July 17, 2012

Today we shall continue our series looking at some of the niche communities in the social marketing world. By calling them “niche communities,” however, I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that these other social marketing channels don’t provide ample opportunities for you to garner attention for your business. Quite the opposite is true. Focusing your marketing efforts on a niche community rather than, or in addition to, the major markets, such as Twitter and Facebook, could be the very thing to jumpstart your business brand.

In this installment, I’d like to introduce you to Instagram. Instagram is a mobile photo filter app for iOS and Android devices with more than 50 million users. It enables users to take a regular photo and, through the addition of a digital layer, give it the appearance of a professionally edited one. For instance, Instagram has filters that enhance certain colours, filters that allow you to enhance the focus on one part of the photo and blur the rest, and filters that allow you to give the photo a vintage look.

Because Instagram is primarily a mobile app, you’ll need to download it onto your iPhone, iPad, or Android device in order to get started. To create your account, launch the app and click “sign up.” You’ll be asked for a few bits of information, including your email and a username, and you’ll be able to upload your business’ photo or logo. You’ll then have the option to import your Facebook and Twitter contacts, as well as any other contacts you have stored on your mobile device who are also using Instagram.

It is important to connect Instagram to your other social networking accounts as it is a relatively isolated app on its own. Connect it to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and so on by going to “Profile Tab” and then “Edit Sharing Settings.” From there you’ll be able to choose the networks to connect with Instagram. Every time you upload a photo to Instagram, it will give you the option of sharing to these other networks.

I’m not going to go into the details of how to use filters and borders here. You can find plenty of tutorials elsewhere on the Internet or you can just try experimenting with it yourself. Once you’ve got a photo you’re ready to share, simply check the green check mark at the bottom of the screen, and this will bring you to the sharing prompt. Enter a brief description of your photo, including any topic hashtags or @people mentions if you plan to share it via Twitter as the text of the description will be the text of the tweet. When sharing images for your business, be sure to optimise them to make it easy for people to find them. Use keyword tags in your descriptions to give them a greater chance of going viral.

Do you have a success story with Instagram? Feel free to share your thoughts with a comment below.



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image by J A Moutinho)

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