Getting customers and prospects to share your company Blog, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter post is the Holy Grail of Social Media Marketing. Whole Blogs and indeed books have been written on the subject because if you can get people to share your information and in the extreme, have something “go viral”, it can do wonders for your brand name, reputation and sales.
So this week, I want to introduce you to Instagram. Instagram is a popular website and iPhone app that allows you to take a picture, add a filter (say sepia tone) and some text and then easily share with your friends and fans on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr etc. The name is a reference or “homage” to Kodak Instamatics and the concept of instant Polaroid snaps plus the welcome immediacy of a traditional Telegram. There are look-e-likees for Android phones, but Instagram for iPhone is the original and still the best! The app gained 12M downloads in just a year and is still growing thanks to its simplicity, and I would say, focus on Social Media sharing, rather than technical quality of the actual photographs.
But what has this got to do with promoting a small business, I hear you say? Well for a start producing any content about your business that you can share on Social Media is a good thing and this has to be the easiest thing you could possibly do. Just have your staff take random photos as they go about their business, add a filter and post it with some comment about what they are doing. With luck, you might find you have an employee with a bit of a talent for photography or snappy (excuse the pun) one-liners!
But for even more customer engagement, how about giving your customers an iPhone and ask them to take pictures of your staff or better, of themselves, using your product or service and ask them to share with their friends? If you do not have retail premises, then take advantage of Trade Shows or Exhibitions you might attend. If you provide an outdoor trade service, then simply ask your customer to photograph you and share the end results.
People are always interested in sharing photographic content about themselves and highlighting their experiences with your company is only a small step beyond that. Doing something as simple as encouraging your customers to post pictures will engage them and also give you an inside look into various ways your customers perceive your company.
I suspect that encouraging customer to post pictures via Social Media will work better for some businesses than others. For example, it is not hard to see how travel companies could use this idea or indeed veterinary practices. But just because you sell widgets, does not mean you should dismiss this idea. The important thing is to do something your competitor would not think of, or even dare!
Of course, if your customers do not have the app, you can demonstrate it yourself as a prelude to asking them to post something as an Instagram. And isn’t this a nice subtle way to get your customers engaged with you as a business and to have your business promoted for free to their friends which, like as not, will be in the market for your products and services!