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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Digital Media Marketing: Instagram for small business

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  • By Heidi Sheppard, Propel Marketing
    With 200 million monthly active users, Instagram is a social marketing tool that shouldn’t be overlooked.
    Owned by social media giant Facebook, Instagram is a photo and video sharing application that allows users to interact by liking and commenting on posts of people or businesses they are following. In the past six months, the application gained 50 million new users. It’s safe to say that Instagram is now sitting at the “popular” table in the social media lunch room.
    So why should you be using this network to market your small business? The answer is simple: you would be crazy not to!
    Besides being free to download, Instagram is easy, fun, and effective in terms of spreading brand awareness to your most sought-after customers.
    How is Instagram easy?
    Can you snap a photo and pick an attractive filter? Then you are halfway there! Now you just need a catchy tag line and hashtags that appropriately represent the photo, and you’ve got yourself an Instagram post.
    You can get playful with it, or you can be professional. Just remember to keep a consistent tone when it comes to the voice of your brand.
    How is Instagram fun?
    Aside from just showing pretty pictures, Instagram offers an opportunity for brands to get customers playing along with contests, quizzes and more. Who doesn’t like playing a game where they can win free pizza or maybe even a new watch?
    Freestyle, a watch company, ran a contest where they asked their followers to post a “watch selfie” using the hashtag #myfreestylewatch. The winner of the best photo was able to choose any watch from their new collection. Customers then posted photos of themselves with Freestyle’s watches to their own Instagram feeds, effectively marketing to their friends while entering the contest.
    These contests keep followers engaged and coming back for more, and have the capacity to reach well beyond your brand’s network to the friends of your followers who participate. With 9,000-plus followers, Freestyle Watch must be doing something right. Take note.
    Besides playing games and winning prizes, Instagram is fun in general. Are you interested in fashion or fitness? Instagram is full of both. Maybe cars are your thing? You guessed it, Instagram has an abundance of photos, users, and information for you (literally) at your fingertips.
    Warning: Instagram can be addictive!
    How is Instagram effective?
    Instagram is essentially word-of-mouth marketing in fast forward. Naturally, we trust our friends and family, and with the use of social media we can see first-hand who they follow and what they “Like”.
    This capability not only builds up trust, but influences consumers to take action 70- 84 percent of the time. With those statistics alone, Instagram is not a social platform any small-business owner should ignore. Studies show that 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information than text alone. Instagram is the name of the game when it comes to shared, visual content.
    Page 2 of 2 - Now that you know Instagram is easy, fun and effective, are you ready to dive in? You have nothing to lose but many followers to gain!
    Propel Marketing is an online marketing company providing digital solutions to local small- and medium-sized businesses: www.propelmarketing.com.

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