What is Instagram?  Similar to Foursquare, it is an app that gives users a place to share, like, and comment on photos.  The app’s community grew to over a million users just within the first three months of being released.  Now, Instagram boasts 100 million monthly active users.  Because of this, brands have begun to think of Instagram as another branch that they can expand to to get an even greater exposure.  An influx of companies have recently come to use Instagram, and are using the app for contests, giveaways, among other marketing tactics.

More brands not only have an account in Instagram, but they are posting up to 20 or more times a month.  With this extra bout of social media exposure, they have successfully increased engagement and followers.

Because of the visual nature of Instargram, many brands have used Instagram to market their company image.  Naturally, companies with a visual-driven product or service offering will have a much easier time using Instagram to the fullest.  Some of the best industries who want to showcase a “behind the scenes” look at what they do will do very well using the app.  Some of these industries include:

  • Food and Beverage
  • Hospitality
  • Entertainment
  • Fashion
  • Design

As an example as to how well some companies are utilizing Instagram, here are some examples of companies who are doing an excellent job at it.  These brands have been able to gather upwards of hundreds of thousands of followers, due to the tactics they used to engage with their fans:

Starbucks

Starbucks

 

Starbucks is sporting over 1.2 million followers, and they have reached such a following due to user-submitted photos mixed with behind the scenes photos of coffee roasting, their equipment, the original pike place location, and other photos that help to engage those following the coffee giant.

http://instagram.com/Starbucks

Red Bull

Redbull

With over 700,000 users, how did the energy drink company gain that sort of following?  Red Bull posts exciting, high-energy photos showing a quantity of adventures and stunts.  The photos shown on their Instagram profile supports the brand’s tagline, “Red Bull Gives You Wings.”

http://instagram.com/redbull

adidas Originals

Adidas Original

What makes adidas Originals different from the main adidas company on Instagram, is it showcases photos of new merchandise alongside photos of the different ways that customers can use the adidas merchandise.  With this form of visual marketing, it has netted adidas Originals over 630,000 followers.

http://instagram.com/adidasoriginals

American Express

American Express

The success of American Express on Instagram is due to the fact that they have capitalized on their card rewards by showcasing “exclusive experiences, news and rewards.”  The photos that are posted on their profile show the food and entertainment side of American Express rewards.  Photos also include behind the scenes charming pictures at the American Express HQ, like taking your kids to work day.

http://instagram.com/americanexpress

Instagram Benefits

People are very visual creatures.  With users spending so much time browsing pictures, and a brand is displaying one of its pictures in their feed, then we know that that company will remain in the user’s mind.  In turn, this could lead to the user becoming a follower of that brand, and will have a higher chance of conversion.

This leads to CTA, or Call To Action.  By plugging in sales promotions, promo codes, new products, contests, and more, followers can actually respond.  Some will say that by attaching deals to their Instagram photos, followers will more than likely stick with that brand.

Instagram gives it’s account owners the opportunity to add links and Calls to Action.  There is an option in every Instagram profile that allows you to provide a URL, which is clickable.  But, as of yet, you still cannot place individual links in captions and comments in each photo, although the app supports hashtags.

Instagram is a great way to humanize any faceless brand.  Instagram, among other forms of social media, gives the brand a way to place face to the name, such as the “behind the scenes” photos.  This allows people to view the brand differently, and get a better idea of what a company is really about.

Other benefits that come about from Instagram includes Social Media integration, which allows account owners to share pictures on the company Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, or Foursquare accounts as well.

Photo Enhancements are great because it can give brands the opportunity to make their images have the look and feel of something vintage.

With the introduction of Instagram, companies have been given so much more freedom to be able to show off their brand image, as well as products or services.  With the ability to focus on photos, it can give that once “cold and faceless” company a warm and human feel that they couldn’t do before.