How to Best Use Instagram for Your Business

10th, 2014
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Social Media
10th, 2014
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Social Media

Amidst all the cat pics, food shots and selfies, one local company stands out on my Instagram feed. Just Pop In!—an Indianapolis-based gourmet popcorn shop—cuts through the clutter with their engaging approach. How? Let’s find out.

What’s Instagram?

First things first, let’s all get on the same page by defining Instagram. Per Wikipedia (which is always accurate), it’s “an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.”

In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool billion. And that made sense to me since that’s how I always described Instagram to friends who were wary about adding one more social media platform to their repertoire:  “It’s just like your Facebook, but you don’t have to read. Just look at the pretty pictures.”

Consumers primarily use the site, posting extremely important captures of their day (heh, heh). But some businesses also find value in the platform…leading me back to Just Pop In!

What Characterizes a Good Brand on Instagram?

Ok, so how does Just Pop In! (henceforth called JPI) use Instagram to make me want a bag of their delicious popped corn every day? Let me count the ways (in no particular order).

From the Colts, to the Pacers to Indy Pride, JPI posts pics that show their involvement and support of groups and organizations in the local community. They also like to highlight fellow Indy-based companies they’ve worked with on different projects, like Sun King Brewery, Smoking Goose and Zest!, to name a few.

One of my favorite JPI pics came last June. It was actually a diptic with one photo on the top of 4 women sitting around and blowing bubbles with their gum. The bottom photo was all of them laughing about it afterward. And the caption:  “Hard at work today on this lovely Friday :).” It showed their personal side. There wasn’t an ounce of popcorn in the picture. It simply told me they like to have fun and enjoy the summer…just like the rest of us.

Some days, if you’ve got nothing to do but check Instagram, you’ll find JPI posting from some location around town. It could be a summer concert, an innovation conference, a film festival or whatever. JPI lets you know where you can find them in the city.

As I write this, Indianapolis and the suburbs are still digging out from the Snowpocalypse—the polar vortex that kept most of us indoors for days on end. While it played out, JPI posted pics of dogs in sweaters, screenshots of the weather and a pic of some dude who was clearly suffering from cabin fever.

JPI also builds campaigns around Instagram. Currently, the company’s utilizing its trademarked tagline: “Celebrate Happiness.” You’ll see it hashtagged on several of their pictures that showcase how they like to celebrate happiness in their lives. And, rumor has it, they’re cooking up a 2014 campaign right now around this tagline…perhaps with a tasty incentive included too!

Full Disclosure:  I’m the guy who takes 20 pics of the same thing before picking one that’s Instagram-worthy. Being a photographer makes me that way. So I say “satisfactory” here not as a crack on JPI, but simply to make the point that the photos don’t have to be award-winning. In fact, it’s better that they’re not. Images that have been overly setup and manipulated can appear too “markety” and turn people off. Pictures that are least decipherable can do great!

Of course, JPI uses Instagram to post pictures of their products—as they should. But they’re smart about it. They don’t constantly push their product photos to you…just a little here, a little there.

Can B2B Companies Do the Same?

I’ve worked at some boring jobs, including…wait for it…the trade association for the printed circuit board (PCB) industry. OHHH YEAHH! We were a B2B company that mainly wrote industry standards for PCB manufacturers, and I handled the communications.

I can tell you, though, that had Instagram been around when I worked there, I could have very easily captured and posted images in any of the 7 categories above. Would it have helped us sell our products…or in this case memberships? Perhaps. But that’s not entirely the point.

B2B companies, like B2C, shouldn’t select marketing activities only if they can directly create a sale. You want to be smart in choosing things that won’t exhaust your limited resources, but platforms like Instagram can create and keep you in conversation with your customers and prospects all throughout the buying cycle.

So I say go grab some Just Pop In! popcorn, follow their feed and consider doing something similar with your marketing.

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