First things first, you may be curious as to why the biggest social media giant in the world would be interested in investing their money, in what at first glance appears to merely be a straightforward mobile photo sharing app. Well my little ‘Instavirgins’ I’m going to tell you exactly why!
The free Instagram app, although initially available exclusively to iOS users, has now been offered to all android smartphone users. Much like Facebook and Twitter, one has to create an account with a username and password in order to post photos and edit them with the filters, and creative tools which enable all you budding amateur photographers out there to literally let their work of art ‘speak’ for themselves.
Dummies guide to advantageous ‘instagramming’ in a business domain
1. Privacy schmivacy
Businesses can benefit from utilising this app as it encourages the user to openly share their whereabouts, by the geolocation check-in tool. To avoid time consuming individual posts on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr, your Instagram account can be interlinked with each of your social networking feeds, resulting in your images and visuals reaching a wider audience. So…the moral of tip number 1…being shy gets you nowhere in the world of social networking!
2. A story without words
For those of you who aren’t the next Charles Dickens, Instagram is all about the visuals. Images often speak for themselves, and more often than not prospective customers nowadays are more receptive to visual imagery than text of a descriptive nature.
3. Your online scrapbook
Although arguably more light-hearted and informal than its rivals, Instagram can be used to create albums of photos which can often showcase your e-portfolio with examples of your work. Take a picture of your work in progress or you sat at your desk deep in thought (aka sucking your tummy in and posing), it provides a relaxed window into your business.
4. A talking point
Even if you use Instagram on a more personalised basis, for example taking a snap of a beautiful landscape, something inspiring or something which has made you laugh, share it with like-minded people. You’ll be surprised at how one image to some people, can be meaningless and irrelevant and to another a talking point and worthy of a mention or a comment. It’s likely to increase your customer interaction while enabling people to empathise with your brand and evaluate you as an individual.
5. Professionalism at risk?
Taking a picture of your dinner may have been irrelevant to customers in the 20th century…..but hello! What century are we in? Whether it’s a meal, a picture of your kids birthday party or those pair of shoes you’ve wanted for literally years…share it! No one is going to think twice at the thought of you being allowed a life outside of business hours. Putting a face to a business creates a notion of trustworthiness, and sharing your pride and joy, whether it’s your kids…or those new shoes helps to personalise your approach to business and just goes to show you’re a genuine human being.
6. Sharing is caring
The more you are seen sharing material, the more willing people will reciprocate. Adding to your showcase portfolio of pictures on a regular basis increases the likelihood of customer acquisition but also creates that ‘buzz’ that gets people talking.
It really is as easy as that!
As with any social networking site, when utilised correctly, it can be so much more than just a communication tool to gossip with your friends (let’s face it…we all do it!). The key to Instagram is to not take it too seriously, this app was created so you can have fun, and sometimes what can be most beneficial is letting that privacy guard down. Allow your clients and prospective customers to get a behind the scenes look into your business. You’re appealing to their inquisitive nature, and in turn you let your personality shine through and utilise Instagram as a subtle marketing tool. I’m not going to mislead you by telling you it can increase your sales…because quite frankly…it may not. What it will increase, perhaps more importantly, is your likability, and that for me, on a personal level, is imperative when establishing a business relationship.
What do you think? Is Instagram merely a play app? or a useful business app?
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