A Picture-Perfect Way for Building Your Business

Image courtesy of derekGavey’s photostream

Taking pictures on the fly has never been easier now that almost every phone is equipped with a camera. You don’t have to carry around a bulky camera, and even better, you don’t have to worry about buying film or having a memory card that is too full. Downloading the free mobile app, Instagram (http://instagram.com/about/faq/) helps photos taken on your phone look even better. The pictures look crisper and you can easily upload and share the image right away via social media. But you don’t have to only use Instagram for personal shots – you can also use it to improve your business-to-business (B2B) marketing.

Recently, Jason Miller of Marketo, a marketing software company, created an infographic (http://dailyinfographic.com/instagram-marketing-infographic) about why Instagram should be used in more marketing campaigns. Besides reaching a larger audience (Instagram has more than 50 million users and was recently bought by Facebook), Instagram allows you to tell your story through images and not words – something that is appreciated in the fast-paced world we live in today.

But before you start snapping pictures and posting whatever you capture to help build your brand and customer base, step back a minute and develop a strategy similar to the one Miller suggested in his infographic:

1. Curate. Think about what pictures you are going to take, before you take them. Many established businesses have plans on how to grow, how to sell, and more likely than not, how to market themselves. You should be no different. Ask yourself, why am I taking these pictures? What messaging do I want my customers or prospects to get when they see this? And, how will I get them to see and understand these photos?

2. Snap. Once your plan is in place, start taking pictures that will work to your benefit and really have a ‘wow’ factor that captures your audience’s attention. Keep in mind how you are going to release these photos. Miller mentioned posting images only to Instagram and no other site to give viewers an exclusive look, or leaking company ‘secrets’ that give customers a behind-the-scenes look into just what makes your business so special.

3. Hashtag. I know – I just got done saying to tell your story through pictures not words. But hashtags are simple, sweet and short keywords that help people find your images – and then get the real story. Use hashtags that are relevant to your business and industry on all of your posts, such as #marketing, #promo, #print, #multimedia, etc. This will not only get you more followers on Instagram, but also give you more exposure as a knowledgeable resource in your industry.

4. Engage. You’ve posted your pictures. You’ve increase your number of Instagram followers. But it’s all fruitless unless you really engage and connect with those people who have taken an interest in you and your business. Post images of event announcements or events where clients, customers or prospects are invited. Or, conduct a contest on Instagram giving your audience the chance to submit new slogans, or photos of their favorite product for a discount on future items.

5. Repeat. Once you post, keep those pictures coming! Remain consistent, and show your followers you’re committed to informing them – all while establishing yourself and your business as an expert and leader in your field.

They say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ By utilizing Instagram, pictures illustrating your business are worth far more than words; they can mean building your brand, your client base and eventually, your sales.

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