Get your game on for Instagram
A snapshot at some of the ways you can use the photo-sharing app to focus on your business
Perhaps you are already friendly with Facebook, and on top of your Twitter tactics – but how do you handle Instagram?
If it isn’t part of your marketing strategy yet, it might be a channel you should seriously consider.
Here’s a few simple pointers to help get you started.
I use Twitter and Facebook. Do I really need anything else?
How many channels you use is, of course, entirely up to you, but when it comes to Instagram, the numbers are worth considering.
- 800m – Number of Instagram users
- 500m – of the above are active every day
- 15m – registered businesses use Instagram
- 80 % – of users follow at least one business
- 108m – People follow Ronaldo
It’s an audience in growth, and one that likes to keep an eye on the worlds of sport and going out.
For Vicky Martin, licensee at Sup & Chow in Cheltenham, it has become an important way of promoting her sports bar and eatery.
She says: “We find that Facebook is really good for communicating with the customers we already have and that Instagram helps us reach a new audience. We know this because they engage on Instagram and then talk to us in the pub.”
OK, but don’t you need to be a whizz with a camera to use Instagram?
Not really. Anyone can take a decent snap with a smartphone these days. Unfortunately, phones have not totally eradicated bad photos, so make sure your posts show your pub in the way you want it represented.
Ben Bullman, general manager of The Boaters Inn, in Kingston upon Thames, shares access to Instagram with members of his team. He says it’s important to have quality control.
“There are plenty of filters and apps that you can use to make the photos looks great,” he says. “I always get alerted to what’s going up and if it isn’t right it’s easy to take them down as well.”
But isn’t Instagram all about food, puppies and selfies?
There’s no doubt that if you can get a shot of Beyonce on a barstool, munching on a Scotch egg, with a schnauzer at her feet, you’ll soon be going viral. However, images of upcoming events and action shots of your pub can also attract attention.
Vicky continues: “We put out all the fixture information for things like the big games on BT Sport, but we also show the pub when it’s busy, so people can see what it looks like and will be tempted to come in.”
It sounds nice and all, but how do you know if it’s working?
For a starter you can tell by the engagement you have in Instagram itself, be it through likes or comments on posts.
Mark Daniels, digital marketing manager at pub operator and brewer Wadworth, says that as well as chatting to the people you know are fans of your pub, you need to look for those who are talking about you.
“Many of your followers may already be posting about your pub without you realising about it, as you don’t get notified when somebody tags their location as your pub,” he explains. “Using Instagram’s search function, find your pub in the location settings and see what images people have been posting while tagging themselves at your pub, then comment or re-share using apps such as Regrann (available in Apple and Google stores) to show your followers you are really engaged with them.
That all sounds very clever, but can I make any money out of this?
To misquote Barack Obama, entirely out of context. Yes. You. Can. Back in context, with 16 million followers he has truly embraced Instagram. But we digress…
To the best of our knowledge the former POTUS has yet to run any midweek promotions, and this could be one way of getting money into your tills using Instagram.
Vicky explains: “We have been running a pizza and beer offer through Instagram and we know it works because we see people coming in off the back of it.”
Ben at The Boaters has experienced similar success.
“We put an early Christmas party booking incentive on Instagram and got 45 covers booked off the back of it. It seems to be better suited to that kind of thing than Facebook or Twitter,” he said.
This is starting to make some sense – but what’s with all those hashtags?
They are used to make it easier for people to find your pub. Using simple things such as #livesport or #football or #ChampionsLeague, gets you one step closer to potential customers.
Mark adds: “Unlike Twitter, where authors compose a tweet with hashtags as part of the sentence, Instagram users usually place their hashtags in a bunch at the end of their copy. Hashtags help people find your Instagram posts through search items.”
So, there you are, just a few reasons why you should consider Instagram as an option for your business.
If nothing else, we hope this has at least put you in the picture.