Instagram, just like Pinterest, has been a social platform that businesses leave to the everyday consumer, not quite understanding how to level a brand message without sounding sell-ish or robotic. It could be that marketing or P.R. teams have no idea how to harness the power of hashtags or the use of them in marketing campaigns. It could also be that they #use #broken #hashtags versus knowing how to utilize the trending ones correctly to gain more followers and brand exposure. Below you’ll find my suggestions to market any company on Instagram throughout the week.
Man crush Monday
#mancrushmonday: 487,139 photos
You could also use: #mcm
Most of the weekday hashtags are self-explanatory, and man crush Monday is definitely one of them. Although this gallery is chock-full of Jake Gyllenhals and James Francos, companies can easily leverage this hashtag. Say, for example, you’re a tech recruiting company and one of your salesmen outperformed everyone in the division. You could do the following:
- Write a short, interesting bio of him (maybe include a funny quote from him or a random fact).
- Snap a picture. Use basic photography rules. It doesn’t have to be GQ, just make it witty or realistic. Just please not grainy or blurry.
- Upload to company’s Instagram account
- Make sure your company’s brand page is connected to its Facebook page
- Include bio, hashtag #mancrushmonday and link to your site in the text
- Select to upload to company Facebook page as well
Above and below: As you can see, people use this tag to show many facets and ‘man crushes’ of their lives. From a thoroughbred, cross country jumper, to an A-list celebrity. It goes to show that companies can pretty much have a ‘mancrushmonday’ on just about anything. As long as it’s interesting, shows a human angle and somehow relates to your company’s goods or services, you’ll be portrayed as participating and joining the social conversation with consumers, not selling a product.
#transformationtuesday: 2,064,778 photos
You could also use: #tt
Another tag you could figure out with context is Transformation Tuesday, which highlight transformations utilizing before and after photos to emphasize the #transformation being promoted.. Personal uses of this hashtag could include before and after pics of a #DIY car restoration, weight loss, and home improvement projects.
Pictured above, a individual user is already taking advantage of the ‘transformationtuesday’ tag and marketing his Mustang to sell after a restoration. However from a marking standpoint, any company that provides “Before & After” services could use this hashtag to promote their work. For example a web design company that redesigns old websites.
Above: We offer responsive web design to #transform your website into a user friendly mobile experience that allows for easy navigation while simultaneously helping boost your SEO.
Way back Wednesday
#waybackwednesday: 157,098 photos
You could also use: #wbw
From a business standpoint, the Way Back Wednesday tag can also be used to showcase how far your business has come from its humble beginnings, no matter what industry you’re in. Whether it be something specific like re-designing a website, a broader idea such as showing how you’ve improved your industry with new, innovative ideas, or something as simple as streamlining the efficiency of the way things are done around your office as opposed to the way things were done when you first started, utilize the #wbw to show your target audience just have far you’ve come!
Above: For our client Dynasty Sound, we posted a ‘before’ image in our portfolio, next to an ‘after’ image of how we improved upon their website. By juxtaposing the images, we succeeded in showcasing what their website looked like ‘way back’ before we were able to amp it up and improve it. This exhibition also helped with promoting their site and our design jobs through hashtags such as #DynastySound #SoundMaskingHouston #BeforeandAfter #WebDesign and of course the #wbw #waybackwednesday hashtag!
Above: A regular Instagram user’s version of #waybackwednesday
Below: UTHS School of Nursing out of San Antonio has also taken this popular hashtag and now uploads Way Back Wednesday posts each week to their Facebook page. This is excellent cross marketing ever since Instagram was acquired by Facebook. Now the social platforms are merging their social identities as networks, and Facebook is even considering integrating hashtags.
#throwbackthursday: 20,326,072 photos
You could also use: #tbt
Throwback Thursday was really the first tag to really go viral across a vast variety of online users (as you can see by the 20 million plus pictures). #Tbt is pretty much the same concept as Way back Wednesday, however you can appeal to a larger audience and target your niche by additional hashtags:
Above: If you sell vintage jewelry, sunglasses or other accessories, this would be the perfect picture to upload and market under #throwbackthursday. It also wouldn’t hurt to add a #vintagesunglasses or #vintage jewelry tag to possibly root out your audience across the platform.
#friday 7,340,176 photos
#saturdaynight 5,873,281 photos
#saturdaymorning 102, 865
Although this day is dedicated to setting the cell phone camera to ‘self portrait’ mode, businesses can also take advantage of this hashtag to build community. For example, if Starbucks wanted to leverage the virality of the tag, their team could launch a #starbucksselfiesunday engagement campaign to display user-submitted pictures of patrons with their steaming, brand-splahed cups of coffee. Not only does this show Starbucks adaptability in the social media strategy arena, it also gives their fan base a feel-good, humanistic relationship with the company.
Below: Continuing with the Starbucks example, it’s obvious that their Instagram fans are there, they just need a clean, social campaign strategy to round them up and engage them.
Moving forward to market your brand on Instagram
If you’re involved in social strategy, SEO, or any other type of content marketing then you’re more than likely well-versed in the etiquette of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. The problem is that many are professional, social ninjas on their personal profiles, but don’t quite know how to translate that to the company account. The key is to leverage these viral hashtags and other social trends to display your brand as humanized, sincere, engaging, relevant and most importantly, not trying to push something to sell in the users’ face; the company that’s engaging and makes itself more inviting and approachable on social media is the company that is going to succeed.