Top 5 Ways to Use Instagram for Marketing

| October 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

The photo sharing app, Instagram, made headlines recently when it surpassed 100 million users – which is drastically up from 15 million in January! Many top companies are leveraging the social media channel to engage with their audiences by sharing creative images related to their brands. Instagram has given brands a platform to tell a story or even effectively market to their target audiences. Here are a few ways businesses can integrate Instagram into their marketing mix:

Create a Contest

Social media contests are a great way to engage consumers and can span large audiences. They’re also a great way to allow audiences to interact with your products across multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The example below comes from Fiji Water. They’ve put together a contest where they’ve asked their Facebook Fans to Instagram a picture of food with a bottle of Fiji water using the hashtag #DiscoverFIJIWater for a chance to win.

Fiji Water Instagram Picture

Show What’s Behind The Curtain

While Starbucks was an early adopter of Instagram and now has over 595,000 followers. The company uses Instagram to showcase in-store experiences at various locations around the world, how new coffees are tested, tasted and chosen at the Stabucks headquarters and provides a ‘behind the scenes’ experience. Starbucks also shares their feed on Facebook, allowing their fans additional opportunity to comment and engage.

Starbucks Instagram Campaign

Integrate With Event Marketing

The popularity of Instagram has proven that people love taking pictures! If your company is hosting an event, assign a specific hashtag to the event and have attendees apply it to their Instagram photos. This will not only increase brand awareness but will also give you a way to have real-time photos of the event – which you can also repurpose across different social media channels. The example below comes from a user who uploaded an event picture using the #marketingprofs hashtag:

Marketing Profs Instagram Event Photo

Embrace the Power of Hashtags

Like many other social networks, Instagram has adopted the hashtag. This can give brands the opportunity to hashtag photo descriptions or tie-in to other popular hashtags. Looking at the example from above, if a user searches for #marketingprofs, s/he will find all images that are using that hashtag.

High end retailer, Marc Jacobs, used the route of encouraging their fans to snap and share pictures with them. Over the holidays, the retailer creatively asked users to share family moments by using the hashtag #marcfam. The company then compiled and currated the images and have showcased them on their website for all to see:

Marc-Jacobs-Instagram-Campaign

Have Fun With Your Photos!

The key element of Instagram is having fun with the photos. There are many apps available to help you edit and manipulate your photos in Instagram. You can also use collages to tell a story when you have multiple images to show. Sharpie is a great example of a brand that uses Instagram to its full potential. The brand uses the photo sharing tool to showcase fun illustrations using the simple permanent marker. Their page is nothing but boring and really feeds inspiration to those who follow.

instagram sharpie pictures

About Anita Loomba


Currently a Marketing Manager at Fred Meyer Jewelers, Anita directs social media, consumer insight and analytics. A Seattle native, she moved to Portland for school and has been here ever since. She's worked with large companies like Intel and Warner Brothers and has experience with smaller agencies as well. She loves traveling, photography and all things social media!

Category: TMMPDX

Anita Loomba TMMPDX

The photo sharing app, Instagram, made headlines recently when it surpassed 100 million users – which is drastically up from 15 million in January! Many top companies are leveraging the social media channel to engage with their audiences by sharing creative images related to their brands. Instagram has given brands a platform to tell a story or even effectively market to their target audiences. Here are a few ways businesses can integrate Instagram into their marketing mix:

Create a Contest

Social media contests are a great way to engage consumers and can span large audiences. They’re also a great way to allow audiences to interact with your products across multiple social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The example below comes from Fiji Water. They’ve put together a contest where they’ve asked their Facebook Fans to Instagram a picture of food with a bottle of Fiji water using the hashtag #DiscoverFIJIWater for a chance to win.

Fiji Water Instagram Picture

Show What’s Behind The Curtain

While Starbucks was an early adopter of Instagram and now has over 595,000 followers. The company uses Instagram to showcase in-store experiences at various locations around the world, how new coffees are tested, tasted and chosen at the Stabucks headquarters and provides a ‘behind the scenes’ experience. Starbucks also shares their feed on Facebook, allowing their fans additional opportunity to comment and engage.

Starbucks Instagram Campaign

Integrate With Event Marketing

The popularity of Instagram has proven that people love taking pictures! If your company is hosting an event, assign a specific hashtag to the event and have attendees apply it to their Instagram photos. This will not only increase brand awareness but will also give you a way to have real-time photos of the event – which you can also repurpose across different social media channels. The example below comes from a user who uploaded an event picture using the #marketingprofs hashtag:

Marketing Profs Instagram Event Photo

Embrace the Power of Hashtags

Like many other social networks, Instagram has adopted the hashtag. This can give brands the opportunity to hashtag photo descriptions or tie-in to other popular hashtags. Looking at the example from above, if a user searches for #marketingprofs, s/he will find all images that are using that hashtag.

High end retailer, Marc Jacobs, used the route of encouraging their fans to snap and share pictures with them. Over the holidays, the retailer creatively asked users to share family moments by using the hashtag #marcfam. The company then compiled and currated the images and have showcased them on their website for all to see:

Marc-Jacobs-Instagram-Campaign

Have Fun With Your Photos!

The key element of Instagram is having fun with the photos. There are many apps available to help you edit and manipulate your photos in Instagram. You can also use collages to tell a story when you have multiple images to show. Sharpie is a great example of a brand that uses Instagram to its full potential. The brand uses the photo sharing tool to showcase fun illustrations using the simple permanent marker. Their page is nothing but boring and really feeds inspiration to those who follow.

instagram sharpie pictures

About Anita Loomba


Currently a Marketing Manager at Fred Meyer Jewelers, Anita directs social media, consumer insight and analytics. A Seattle native, she moved to Portland for school and has been here ever since. She's worked with large companies like Intel and Warner Brothers and has experience with smaller agencies as well. She loves traveling, photography and all things social media!