The last decade or so has seen a massive rise in the popularity of social media and this has created a wealth of opportunities for business owners. Twitter especially makes it super simple, quick and easy to get your message out to your audience, wherever they may be. But the world of social media is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important to keep up with current trends. Relatively new networks such as Instagram which started in October 2010, offer even more opportunities for marketeers.

Basically Instagram is a photo sharing application that sits on your phone, but its social networking features are amongst the best, hence its popularity. This makes it a wonderful tool for businesses, and here are some of the most effective ways you can use Instagram for business.

Showcase Your Products

Instagram is a great place to promote your products, especially those with visual appeal. Some businesses use it, like a catalog simply posting numerous photographs of their products. This can be effective in some cases, but a better approach is to show your products being used, in action so to say. If you sell cosmetics, for example, you could post images of customers using and wearing your products. These types of photographs make it easy for the customer to visualize themselves using your products.

Show the results of your products.

Unfortunately not all products have great visual appeal, but perhaps they produce visible results. Weight loss products are an obvious example of this, where you could show before and after photographs. This can also work well for a number of other products, such as hair loss treatments or beauty makeovers.

Inject some personality into your marketing efforts.

Even those businesses that provide services or create products that are not what you would term “pretty” enough for Instagram can use the Instagram to their advantage by showcasing their human side. The truth is we’re all interested in other people and what they do, so some simple photographs of you and your team in action will be interesting to many users, especially if they are accompanied by a fun or thought provoking caption. It’s also good to show your business engaging in charitable work or helping out in the community. You could even post photos of your employees or clients along with brief profiles.

Entice others to help promote your business.

Photo contests are great for getting your business noticed on Instagram, simply come up with a theme, and ask users to post images using a unique hashtag. You can offer a prize for the winner or simply feature the best photos on your website. If you can’t afford to run a contest, simply finding photos users have posted that include your products and giving them a mention can help encourage others to post similar photos.

Instagram offers businesses a simple way to promote themselves and their products. It doesn’t require a large time commitment or even a great deal of marketing expertise, this is why you should give it a try.

How You Can Use Instagram in Your Business
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I've been designing and marketing websites and businesses for over 24 years and prior to this I worked in sales, marketing and big business for almost 18 years... which makes me not only old, but also highly experienced at this marketing and Internet stuff.  I've won lots of awards and helped thousands of people, and this website is a testament to the information I share freely to help others succeed online.

When I'm not designing websites, doing this online marketing stuff or writing. I love nothing more than getting out on a weekend and scuba diving. I'm a qualified rescue diver and love getting wet in the waters around Perth and Rottenest Island. I also cycle, which must be a sight as I'm not the thinnest of people (lol)... and a paddle on a kayak or a swim helps makes most weeks, perfect. At home I have a marine reef tank, which I just love and on top of that I've an awesome dog, called Ziggy.

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