What Goes Around Comes Around
This time-honored principle of social interaction is a good basic guide for using social media. Another way of saying it is “You get what you give.” While these principles apply across the board in the social media universe, they are particularly applicable to brands marketing to customers in their local markets. And, of all the social media platforms where these principles operate, they are perhaps most graphic with Instagram.
Still not convinced about Instagram. Here are a few statistics to freshen up your perspective.
- 100 million users active on a monthly basis
- 40 million new photos every day
- 8500 likes per second
- 1000 comments per second
Here’s a little bit about how Instagram works. Location is a core feature for Instagram. In fact, location is integral to the long-term vision of the Instagram founders. This means Instagram is a social media platform that is designed for location-centric markets; local markets.
To bring this concept home, here is one of the long-term goals of Instagram: Instagram’s founders envision that people from anywhere in the world will be able to make a virtual visit to any other place in the world through Instagram… in real-time.
To bring this vision home for you as a local business, this means that customers from anywhere in your locality can get a taste of the experience for you and your competitors on Instagram, if you are there.
So, what are some of the ways you can use Instagram to market your business locally?
Get the word out for specials
Instead of just announcing a special orally, on the radio or waiting for days for a flier to be printed, show your customers the special experience your special has to offer them instantly. Once you get your clientele engaged with Instagram, this gives you enormous flexibility in adapting to chaining demands, supplier offers or in-house inventories.
Instagram is all about user-generated content. You are a user, but so is your customer. When your customers are engaged, let them know you appreciate their engagement. Let them know publicly. Thank them on Instagram. Get a dialog going and let them know you care–publicly.
Habits are powerful behaviors, and social media platforms are powerful habit creators. It you publish a daily special on Instagram every day at 10 AM, that can become a powerful trigger for your customers to check Instagram for your special at precisely 10 AM every day. You have more power than you think.
Contests-Creating, promoting, tracking and them sharing the results of contests and promotions is a natural and seamless way to integrate Instagram into our social media strategy.
Engagement awards-Rewarding customers and employees who engage with you and showing your appreciation on Instagram is another seamless way to integrate Instagram into your promotional efforts.
In fact, here is a good rule of thumb for using Instagram in your local market. If it is something you want everyone to see, put it on Instagram.
Best practices for using Instagram
Let your customers know you are on Instagram-You can do this on Instagram, of course, but you can also do it with fliers, coupons, on your website, menus, etc. Go all out and let them know you are there.
Use #hashtags-Hashtags are a power tool for engagement and tracking engagement on Instagram. Tag your Instagram posts so they can be categorized and organized by your followers.
Get your customers involved-Instagram is all about user generated content. It allows you to leverage and engage your customer base in your social media strategy. Do not–repeat, do not–try to do it all yourself. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising, and Instagram is the perfect platform for the modern equivalent for people to tell their friends about a great experience they had with your company.
Listen-All the feedback may not be good, and this is a good thing. Savvy business leaders want to know instantly when a customer is saying something negative about their brand, so the problem, and if someone is saying something negative, there is a problem, can be addressed sooner rather than later.
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It helps to remember that your customers are not really buying your product or service; they are buying the experience you promise them. Instagram is a great tool for both creating and monitoring the experiences your customers find meaningful. With Instagram, you can enhance your customer’s experiences with you even when they are somewhere else. Don’t miss out on the Instagram goodness for brands in local markets.
AUTHOR: Ivan Serrano. You can reach Ivan on Twitter @IvanSerrano55.
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