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Encouraging Engagement: Instagram Edition

encouraging engagement instagram

Despite the fact that the company is less than four years old, Instagram has become one of the post popular social networking sites among consumers. The picture-sharing app allows users to upload images and show them to their followers, who can then like or comment on photos. Recently, the app introduced a video function, allowing users to record and share videos as well.

According to Instagram, the site has more than 200 million active monthly users - a sizable portion of which are companies looking to interact with consumers. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram does not present users the option to share text updates or relevant news from other sources. However, this site offers a range of unique benefits for small business owners - especially if their Instagram strategy is paired along with that of another social site.

Looking to engage consumers with Instagram? Keep the following in mind when planning your strategy.

A picture's worth a thousand words

You may not be able to type posts for consumers, but you should jump at the opportunity to connect with them through a visual platform. Some companies may opt to fill their accounts with images of products or pictures that display office culture, but one way in which small business owners can further interact with consumers is by posting images of coupons or contests that followers can take advantage of. For example, executives could post an image that shows a current promotion taking place in the store, such as a particular deal or spotlighted item of the day.

Alternatively, small business owners could craft a contest that encourages consumers to upload their own images relevant to the company. Managers could post an image of something related to their field, then ask customers to upload similar images that pertain to the industry. A small bakery, for example, could post an image of a new item they're unveiling, then ask followers to upload a picture of their favorite pastries. Be sure to include a relevant hashtag, as these will allow consumers to better connect with the company.

Creativity is key

Since Instagram is solely image- and video-centric, it's essential to take advantage of this visual forum. Find creative ways to upload images that will make your company stand out among the millions of other users on the network. Sharpie is a great example, as the company's Instagram - which has nearly 120,000 followers - uploads pictures of drawings made by consumers who used Sharpies. Intel, on the other hand, finds unique ways to blend current events with happenings in the company. One photo, which was posted during the 2012 Olympics, features a small Lego man balancing on a pen that sits atop two mugs. The caption reads: "#intel keeps raising the bar. Good luck to all of this year's Olympic athletes."

Developing and posting fun, creative images is one of the best ways to not only increase your follower base, but also further interest existing consumers. Be sure to link to your company's other social sites in the caption as well, since this may lead to greater consumer interaction across the Internet.

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