Do you even Instagram? Yes, the iconic photocentric social media app is now a verb in addition to a noun. According to the esteemed Wikipedia, Instagram is a “…mobile, desktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly, or privately to pre-approved followers.” The photo posts can also be shared across many of the other most popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. You can add texts to your photo posts as well, but these are generally short and sweet lines of content cutting through the bottom one-third of your image.
According to the research site Statista, Instagram boasted of having over 500 million daily active users worldwide as of Sep. 2017. And in January of 2017, that number was estimated to be 150 million. Think this social media app is on a roll? What we’re going to talk about today is using Instagram to boost your business, something that can be invaluable to a franchise owner with a product or service to sell.
First things first, creating an account is free. And easy. Simply go to Instagram on the web or your mobile device and create a login. You’ll have to provide the same basic information about yourself (or business) as you would with Twitter or Facebook. Once you’ve created an account, begin taking a few test photos to post to your account and see how they come out. If you—or anyone in your organization—happen to have a knack for photography, allow them to be the point person for the account. It does take a keen eye to take a good photo—and that’s what Instagram is all about. Get creative!
One really neat trick that many business-minded marketers are doing is using Instagram to showcase the process—not products. We’ll give you an example. Say you own a QSR franchise that specializes in gourmet hamburgers. On a typical day, we’ll probably come in contact with about a half-dozen photos of hamburgers. How can you set your photo apart from the rest? Maybe highlight the process of making your hamburger. Like a tight shot of the grilled onions cooking on your stovetops perhaps? Are you beginning to get the picture? People love behind the scenes looks. Just pop in any DVD and you’ll see what we mean!
Just like Twitter, Instagram is a hashtag driven social media platform. If you’re a franchise owner, you should already have a list of acceptable corporate hashtags to use when tagging your photos. But you can hashtag anything, so long as it aggregates the Instagram post with others. Just don’t go overboard like some people do. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, let’s look at the following two examples:
See the difference? #gymtime will get aggregated with all of the other posts using this hashtag. The second example will likely be in a set all by itself. You can also use Instagram to collaborate and mention others in your posts—it works the same way as Facebook.
Many businesses also use Instagram to build excitement and anticipation. New items, new products, an exclusive offer, a coupon…all of these things can be expertly intertwined with visual photography. Perhaps one of the best places to begin is to look at how several major brands are using Instagram in their marketing efforts. Follow their accounts and you’ll likely come up with some spectacular content ideas of your own.
Instagram is an impactful social media platform, simply because it is a visual medium. Remember that adage that people would rather look at pictures than read? Over 500 million people worldwide agree…
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