With the popularity of Instagram, it’s hard to believe that there is a photographer out there that doesn’t use the widely popular app. But, are you using Instagram effectively to market your business or just to post pictures of your puppies and kids? As a small business owner, I am always looking for creative ways to market and do so inexpensively. Instagram provides you with many options.
If you’re one of the few who have shied away from this fun little photo app, or if you are one that is looking for new ways utilize Instagram to market your business, read on…
The Instagram App itself offers its users many ways to alter your image, with frames, filters and a blur tool. In fact, the beauty of the app is that it is so easy to quickly tell your stories through photos, but how can your pictures stand out in the sea of little squares?
Hashtags are found in the caption area of the photo being uploaded and provide a way for people to find your images and create instant little communities. Some commonly used hashtags are: #selfie (a portrait of oneself); #latergram (a photo taken in the past and not necessarily what you are doing that instant); #instagood (which really doesn’t hold any meaning except to get more likes on the picture) and #tbt (the acronym for “Throwback Thursday” – an old picture of you that you post on, well, Thursdays). Or you can be quirky and make up your own hashtags that provide your own commentary such as: #iwishiwereatthebeachrightnowinsteadofstaringatmycomputer
Hashtags make it easier to group things together so that people can find you and your business such as for an event, be able to track specific topics, and reach out to potential communities. “The hope is to play the numbers game. You include a ton of tags, get into a ton of searches, get a ton of likes, a ton of followers and then, blam, you become Instafamous.” (via the PBS Digital Studio Idea Channel’s video, “Is A Tagged Instagram Photo More Than Just A Photo?” Hashtags also provide “a context or commentary…they can make explicit a meaning that was otherwise only implied. All of this adds layers of depth and relationship to what otherwise might just be a photo..”
So before pressing that “Share” button next time, try adding a hashtag or two (or like some people, twenty) and see what happens. #experiment #havefun #dontgettoocarriedaway
2. Behind The Scenes
You’ve probably highlighted images of your latest photo shoot and/or products, but people like to see the process, the people behind your images/products. So, don’t be afraid to post images of your kids, your dogs, the delicious cheeseburger you had for lunch. People want to connect with you, not just your product. The more they relate to you, the more connected they feel to you and your business. The next time you’re shooting, have your assistant take a picture of you “in action.” Instagram is just that, instant. Show your audience what’s going on in the moment.
3. Use Different Camera Apps
Instagram’s little camera feature is limited, but there are a ton of picture taking apps and filters that can help your Instagram pictures look more artistic and distinct from the rest. Some of my favorites:
- Camera Awesome: this free little app from Smugmug shoots faster and sharper than the regular ol’ camera app on your phone and boasts of better exposed shots. It has easy 1 tap and 0 tap sharing to all your favorite social media sites (like Instagram!) and effects to “awesomize your photos.” My favorite part is that as it is “Awesome-izing” your photos (rendering the filter/preset that you’ve chosen), it offers some amusement as well, telling you what it is “doing” to your photo:
- Camera+: this app offers a range of shooting features, like constant fill lighting from the LED, image stabilization, timer and burst modes, and a 6x digital zoom option
- Pic Stitch: allows you to “stitch” together a bunch of photos to make a collage, because sometimes, one photo doesn’t tell the whole story. It provides a number of layouts and allows you to choose how many images to display
- Phonto: the app allows you to add text on your photos and make your own meme
- PicTapGo: From the makers of Totally Rad Actions, PicTapGo allows you to layer filters (something the Instagram app does not allow) and even save your own custom filter recipes
- Mextures: is an app for applying grain, textures, light leaks and gradients quickly with 70+ original textures and allows you to stack them and save them as formulas for future use
4. Use The Built In Features Of Instagram
The geotagging feature on Instagram is a great way to advertise your location at an event or conference. They can also transfer location information to Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr or Twitter.
The analytics tool on Instagram also is helpful in tracking data patterns and engagement levels to help you market your business more effectively.
So, what are you waiting for? Go take some photos, throw on some filters and upload them!
Additional information gathered from this article: Effective Instagram Marketing: 7 Creative Ways For Growing Your Small Business and Is A Tagged Instagram Photo More Than Just A Photo?