Letting Your Weird, Creative Side Shine

In the land of selfies, it takes clever marketing to score on this photo-centered social media platform.

In the land of selfies, it takes clever marketing to score on this photo-centered social media platform.

Many young people have deserted Facebook for photo-sharing on Instagram. For brands trying to appeal to a younger demographic, Instagram is the place to be.

In the land of selfies, it takes clever marketing to score on this photo-centered social media platform. Instagram also involves more than simple sharing or "likes." It appeals to people who like to engage and be part of something.

For example, a music group called The Vaccines asked its Instagram users to take photos at shows and festivals to crowd source a music video. Others have employed Instagram for online fundraising, using fetching photos to tell the story about the fundraising recipient.

Instagram isn't for everybody. If you and your customers like to produce and read lengthy white papers, choose another channel. But it you can let creative side loose, Instagram can be a fun and informative avenue to activate your audience.

A sales rep who peddles a product aimed at younger adults decided he would outdo Instagram's selfie reputation by posting 200 selfies and dubbing himself King of the Selfies. Because videos now work on Instagram, some companies have filmed product demos or even tutorials that are clever ways to lure customers.

Because a big chunk of the audience is young, weird is always welcome, which was exploited by some who posted what amount to a flyer to sell sheep. The Transportation Security Administration used Instagram to show the bizarre array of weapons and drugs they discovered in people's luggage.

Hashtags are an important way many Instagram users find new ccounts to follow. Using Instagram's search feature can help you find popular hashtags to help categorize your content. However, be sure not to overuse. A post with 15 hashtags comes across as spammy.

Posting on Instagram isn't an exclusive dating relationship. Instagram photos can illustrate blog posts. You can have an Instagram tab on a Facebook page. You can email followers or subscribers to let them know when you have new Instagram posts. You can cross-promote Instagram posts on Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. You even could curate some of your best Instagram posts on a Pinterest board.

Like any social media, posting randomly on Instagram makes little sense and will gain little traction. Your use of Instagram should be part of a carefully thought out strategy to connect with a key audience. And what you post needs to resonate with the audience you seek to reach.