Many businesses are now using social media to market their business. What was once used as a tool to connect and communicate with others is now a tool that allows businesses to push their company message out to the masses. Social media is a great way to show personality, allow your following to know you better and meet your customer base where they are, which is through their smartphones. It can also work as a great way to extend your customer service by giving customers an additional way to reach out to you.
We discussed the importance of social media channel Twitter last week and how it can be used as a great way to market toward your specific audience. The wonderful thing about social media is that there are many other channels that afford you the ability to use it as a marketing tool. This week let’s discuss Instagram and how the image based platform can help your business.
What is Instagram? – A Crash Course
For those who may not know, Instagram is a free photo and video sharing social networking app for smartphones, which is now owned by Facebook. Instagram users can upload images or videos, sharing them with their followers. Users can also like, comment and share Instagram posts as well as post images and videos to Instagram Stories, a feature that we will explain in the next section of this blog post.
Here are some of the most popular features along with their definitions and how to utilize them.
- Instagram Stories – A feature that was added to the app in 2016, Instagram Stories allows users to post photos and videos that vanish after a 24 hour span. Similar to the app Snapchat, which also allows users to post content with a day long lifeline, the content shared to your “story” does not appear on you or your follower’s feeds nor does it appear on your profile grid. Rather your story and those your follow appear at the top of your feed. You can also see who has viewed your story.
- Instagram Live – This feature is Instagram’s take on the live streaming app, Periscope. Instagram Live gives users the ability to broadcast videos to your followers in real-time. Originally, the video could only be viewed during the duration of the live broadcast, however with new updates, it can be viewed for a span of 24 hours, similar to Instagram Stories.
- Instagram Direct – This feature allows users to share videos and/or photos with other users or a small group of users through direct messaging. You can access your direct messaging through the top right hand corner of the app.
How Can This Social Media Channel Help Your Business?
As mentioned in our last blog post about social media, it can be a tool to help a business do some of their best and most innovative marketing work. Because Instagram is such an image based social media platform, marketing there will be just a bit different. But the great thing is, it can be done!
- Develop A Recognizable Brand – Consistency helps your customer base remember you and not confuse you with other brands. An important rule of thumb is to use a consistent name and profile image. Changing your Instagram name and profile image on a consistent basis takes away your customer’s ability to recognize who they follow. All interactions and engagement with customers through Instagram will be accompanied by this image, so make it something professional and recognizable. Developing an image that will stick with users, can also help associate them with the services you provide, hopefully in a positive way.
- Your Bio is Important! – When Instagram users go to a specific profile, one of the first things that they will see (specifically read) is your bio. Make it short and sweet, but also relevant to what your business does. Your bio is also a great location to place the link to your company’s website. It encourages user click through, which can potentially lead to a customer purchase. Treat your bio as an additional opportunity to gain user interest. Additional pieces of information to place into your bio is your store location along with a geotag for specific directions.
- Promote Your Products with Creative Directions – Instagram is an image based platform, so making sure that the images you post are in great quality, unique and brand specific. This will help you stand out. If you are an e commerce business, images truly matter. Remember to look at Instagram as a marketing opportunity that can turn traffic into sales. Posting attention grabbing images can play a role in sales.
Additional Help from CRM
There are other ways to market your business and that includes customer relationship management software, most commonly known as CRM software. Social CRM brings a new element to CRM software because instead of simply dealing with data and information as it relates to customers, it deals with conversations. Here are some of the benefits that come with social CRM:
- Through social media, a business can quickly get company information out to users that are interested in a companys products.
- Follow conversations held through social media that take place between a customer and business.
- Customers can praise businesses of their choice by using social media to send out immediate responses. While this is a benefit for customers, bad comments can harm businesses.
Social media is a powerful tool, it allows for more transparency between a business and its customers. It also gives businesses a chance to truly develop their brands and show personality. Embracing social media for what it can do for your business and meeting customers where they are which is the internet, is a great way to get to know your customer base in order to market to them effectively.