If you're plugged into today's digital world, there's a good chance you're familiar with the popular photo and video sharing app Instagram. But what you might not have realized is that the app, which has more than 500 million active users, is not just a way for friends and family to stay connected but also a powerful platform for e-commerce brands to grow their audiences and boost business. To learn more about how you can harness the power of Instagram for your company, check out the following tips.
1. Be Consistent With Your Imagery
Each individual Instagram photo has power, but the overall look and feel of your Instagram profile matters too. Make sure you are consistent with your photos in terms of subject, color, brightness, filter, etc. This can help you shape your brand image and help people to get to know what your company is all about. Reef's Instagram is a good example of a channel that has a consistent aesthetic, with beautiful surfing and beach photos to help promote their brand.
2. Showcase New Products
You can build excitement about products that are coming out down the pipeline from your company by sharing photos of them on Instagram. Include the release date of the products and where people will be able to buy them. Sharing sneak peeks helps build buzz and makes people feel like insiders. Paige Denim does this well by showcasing items arriving in the coming season.
3. Give a Behind-the-Scenes Look
Build customer loyalty by pulling back the curtain and giving them a look at the behind-the-scenes operations of your business. Show how a product is manufactured -- like this Louisville Slugger bat production photo -- or a how a concept is born. Another great way to show followers what happens moment to moment at your company is by using Instagram's new Stories feature, which allows you to post less-composed, more in-the-moment photos that disappear after 24 hours.
4. Introduce Team Members
Give your company a personal face by showcasing employees on your Instagram. Share a photo and a little bit about who each person is, or show group photos to give people a sense of your office culture, like Derek Lam does regularly. Making your company more personable makes them more approachable, and someone it is easy for consumers to engage with.
5. Share Endorsements
Do you have high-profile clients or customers? Share photos of them using or owning your products, or have them record testimonials. Lululemon successfully harnesses endorsements on Instagram by sharing videos of elite athletes who are brand ambassadors, to build brand reputation and credibility.
6. Promote In-Store Events
If you're an e-commerce brand that has brick-and-mortar locations, you can use photos to encourage attendance at in-person events. To get Instagram users even more excited to come into your store and buy, offer them exclusive Instagram deals -- like the Frye Company did for the fifth birthday of their SoHo store.
7. Hold Contests
You can boost engagement with your brand on Instagram by holding photo contests, like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf regularly does. To hold an Instagram contest, give users a photo subject then offer a prize for the best photo (e.g. a discount, free item, etc.) Create a contest hashtag, then have users post photos with that hashtag to enter the contest. Require entrants to follow your Instagram page in order to win. You can boost the number of followers your page has and inspire creativity in your potential customers while you're at it.