Building a successful business is no small feat, neither does it happen through a stroke of luck. It involves, among other things, formulating and implementing effective strategies as well as adapting to changes that shape the business environment. Speaking of change, one of the most noteworthy recent changes in the business world is the move from adherence to conventional/traditional marketing practices, to a general acceptance and usage of online inbound marketing techniques. Even more on change: Instagram, which was formerly considered as a platform for young people, has become a viable business hub. Starting from a user-base of 300 million people in 2013, Instagram’s growth rate has been awe-inspiring. In less than 2 years, it grew to having no less than 500 million users, and, as of today, its number of active users stands Create a Smooth Conversion Path with Third-Party Services — Walmart Walmart’s position on the list of Fortune 500 companies attests to its possession of top-notch marketing strategies. Noteworthy on its Instagram bio is a Like2Buy hyperlink: Indisputably, Like2Buy helps to smoothen Walmart’s conversion path. It does this by creating a sales page that is a perfect replica of Walmart’s Instagram page, so that prospects can find the exact products which piqued their interest. Because of the ease of finding a product, prospects are easily pushed down to the middle of the sales funnel by this. E-commerce businesses looking forward to effectively and efficiently converting prospects have two things to learn from Walmart. First, you may decide to use the help a third-party service to ease your conversion path. Second, you SHOULD always provide a link to your sales page – people can’t stand the hassle of searching for stuff. Promote Brand Using Hashtags – NIKE. Nike hasn’t relented in leveraging its trademark, “Just Do It”, ever since it was coined in 1988. It has further taken this brand-promotion tenacity to Instagram by concluding every post with a “Just Do It” hashtag. The result of this is its endless accumulation of unsolicited promoters – tons of people are quick to embed a “Just Do It” hashtag on snapshots of themselves wearing Nike accessories. Interestingly, this kind of situation would likely compel most businesses to tighten their belt with regards paid promotions, thereby increasing ROI. You can also stimulate brand awareness this way. All it takes is to adopt a simple catchphrase, then turn it to a hashtag that will resonate with prospects. Today, a quick search for “Just Do It” on Instagram shows millions of entries. Increase Engagement Rates Through Regram Offer – GAP Last year, GAP offered its Instagram followers who could express themselves using a ‘”DO YOU” hashtag, a ‘regram’ opportunity. While this is a good example of a brand promotion tactic using hashtags, I’m emphasizing the regram offer, here. Regramming is simply the act of re-sharing images and videos posted on Instagram. The Regram offer by GAP skyrocketed its engagement rate. The number of likes on re-posts of stunts pulled by followers was vividly different from those on normal posts. Let’s face it — regram broadens reach. People are interested in what their friends post, especially when they are for special purposes, like being regrammed by a renowned business. The take-home point here is that B2C organizations should quit publishing drab, product-centric content always. You can bolster engagement by coming down to your prospects’ level – just as GAP did. Increase Product Awareness Using Entertaining Videos — Coca Cola 94% of the world’s population recognizes a Coca-Cola bottle.. Nonetheless, Coca-Cola undertakes large-scale product awareness strategies. A perusal at its Instagram page would reveal tons of videos targeted at arousing interest in a bottle of Coca-Cola. From videos revealing cans of coke customized with Marvel characters, to promotional videos by celebrities such as Dj Khaled and Selena Gomez, Coca-Cola, last year, doled out tons of content that resonated with followers. The take home point here is, pictures alone do not make the cut in boosting product awareness. Try your hands at producing interesting and entertaining content. These will keep prospects at the edge of their seat while driving your message home. Boost Engagement and Followers by Requesting Tags — Facebook It might seem awkward to include Instagram’s parent company on the list, but Facebook is indeed a notable mention. Its Instagram presence is worthy of emulation. More of than not, Facebook publishes eye-catching videos and pictures, then asks followers to tag friends who possess certain qualities. For brands on Instagram, this strategy of requesting tags is akin to killing two birds with a stone. First, it increases prospects’ interaction, all to your credit. Second, because tons of people are likely to follow your brand after being tagged in your post, this can help you attract new followers. Conclusion The global business environment has changed from what it used to be. Today, there is a general acceptance of inbound marketing techniques of which content marketing is arguably the most significant. It’s however needless to say that businesses that wish to make a go of content must have a solid social media plan in place. On this note, this article has emphasized on how businesses can make the most of their Instagram experience. It chose to study the strategies being employed by Walmart, Facebook, Gap, Nike and Coca Cola, and how each has done well done well in meeting their marketing needs. Also, it proposes that, by treading the path of extremely successful brands, small-medium sized business can as well be within the neighborhood of success.