Cape Gazette
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Instagram isn’t just for kids!

By Lana O'Hollaren | Apr 27, 2014

Online presence is everything in this digital age. People are checking out your business online before setting foot into your actual store. Your business probably has a Facebook account, and maybe a Twitter account. But how about spicing up your social media presence with an Instagram account before the busy season? There’s more to it than teenagers posting selfies!

Pew Research found that 57 percent of Instagram users are actively engaging on a daily basis, posting 40 million photos a day. Most people on Instagram are in the age range of 18-29 years old. However, 30-plus-year-olds are also on the app, and this continues to grow. With that many potential consumers, it’s time to join the commotion.

How do you use Instagram? One possibility is to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business - pictures of employees, food prep, setup, product displays, etc. - to build a connection. The key is to know your audience and what they will respond to. Ask yourself where your audience hangs out online and what they want to see. Instagram is all about pictures, so be sure your product is camera-ready. Tell a fun, engaging story through the pictures. And keep in mind that Instagram isn’t your personal catalog.

Your pictures shouldn’t always be just ads. If all you’re posting are ads, you’re not engaging your audience, and you’ll quickly lose them. Before you post, look at your content and ask yourself, “Why would someone share this?” Contests, coupons and promotions encourage sharing, and there are plenty of other ways.

The hashtag on Instagram is also an important tool. As with Twitter, if you click on the hashtag, you can see what users are posting with that particular hashtag. When thinking of hashtags or posts, you have to think of how your brand can connect with things that your audience is already doing, feeling or thinking. What experiences do they share with you?

Let’s say you’re a small ice cream shop in Rehoboth Beach. You could ask users to post selfies while eating your ice cream and include the hashtags #rehoboth #icecream #coolingoff. They’re already eating ice cream at your shop, so why not? This is a great marketing tool because people who are scrolling through the #rehoboth hashtag can see that people are enjoying a delicious ice cream treat at your shop. It could drive people in the area directly to you.

Here are some businesses that use Instagram effectively in different ways: Sharpie, Chobani, Nike, Pottery Barn, Juliana’s Pizza, Scholastic Inc., Burberry.

Look at the ones that relate to your business to get some ideas. The busy summer season will be here before you know it, so start enjoying the benefits of Instagram now!

Lana O'Hollaren is an account supervisor with ab+c Creative Intelligence. She can be reached at 302-249-4438.

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