In the age of digital devices, traditional marketing strategies need to be re-worked. Ads don’t work on our generation like they did in previous generations, because the world is so small now. Large companies used to monopolize their respective industries because they had the money to make giant ads…thus squishing the possibility of any competition.
But, the Internet is a beautiful thing. Its expansive reach has torn away at the previous boundaries of traditional advertising, and has allowed small business owners to reach people all over the world. Instagram is just one of the many devices that can help your reach.
If you spend anytime on Instagram, then you know that there are thousands of users who have used this photo-sharing app as a marketing tool. They have tons of followers, engage in conversations, and gain customers…for free.
I’ve been able to use this app for my business, and have gained a few clients from it as well, and I’d love to share a few tips on how you can accomplish this.
Really dig deep. Find potential clients by searching hashtags, and engage with them. Comment on some of their photos, “like” their photos, and start following them. For example: if I ran a blog dedicated to all things DIY Home Décor, I would search hashtags like: #DIY, #DIYProject, #HomeDecor, etc. and would spend some time looking at everyone’s images that were tagged in that hashtag. I would find a few people whose feeds either inspired me, or could possibly be inspired BY me, and start a conversation with them. Since I’m a photographer in Atlanta, I like to search “ATL”, or other Atlanta-related hashtags to find local people to connect with.
Allow Yourself To Be Found
You’ll never be able to grow your online following if you have private accounts. We all know that there are some weirdo’s online, so if you don’t feel comfortable having your personal account public, then maybe consider making a separate account for your business.
Also, experiment with tagging your own photos. Figure out what hashtags work for you, and make sure you use them so people can find you. (See a list of the top hashtags on Instagram here.)
Anyone can start their own hashtag. Let’s continue with the previous example and say you run a blog dedicated to DIY home décor. Maybe every Friday you typically post a tutorial. Well, snap an iPhone pic of that tutorial, and Instagram it and create your own hashtag like: #TutorialFriday
Even further, ask your followers to share their own tutorials on Friday and add their photos to your hashtag. You’ve just created a huge conversation.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Personal
Seth Godin swears by the “YOU theory”—marketing YOU instead of your business can take you much further. This sort of goes back to the whole shift in advertising. We don’t want to see a mega-superficial ad when sifting through our options before purchasing or committing—we’re looking for something to grab our attention, and more often than not, it’s about connecting with the person behind the business.
I’m constantly uploading photos of my dog because he’s a huge part of my life. My followers have come to love Blue, and they feel like they know me a little better by getting a glimpse into my life. We trust businesses more, and are more likely to use their services/buy their products when we feel connected to the business owner.
Share Good Images
Not everybody is a photographer, but I think most of us can tell the difference between a good photo and a bad photo. There are millions of Instagram users, and that equals a LOT of good photos. We need to stand out in the masses, which means we won’t get ahead with bad photos. The cameras in smartphones are SO good, and SO easy to operate. There are also a lot of good editing apps (for free!) to help make your photos look awesome.
Images via @paigefones on Instagram