There are now more than 150 million users on Instagram, and it’s growing faster than ever. Instagram is a creative visual platform where people can capture, customize, and share photos and videos. The photos can be also posted on Twitter and Facebook, making it easy to integrate all your social media channels. Before we dive into how ecommerce businesses are leveraging Instagram, acquaint yourself with the basics of Instagram if you are just getting started in the platform.
Instagram allows businesses to share moments that capture the essence of their brands. Brands are constantly trying to find innovative ways to engage with customers on Instagram, and the platform makes it easy to do so. With the use of hashtags, you can track campaigns, host photo contests, market your brand with trends (i.e. #ThrowbackThursday, #WineWednesday), and inspire action.
When it comes to ecommerce businesses, Instagram is arguably the most complementary social media platform to have. People want to have a personal experience with the brands they’re engaging with, and Instagram allows your brand to do this in real time while giving customers a unique experience. There are various ways to use Instagram for ecommerce business, such as showing off a collection of products you offer, giving customers a glimpse into your company and employees, showing customers what goes on behind the scenes (i.e. photo shoots, etc), and more. Here are seven creative ways ecommerce businesses are using Instagram to engage their fans.
1) Display company culture
Give customers a personal insight into your everyday life. People who follow their favorite brands on Instagram likely think, “I wonder what it’d be like to work there” – so, show them!
The coveted online shoe store Zappos shows fans the fun, colorful culture that matches its brand philosophy.
2) Go behind the scenes
Getting ready to launch a new product or catalog? Preparing for a photo shoot or commercial? Instagram is a great way to go behind the scenes and show your fans a production process.
Macy’s shows their 87,000 fans part of their Fall catalog photo shoot.
3) Feature new products
Share a photo of a new product and engage your Instagram followers to do a little mobile window-shopping.
Online eyewear purveyor shows off a pair of new glasses addition in a relevant environment.
4) Share your inspiration and creative process of your brand
Show your fans what inspires you to create and to run your ecommerce business. That way, customers can get an exclusive perspective of what’s behind the brand and feel closer to your company.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg gets her inspiration from autumn leaves.
5) Show How It’s Made
People are nowadays more curious about the hand that made their goods. Snap a shot of various points in the production process.
Online fashion retailer J. Crew takes its Instagram followers through its shoe-making process.
6) Take your followers wherever you go
Going on vacation or a sponsored/industry event? Snap a photo. Your customers can get a better feel for your company by learning about the events and causes support or attend.
Nordstrom takes its followers to Paris for Paris Fashion Week.
7) Host photo contests
Instagram is a great platform to host photo contests. Not only are the contests easy to track with hashtags, but it also gives your customers an easy way to enter. Don’t forget to use Facebook status updates to encourage customers to enter in the Instagram photo contest.
Online lifestyle retailer Anthropologie hosts with contest on Instagram.
A few weeks ago, Instagram announced that it will introduce advertisements on the platform. Soon enough, you can have sponsored posts that get bumped up in users’ feeds. It may be a worthwhile program to look into once it launches. In the meantime, all you need is a mobile device, username, and profile image to craft beautiful original content to share with your customers.