Marketing Visually with Instagram and Maybe Advertising Soon?

Instagram_Logo_2013It was only a matter of time before Instagram, a photo-sharing and video-sharing social network, delved into the world of advertising.

What does this mean for small businesses? Right now, it means absolutely nothing since the Facebook-owned site is handpicking the companies it allows to advertise in an effort to focus on images by well-known brands and businesses that can afford to produce high-quality photos.

However, it’s not too early for any type of business to get ready for the possibilities of advertising on Instagram or take advantage of existing marketing opportunities available through the site.

What You Can Do to Get Ready Now

Like established social media giants Facebook and Twitter, it’s a safe bet to assume that Instagram will allow other businesses to advertise on the visual social network. The concern on the part of the powers that be at Instagram, apparently, is that advertisers will opt for stock photos and lower-quality images that distract from user-uploaded content.

Instagram is looking for businesses that already have a significant social presence. To get ready now, establish yourself up as a reliable source of post-worthy images.

Mix Original Photos Into Your Content

If you take a look at Pinterest, a visual-based site similar to Instagram, you’ll notice that original photos, even the clearly staged ones, generate more interest than recycled stock images. This doesn’t mean that you have to hire a professional photographer. Even a good cellphone camera can take decent pictures.

While you can usually get away with using some stock art, it’s a good idea to stick to original photos to attract more interest across your existing online marketing platforms.

Marketing with Instagram

Just because Instagram is picking and choosing the businesses that can advertise on the social site right now it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for marketing purposes. There are already millions of active users on Instagram browsing photos and contributing their own photos and images. Effective marketing with Instagram should include:

Creating a Profile – Since November 2012, web-based users have been able to create a profile. In terms of SEO, this is a good thing for marketing since it gives you some text to work with in addition to the brief captions you can add to images.

Engaging Your Audience – Simply ask your followers from your other social platforms to upload photos or images related to a contest with a common hashtag. This is a way to invite participation and establish your brand name without hitting people with a sales pitch.

As with other visual-based sites, the marketing possibilities are nearly endless. You can easily post photos to promote an upcoming event or upload photos of happy customers at your place of business or using your products.

The more creative you are, the more interest you’re sure to generate. As long as your relevant areas of text are optimized for search engines, you’re likely to find interested browsers.

Even though you can’t advertise on Instagram unless you’re selected by the site, you can incorporate the social network into your online marketing efforts right now. Remember that people tend to want to share images more than plain text. The more ways you can visually get your message across, the more of an impact you’re likely to have on the very same consumers you want to attract.


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Jennifer is a writer at Crowd Content and creates content for several marketing related blogs. To work with Jennifer and other great freelance writers, create a free client account at Crowd Content today!

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