instagram-for-businessInstagram currently has around 200 million monthly active users. The Facebook-owned marketing tool allows for photo and video sharing, and similar to Facebook, users can like and comment on posts. Fifty million new users joined Instagram in the last six months alone.

Instagram is a tool small businesses should be using for marketing. It is a free download and can increase brand awareness to target customers. It can be used to engage customers in quizzes, contests, and anything else you can imagine. Instagram is the perfect platform for visual content sharing. Studies show that people respond to visual information 40% better than text.

An Instagram post requires a photo, a filter, a tag line, and relevant hashtags. Your voice should be consistent with your brand, whether it is serious or playful.

Freestyle used Instagram for a watch giveaway contest. They called on customers to post photos with their Freestyle watches using the hashtag #myfreestylewatch. This increased the reach of the watch company by advertising to the networks of the participating customers. The customers were happy to post their photos for a chance to win a watch from Freestyle’s new collection.

Instagram is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing. People trust their friends, and social media gives consumers access to what their friends like. When used strategically, Instagram can build trust and increase your reach. Consumers answer the call to action at least 70% of the time on Instagram.