Sunday, July 27, 2014

Making the best of Instagram

Instagram is a relatively young social network, compared to some others. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and inaugurated in October 2010.

These gentlemen are now proud multi-millionaire stakeholders in Facebook after Facebook paid a whopping $1bn in cash and stock for this young site in April 2012. Ever since; Instagram has been growing faster than Facebook.

It remains a very interesting and growing medium of connecting with your already socially engaged friends or followers and in the case of a business, clients and potential customers. Millions of people visit the site every month and over a billion photos are liked on the platform every single day.

According to a ranking published on the 3rd of June by eBizMBA.com, Instagram is the 72nd most popular site with estimated unique monthly visitors of over 100,000,000 and as at the time of writing this, Alexa.com ranks it as the 33rd most popular site in the world, while a similar service known as Pinterest is the 27th most popular site. This goes to prove the rising popularity of photo sharing and image based social networks.

People love pictures. It is often said that pictures speak a thousand words and this has been proven true time and again. Recall the last time you visited your favorite social network; pictures and other images posted by those within your social circle attracted you the most.

A Social Media Marketing Industry Report says that 42 per cent of experienced marketers plan to increase their use of Instagram (up from 38 per cent in 2013).

As a unique and unparalleled social media site, Instagram offers both its users and businessmen alike the wonderful opportunity to use their mobile phones for taking interesting photos, antiquating them with the help of vintage frames and camera filters, and then sharing these among their friends, fans and target audience on their personal or business Instagram account including the option of sending to other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

As a popular platform for online marketing, Instagram has acquired a special status among worldwide B2B marketers, business people as well as savvy individuals.

Experts unanimously agree that Instagram has a great marketing potential for the enhancement of your brand’s human value. Instagram can be readily used for sharing highly valuable information in a pictorial form and for making profitable connections at personal level with other users and businesses that share a common interest.

If you are yet to learn the works associated with it, you need not really worry as you will soon be looking at some best practices in Internet marketing by using Instagram for lead generation and the promotion of your business.

Today, compared to images; consumers are driven more by content. Yet, the vital mistake made by B2B marketers is that many of them apply strategies related to content in photo-sharing. This is in itself a rather costly hazard.

When you attempt to create images for content marketing and social media, it is important to ensure that they also possess a visual appeal in order to draw the attention of and influence your prospects through Instagram marketing.

Before you make a quick attempt to snap and antiquate your photos, it will be necessary for you to identify the following:

• The specific audience you desire targeting and what their precise wishes are.

• Best possible marketing strategy for engaging them through your photos.

• What exactly inspires people and makes them talk about the photos and your business.

Since Instagram happens to be a site for photo-sharing, it cannot be purposely used for marketing online videos. However, your brand image can still be leveraged using Instagram as well as for reaching out to your audience.

There is hardly any need for becoming dead serious or rigid, as a little bit of good humour will go a long way in providing your customers with something that will be memorable and thought provoking when they think about it.

You really need to be highly creative and proactive with Instagram marketing, especially if you desire to keep your audience well engaged as well as foster a true spirit of long lasting loyalty.

There are several proven ways in which Instagram marketing practices can be effectively used for creating emotional and personal connections with a diversity of consumers who may have a keen interest in your brand as well as product or services. Yet, it may not be totally correct to simply presume that Instagram solely stands for showcasing a catalogue for your product or service; the site’s a lot more than just that, anytime!

While researching for this piece, I stumbled on an interesting case study published by Forbes.com, of how a direct marketing nutritional supplement company called SHREDZ, founded by Arvin Lal, used Instagram (with over 700,000 followers) to become a multi-million dollar company.

Here is the interesting aspect, the company earned $90,000 in 2012 (the first year of its operation), $5m gross revenue in 2013 and already topped $2.7m through the middle of March in 2014.

What makes those numbers more impressive is that Lal and his team have achieved such remarkable revenues without any outside invested capital; only 21 employees (most of them living in-house within the SHREDZ office, which is a converted apartment complex) and purely digital promotion (emphasis mine).

This is the sort of the success stories I expect to see in Nigeria as the influence of the web grows.


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