Social media has become a great way for companies to add value to their products and brands in new, exciting, and sometimes unexpected ways. Instagram, in particular, has a great deal of potential when it comes to encouraging interaction with customers. Of course, knowing how to encourage fans to interact with your social media channel isn’t exactly straightforward. It requires no small amount of creativity and patience. Here’s how to get started.
Very briefly, it’s worth pointing out why Instagram is such a big opportunity for marketers. In 2013 Instagram was the fastest growing social media site. That’s a big deal, given how firmly entrenched other sites like Facebook and Twitter have become in Internet culture.
Like other social sites, Instagram thrives on two-way communication; encouraging fans to contribute original content is not only a great way to broaden your brand’s web presence, but also to end up with a wealth of crowdsourced marketing content that you can use to great effect.
Here are some ways that you can encourage your followers to interact with your brand on Instagram.
Add Customer Photos to Your Website
If customer photos on sites like Amazon are any indication, it seems that customers tend to be pretty amenable to providing their own product photographs. These can be used to showcase their favorite parts of a particular product, or to call attention to a new way to use something they’ve purchased.
Suppose you own a company that makes patio furniture. Why wouldn’t you go out of your way to encourage customers to upload pictures of how they’ve used and arranged your products in their own homes? Other undecided customers will be able to see the wide variety of applications, and get their own ideas for how they’d use the furniture. Bland product copy can work well enough, but providing shoppers with context for your products – a way to see them being used “in the wild,” so to speak – can really take your site to the next level.
Use Customer Photos and Videos in Ads
There was some well-deserved blowback from Facebook’s appropriation of users’ photos for use in their targeted advertisements. The problem there was a lack of permission. Now that the dust has settled on the controversy, there exists a highly enticing opportunity for brands to encourage fans to upload their photos and videos with the intention of having them appear in advertisements.
Unlike the sneaky language in Facebook’s terms of service, being open with customers about your intentions for their original content could provide all the incentive they need to upload some great content to your Instagram page. The idea of seeing their face, however briefly, in a nationwide marketing campaign, could prove to be a surprisingly effective motivator.
Turn Instagram into a Recruiting Tool
How’s this for out-of-the-box thinking? Instagram was probably never envisioned as a corporate recruiting tool, but a recent Instagram campaign by Levi’s was highly successful in doing just that. The clothing maker encouraged their Instagram followers to upload personal photos and head shots. Their goal: to find the company’s next fashion model.
Suppose your company isn’t just looking for somebody photogenic, though. Encouraging your followers to express themselves creatively is a surefire way to get a lot of activity on your Instagram page. There are a lot of gifted people out there; soliciting original content from fans may help you turn up your next employee-of-the-month.
Have Fun With It
This only scratches the surface of Instagram’s potential. If its recent growth is any indication, customers are proving more eager than anyone could have hoped to share personal photos and original content with their friends and their favorite brands. Knowing how to put that momentum to work for you is simply a matter of getting creative.