Many small companies have been slow to take advantage of social media or content marketing to generate business, relying either on their website alone, a Facebook page, person-to-person networking, or individual referrals. Some business owners have assumed that if the products or services they offer aren't visually arresting or Pinterest worthy, there's little point in putting them online. This is rarely the case.
Part of the beauty of online marketing is that for businesses with a specific niche, the right kind of approach will widen your net and bring you into contact with customers beyond local or state reach. Creating interesting, topical content, promoting it on social media channels, and interacting with your customer base may seem like a simplistic approach, but it's more effective than you might think. This is why 88.2% of companies in the U.S. used a major social media platform like Twitter or Facebook in 2015. What's next for social media marketing? The trend suggests Instagram.
What is Instagram, for the uninitiated? It's an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing site that allows its users to take pictures and videos and share them with a wider audience and comment. Facebook owns it; it acquired Instagram in 2012. It is most used by teenagers and college students who are looking to connect with their friends.
While Instagram's appeal to plugged-in members of younger generations may seem obvious from a social aspect, how are small businesses using it to meet their goals, increase their visibility, and appeal to their customer base? There are a number of ways, and with creative and consistent hashtag use, it can definitely help to build a brand over time.
Remember, Instagram communicates via picture and video, so whatever your business shares via that platform will be visual. You might think that if your business sells plumbing services instead of modern art or handmade jewelry, Instagram will be useless. After all, everyone understands what plumbers do, right? But how do people become aware of plumbers when they have an urgent problem they need solved? Particularly young people who don't already have a plumber they use?
They don't use the yellow pages anymore. Young people - all people, really - get much of their information online. A savvy owner of a plumbing business may choose to take pictures of their more interesting plumbing jobs and post them online. They might showcase their plumbers saving the day in places of local interest. They will hashtag their images so that people can find them, and they'll answer comments on their posts. With the right iconic images or a sense of humor about the realities of plumbing, this kind of business could easily cast a larger net over area customers and for little money.
This is very similar to how a small business might use Twitter or Facebook, but those two media already have a fairly saturated market and communicate more with words than pictures. Instagram is a new frontier of social media marketing.
If you have questions about how social media marketing can help your business succeed or wish to know more about various online platforms, Corporate Conversions would love to talk to you about your options.