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Has Your Business Hopped On The Instagram Train Yet?

Starbucks uses it. Audi uses it. Heck, even the President of the United States uses it. By now, it’s safe to say Instagram is among the primary social media tools available.

Since Facebook bought the photo-sharing app back in April (for a whopping $1 billion!), the number of users—and businesses—grew wildly. Today, there are more than 80 million registered Instagram accounts.

Why? The allure is simple: take a photo on your smartphone, choose one of 18 available filters, and you’ve got any ordinary cup of coffee, car, or landscape looking like a work of art. And, as proven through the astounding growth of Pinterest, consumers can’t get seem to get enough of visually-pleasing content.

So, why should your business get in on this photo-sharing, filter-loving craze?

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Whether it’s what you sell, what your office looks like, or who your employees are, people love to feel in the loop with brands they love.

Costing nothing but 60 seconds and a smartphone that you or an employee probably already owns, you can connect with customers on a more human, intimate level.

If you’re a car dealership, you may opt to use the app to showcase your showroom, the newest model arrivals, and even your employees. In fact, don’t shy away from including faces in your posts. With Instagram, it’s not only photos of your products—but the people behind your products—that just might spark a customer’s connection to your business (and ultimately make them want to visit you over your competitors!)

Connect With & Involve Consumers

Just like Twitter, Instagram’s hashtag feature is prime for categorizing your content, no matter how general or specific.

If you’re a Volkswagen dealership, for instance, using #vw in your posts will add your image to the mix of 392,070 photos that share the hashtag. Simply including a hashtag makes it that much easier to put your business in front of someone who loves your product.

Hashtags are also a great way to gauge brand engagement and loyalty. Audi, for example, not only uses its Instagram account to share its own eye-appealing car shots, but encourages Audi enthusiasts to use #instaaudi on their own Audi-oriented pictures. Using a hashtag specific to your business makes it simple to see just how many people are posting with your brand in mind. For Audi, it built quite a following; there are 2,900 photos with #instaaudi.

As with Facebook and Twitter, contests have become a growing trend on Instagram, and hashtags are a great tool for organizing submissions. Popular iced tea brand Brisk, for example, asked users to tag their photos with #briskpic.

After thousands of submissions, the winning photos were chosen to appear on a limited-edition can of Brisk. With just one contest, the company managed to build a wider customer base and distinguish itself as an accessible, personal, and just downright hip brand.

Ready To Get Started?

Go ahead and create an account! It never hurts to reach a new audience and tell your company’s story using pictures.

Simply download the app, create an account with your business name, add a profile picture, and even a description with a link to your website. Get the word out by sharing your account on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget you can always sync your photos to your other social accounts, too!

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Laura Bonawits

As a project manager at PCG, Laura Bonawits spends much of her time with Google Analytics, keyword research and color-coded spreadsheets. Outside of the office, she enjoys making handmade fabric dolls, experimenting with new recipes, and running along the beach or on trails.

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