Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for 1 billion USD in 2012, is one of the fastest growing sites on the web. Instagram has over 75 million unique visitors each day, making it a hugely successful site for its relatively short lifetime.
Facebook is usually the preferred platform for businesses and marketers. However, despite seeming like just a platform for selfies at first glance, Instagram can also be quite an effective marketing tool. There are several strategies can be used to effectively build your brand, find new customers and fans, and get more engagement from your current followers and customers. This article will give you 5 awesome and simple ways that you can use the power of Instagram hashtags to build a powerful marketing platform for your business.
For users new to Instagram, it can be quite overwhelming despite its simple design and features. So if you are interested in finding out more about hashtags, you can read a great introductory post about how to find relevant tags for your business here.
1. Run contests with new hashtags
Instagram can be used to host contests that boost user engagement and expose your brand to new potential customers or clients. Contests can be run by inviting users to share a photo of what your brand means to them along with a custom created hashtag that you make to suit your current contest.
You can boost the benefits of campaigns and increase interaction by asking your followers to tag friends, or repost your contest instructions to gain them entry into a giveaway. You can even offer them a special coupon or discount for sharing your hashtag with their friends.
Contests are a great way to create campaigns that will really show the power of hashtags in one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world.
An example: Nike’s #makeitcount campaign.
Nike used a hugely popular campaign encouraging its users to use the #makeitcount hashtag. It didn’t just go viral at the time, as the hashtag is still used to this day. It also exposed Nike’s products to millions of people who would have never seen them without the #makeitcount campaign.
2. Develop your brand and build followers with unique hashtags
Even without using contests or giveaways, you can still harness the power of your own custom made hashtags by encouraging your followers to use your hashtags on their own photos. You can post high quality and engaging photos that show who you are, what your brand is about, what your customers look like, and then hashtag it with a specially chosen hashtag just for your brand. Once your followers get used to seeing your hashtags (and if they are trendy enough), your users will naturally start using your hashtags on their own photos.
Over time, other people will start using your hashtags as well, which will eventually build the exposure of your brand and introduce new people to your page. As new people find your page and start using your hashtags, you can create a viral explosion of new followers. One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing campaigns is the potential for viral trends and creating your own custom hashtag can put you ahead of the competition.
3. Find new potential customers with Instagram’s hashtag search
By running a search for relevant hashtags in your field, you can find users who are interested in the products and services that you have to offer. Instagram makes it easy to find people who care about what you have to offer, and you can contact them directly with direct photos, or by just leaving a comment on their photo. Even just giving a like to a user who posts a hashtag that relates to your industry can be enough to get them looking at your page.
Each time you make contact with a potential customer in your field, you increase your chances of finding even more fans who will love your brand just as much as you do. The key to this strategy is to make contact, whether through liking photos, leaving comments, or just sending direct messages: this is an excellent way to find new customers and potentially build awesome relationships. When it comes to building new customer relationships, it is all about engagement with the customer. Engage them with some sort of action and let them decide if you can provide them with a need that they have.
4. Search for trending topics with third party hashtag searches
Third party hashtag searches can be a great way to find out what topics are trending on Instagram. By running a simple search on the top hashtags, you can get a better idea of what issues really matter most to the people in your market. And by looking at the customers from your target market, you can get an in depth look into their likes, dislikes, and even into their buying patterns.
For example: by running searches on trending hashtags, you can easily design new products or offer new services to help people who care deeply about that topic. By running hashtag searches you can not only better meet your customers needs, but sometimes you can find an entirely new market to tap into.
5. Use targeted hashtags to help your audience find you
One of the ways that people search for pictures on Instagram is through the hashtag search. Using this feature, people can type in a hashtag and Instagram will pull up the most recent photos posted with that hashtag. By using very targeted hashtags on your own photos, you can attract new potential customers and fans who are running searches for your keywords.
You can add around 20 hashtags to a photo, and each hashtag will make it appear in others searches, so each one will increase your chances of getting your photos seen. Some marketers claim that people associate too many hashtags on a photo with a low quality and spammy messages, so you must be willing to experiment enough to find the right number of hashtags on your posts. I for one typically max out my hashtags on each post, and I have only seen an increase in likes and comments, but this can be highly dependent upon what type of market you are in.
All of these strategies can be highly effective at spreading a message, building new followers, creating a brand, or finding new potential clients and customers. Overall Instagram is a new but very valuable social media platform that almost any business or entrepreneur can add to their marketing campaigns for little upfront cost or investment.
Instagram is still relatively new terrain in the social media world, especially for businesses. The businesses and entrepreneurs who become adept at using it early on will be able to continue to reap the benefits of establishing a following on this great social media site.
See Also: Top 10 Richest Kids of Instagram
Have you tried using Instagram hashtags in your marketing strategy? What other new and creative ways have you seen businesses using hashtags to market their ideas and products? Leave a comment below, because I would love to hear about your own experiences.