Blake Anderson of the popular Comedy Central show “Workaholics” spoke about the overwhelming presence of social media in our lives when he tweeted “If you follow a girl on Instagram and her best friend on twitter you will literally know every single thing happening in her life.”  I don’t believe Anderson, a comedian, meant to make a statement about how interlaced our lives are with social media; however he did bring up a great point.  In this new age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other social media sites, how can companies leverage another’s use of social media for their own benefit?  How can using Instagram and other social media to advertise effect a business?

As an intern at Net-Results I am lucky enough to be assigned to monitor social media and explore specific approaches for using social media for our company.  Being a twenty-something girl, I was overjoyed to get this assignment.  Social media is a relatively new part of business strategy and I was stoked to get in on the cutting edge of this effort.
Because our company has a social strategy, it was pretty cool to be able to have the opportunity to define and tune the tactics and metrics we monitor. In addition to developing personas for each social outlet,  we’re pretty strategic about posting types and frequency for each outlet. This is where the bulk of my work has been lately. Tuning, frequency, measurement, and optimization are words that I’m using regularly as I work through the landscape. Naturally, at Net-Results we’re social on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter, but I found Instagram was a bit of a different ball game in the business world. Business and services that market direct to consumers may find that Instagram offers several benefits that may be worth pursuing. While companies that market direct to other business may struggle to find any real resonance with Instagram. In either case, it’s a force to be reckoned with and, so as part of Internlandia, I’d like to share some critical success factors we monitor around the social tool, Instagram.
Instagram is a great social media site to look at using as a marketing tool because it is pretty simply a constantly-changing flipbook of ads.  Many companies have been using Instagram and Pinterest as their brand book bibles, and rightly so. There’s so much information to be shared in a visual approach. Sure, the Instagram site was designed for people to post a picture with a short caption, but isn’t that primarily what an ad is?  It is shocking to me that more companies do not use this amazing and FREE tool to advertise more.  There are several very easy, free and effective ways to advertise to get new customers using Instagram, but marketing the wrong way using Instagram can also significantly damage these efforts.


1. Create an Instagram account for your company!

Having an account for your company is a great and free way to get the word out about what your products/ services are.  You can use your Instagram account to showcase new and older products and features, as well as let your customers get to know your company and employees.  Many companies use their Instagrams to introduce staffers or designers, and showcase what they use or like.  Many companies use their accounts to offer promotions and deals on products as well.  Instagramming a picture of a product with the caption describing it and how to get a discount can be a very effective tool to get more on-line or in-store business.  Here at Net Results, in addition to posting pictures to welcome all new staff, we also post any relevant business images, infographics or image heavy new content we have released on our site or blog.

2. Use your customers to advertise!

Instagram is a common way many people document their everyday life, whether they are taking pictures of the meal they ate, the outfit they are wearing, or a random product they are using, people are posting their everyday activities.  Make your product one of the things they post!  This is free marketing that offers customers a way to interact with the dialogue about a product.  “Hash tags” (#) are a common way Instagram users talk about a product and can be very helpful in marketing.  Hash tags are an awesome tool to help raise dialogue and SEO for your company.

3. Get feedback from customers!

Instagram is an easy tool to use when opening a dialogue with your customers.  Simple polls or questions can be very effective to get customer feedback as well as let customers interact with each other.  Questions such as “Which would you wear?” or “What do you think of our new product?” are very effective.   For continued dialogue with customers ask them to Instagram pictures of them using your product and repost them to give specific customer feedback and further interactions.  “Photo of the day” marketing campaigns are also increasingly popular, giving people a theme or idea to put into a picture using your product not only encourages customer interactions but also showcases your products.  At Net-Results we use several campaigns, both social and information driven, to interact with customers.

4. Use Instagram to start a dialogue with your customers that is not necessarily about your products specifically.

A lot of companies use Instagram to interact with their customers by posting pictures of things unrelated to their products.  For example, posting pictures of a staff event or staffer’s pet or hobby is a easy and fun way to let people get to know your staff and company without shamelessly plugging your products.


1. Don’t Over Post!  It’s ANNOYING.

One big mistake companies make when using Instagram is posting too often!  Remember this is social media, people don’t want to see a news feed full of companies trying to promote different products all the time.  It will ultimately just make them unfollow you, which won’t help your company use Instagram to reach its customers.

2. Be specific about products you show in Instagrams.

Nothing is more frustrating for a consumer than when you see a product instagrammed by a company but don’t know what it is or where to find it.  If you are showing a product or service in a post be sure to explain exactly what it is called, the style, fit or anything else to help a customer identify it in a store or on line.  Explain clearly exactly where they can buy the product, its uses and its price.  While writing Instagram captions a company should also be aware of the caption’s length, if it is too long people will likely lose interest and stop reading.  If the caption is too short they will be confused about the product or service and likely lose interest the same.

3. Don’t lose recognition!

Instagram is different that Facebook or other social media because people do not often search for a specific company or person’s personal page, they are more likely just to scroll through their Instagram feed and like pictures that have come up recently.  If your company doesn’t post enough you will lose people recognition and likely lose followers.  Look at other companies to see how often you think your company should post.  At Net-Results we try to do 1-2 posts a week.

4. Get Creative!

You may only have a split second of a customer looking at your Instagram post before they scroll down to the next one, make sure you catch their eye!  Don’t use stock photos or boring pictures to display your products.  Play around with the filters and cropping of your pictures to make the product look as interesting as you can.  Avoid cliché pictures of sunsets, lighthouses, or anything that has an inspirational quote…that’s annoying.  Use Instagram to showcase your products in a new way.
Instagram can easily be utilized to show case your company and products but if not used correctly it can easily lead to your customers getting the wrong impression of your company.  We will have to see where social media takes advertising in the future but as of now Instagram is a great way to get free advertising about your product.  So what are you waiting for!


netresults” on instagram!!!! And, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Subscribe to the Blog

Get the latest in digital marketing, marketing automation, and Net-Results updates.