Instagram has pretty impressive statistics: over 130 million monthly active users, 16 billion total photos shared, 1 billion daily likes and 45 million photos per day. The numbers are only growing now that the owner, Facebook, has thrown video into the mix, crushing Vine in the process.
People with really interesting cups of coffee aren’t the only ones using Instagram; 54% of brands are on the site with 25% posting at least one photo a week. According to Simply Measured, the brands that have adopted Instagram as a platform in August 2011 have seen month-over-month growth, creating a huge gap between them and other brands that are not on the social site.
Here are a few tips on how to use Instagram for YOUR brand:
1. Get your followers involved
Put the social back into social media and interact with your fans. Ask them to share their own content and then #regram it or create contests to engage your audience. The brand Starbucks is a good example of a social brand. It says right in their Instagram bio to tag photos with #Starbucks, and over 3.5 million people have done so. Starbucks then shares the photos on their Instagram and Facebook pages to finish off the social loop.
2. Show how your product is made
This can apply to pretty much any brand. Show a t-shirt getting printed, someone roasting coffee beans or the creation of an engine. Take little snap shots of the product from start to finish and let the fans see just how much love goes into your product. Louisville Slugger does a good job of this. As you scroll through their Instagram photos you’ll see a block of wood, an unfinished baseball bat, a worker dipping the bat in color and then a major leaguer hitting a homerun with Louisville Slugger in hand.
3. Give people a behind the scenes look
When people think they are getting an exclusive look at something, they will continue to come back for more. And if you put those exciting buzz words like “first look”, “exclusive” or “behind the scenes”; you’re doing even better. Burberry does a great job at giving fans an exclusive look. Their Instagram features images and videos from backstage at fashion shows, photo shoots and even the making of their collection.
4. Show the company culture
Give your fans a glimpse into your world and share your brand’s voice. Show them who your employees are, what your office looks like and even what snacks your team is having during break. If you let people in to your world they will better connect, engage and stay! Urban Outfitters does a great job of showing off their brand’s culture. The chill, down-to-earth vibe of their Instagram pictures has captured fans and gotten Urban Outfitters almost 850,000 followers.
As you can see, the social site can be used for more than filtered pictures of food and sunsets, it can be used as a platform for brands to engage with fans and show people what a company is all about. Images speak louder than words, so pick up your IPhone and start Instagram-ing some ‘like’ worthy images for your brand.
-Angela Martin is a senior studying strategic communication. Follow her on Twitter @_angelamartin.