushing products for sales. If you want to increase your presence on Instagram and truly create the ultimate user experience you should ask yourself what added value does this picture/video bring to my followers?  Product pushing simply doesn’t follow any consumer’s “What’s in it for me” attitude.

So how can you use Instagram effectively? Here are some tips to get your Instagram account to stand out amongst the competition.

  1. Showcase your followers using or interacting with your product/brand. “Real people” are your best proof that your brand deserves to seen and heard.  The use of hashtags has become a great way for businesses to search for terms people have used in their photos to be able to share these visuals.
  2. Be more than just your brand. Give your followers access into your brand that they wouldn’t normally get. For example, if you are a spa, show your followers how you’ve trained your staff to provide the best services possible by posting a few photos from some recent training they’ve taken. Or some fun “product testing” by videoing the staff trying out the latest nail polish shade. Make these images and videos light and fun in nature, not stuffy and overly corporate.
  3. Get your followers involved through contests! This is a great way to connect multiple online media channels to gain more followers and get interaction from your audience. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Tell your followers to post their images and videos using a certain hashtag to enter into the contest.
  4. Take advantage of hashtags. A picture is worth a 1,000 words so why not hashtag those words to describe your images and videos. You never know what someone might be searching for on Instagram so be strategic in the words you choose. And DON”T OVERDO IT! No one will ever search for the hashtag #hereswhyweloveusinghashtagsandwhyyourbusinessshouldbeoninstagram so be smart and relevant.

These 4 simple tips can help you to make your Instagram account shine above the rest and if you want some great examples of brands that have used Instagram successfully, visit this article posted by Mashable.com. Start following these brands yourself and see from a consumer perspective why Instagram works well for them. 304 million people follow The Ellen Show (Instagram: @TheEllenShow) – she’s got to be doing something right, right?