3 Ways the Pros Use Instagram Marketing

When you think of social media marketing, you probably think of Facebook, Twitter, and maybe LinkedIn or GooglePlus. These have long been the standard networks for marketers at the top of the competition. They’ve proven valuable tools for making real connections with customers.

However, the dynamic is changing, and now more and more customers are spending time on Instagram, especially millennials. Adding an Instagram presence to your social media repertoire is a huge advantage for startups and small businesses.

Instagram currently has more than 600 active users, and it’s the fastest growing social media platform globally. Millions of businesses of every size take advantage of Instagram for its ability to position their brand creatively among their target audience.

Instagram marketing is not completely different from your other social media tactics, but it’s more visual than anything you’ve used before. It’s an excellent platform for promoting things like real estate, clothing, cafes, and other local or online businesses that photograph well.

To learn more about the best ways to use images to your advantages, look to the pros. Some of their favorite Instagram marketing tactics can help your small business flourish on this highly visual social channel.

  1. Nike

With 73.3 million followers, Nike is a standard for Instagram marketing. They’re currently the 19th most followed brand on Instagram, and they’ve earned the spot as second most followed brand on all of social media.

Their entire Instagram strategy revolves around inspirational, motivational, and inclusive posts that show the lifestyle of fit, happy people. Their message caters to both serious athletes and casual ones. Their relatable captions and quality images say it all through undeniable emotional connections.

They’ll take a breathtaking view of the sunset over beach cliffs with a pair of running shoes ready to go for a jog. Or, they’ll appeal to your more sensitive side with a picture of a toddler on a skateboard. They know how to use your emotions to inspire something amazing in you, and that’s what spurs their success.

  1. Starbucks

Starbucks is known for paying attention to the consumer, something they use liberally on Instagram. They often ask their 14.9 million followers to participate in content creation, contests, and photo bombs for 10 seconds of fame that further the coffee merchandiser’s marketing aims. They’re among the strongest brands on Instagram, using hashtags to stay relevant and encouraging constant consumer interaction.

One of the best examples of how Starbucks uses user-generated content to further their Instagram presence is the red cup contest. They generate more than 374.1k posts every year when asking users to post pictures of their red Starbucks cup designs.

They’re asked to caption every post with #RedCupArt to categorize the posts and get more people involved. Those who love art jump on this opportunity, and those who appreciate it can’t help but follow along. With very little work on Starbucks’ part, they effectively compel users to further their brand reach.

  1. Lululemon

Though it will never be quite as popular as Nike, the yoga-inspired athletic company Lululemon still has an impressive 2.1 million followers on their Instagram account. Their goal is similar to that of Nike with inspirational messages and high quality shots of regular people living a comfortable, healthy lifestyle. Their dedication to the average consumer makes them a hero in the social realm for athletic apparel.

Their most impactful Instagram posts involve making women feel like they can be healthy, fit, and strong. They show women in their Lululemon clothing doing squat lifts, participating in cycling classes, or performing other feats in the gym. The entire strategy appeals to a person’s motivation, and since weight loss and fitness are such hot topics today, their ability to make people feel like they can do anything is a huge advantage for their business.

They also use hashtags very successfully, as evidenced by the very successful #NoHumbug challenge last holiday season. They asked people to post Instagram photos of random acts of kindness that would empower women everywhere. It was a 31-day challenge through the month of December, and it did wonders for their brand awareness campaign.

Conclusion: Small Businesses Can Leverage Instagram Too!

After reading this list of successful, major brands who use Instagram marketing, you might be thinking that your small business or startup could never compete. That’s where you’d be wrong. It’s true that you might not have the resources or brand recognition of some of these larger companies, but you can always apply their tactics on a smaller scale.

You might not have 70 million followers and the world’s best photographers at your disposal, but you can still make use of visual beauty to market your brand. Take stunning, well-edited photographs of your products in use, and make people feel something with every post.

With time and diligent effort in your marketing, your business can work alongside some of the most renowned businesses in the world. It starts with your humble perseverance and an understanding of every market you approach. Instagram marketing is just one of many steps to a well-rounded, successful business.

About Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

13 Responses to 3 Ways the Pros Use Instagram Marketing

  1. Rony says:

    Thank you for your helpful posting. This is a good way instagram marketing.

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  4. This article is truly awesome Larry. Instagram marketing and making money is not difficult at all. It doesn’t cost anything to get started (most times), and anybody can do it. You can work from home and earn in multiple ways, depending on your interest, availability of time and relevant skills.

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