Making the most out of social media for your franchise business Part 3: Instagram

Note: This is the third blog in a four part series that will cover how franchise businesses use social media to market their business.

A bit ago, we discussed how to use the social media tools Facebook and Twitter to market your franchise business. This week, we will discuss how your franchise business should use Instagram, a slightly different social media tool. 

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Originally, a distinctive feature was that it confined photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras. In August 2015, version 7.5 was released, allowing users to post photos captured in any aspect ratio. Users can also apply digital filters to their images. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is 15 seconds.

Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app. The service rapidly gained popularity, with over 100 million active users as of April 2012 and over 300 million as of December 2014.

The question is, then, how can you use instagram to market your franchise business? There are many ways including the strategic use of hashtags, content variety, and calls to action that can be used to bring attention to your franchise.

1. Upload wisely- and regularly. Instagram, unlike Facebook, shows pictures in a chronological order. This means that a user will see the most recent posts at the top of their feed and scroll down for earlier posts. If a user follows over 500 accounts, he or she can become inundated with pictures. Do not post in the middle of the night as users will probably not see the posts until morning and depending on when others uploaded content, your posts could become buried. Mix up the times of day that you post and make a note of how many likes and comments each post receives. You might notice a pattern within your particular market that could help determine when is best to post.

2. Variety is the spice of life. Post pictures of products, items, classes, services, and events, as well as candid shots of customers, employees, and even pets! (People love seeing animals on Instagram.) Occasionally, add a humorous meme or a motivational quote, just don’t overdo it.

3. Make it personal. One of my favorite accounts to follow is the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas. My girlfriends and I went there in May of 2014 and after taking our picture, our waitress asked if she could post the picture and tag us if we gave her our usernames. It was really fun seeing ourselves in the pictures and the clever caption that they came up with. I still follow them even though I have not been back to Las Vegas since then.

4. Tag someone who might…. “Tag someone who might eat this,” “tag someone who might want this for their birthday,” “tag someone who this reminds you of,” “tag someone who would enjoy this class.” These are all ways to gain new followers while marketing your franchise and expanding your reach.

5. Run a contest. Have a contest relating to your brand. Who can take the funniest picture with one of your products? Who can make the best short video? Offer a gift card or other small token to keep people motivated.

As with most social media marketing techniques, the possibilities are endless. Check out this article for even more ideas about how to use Instagram to market your franchise through social media!

IG marketing

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