Keeping up with the latest trends in social media marketing can be a full-time job. Deciphering which trends are here to stay and which are just a passing fad can be even more time consuming. At Vivial, we make it our business to stay on the cutting edge of technologies that can help you grow your business. That’s why we pour through mounds of research every day so we can pinpoint the trends you need to pay attention to. Enter Instagram. Once thought of as a social platform for personal storytelling through photos—the network is now on track to hit a billion monthly active users this year. Any network of that size is most certainly a viable tool for businesses to connect with customers. (Which is why we recently added Instagram to our own marketing platform.)

And that’s just what businesses are doing. In fact, an estimated 71% of businesses are using the platform for their marketing efforts in 2018—almost double the amount using it just two years ago. With that kind of growth, Instagram is hardly a platform that can be ignored. So, if Instagram isn’t part of your digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out. But, we understand that jumping onto a new social media platform can be intimidating, so we’re going to get you started with three ways you can use Instagram to bolster your business.

Promote custom content

You’ve heard us say it countless times—content is king. Custom content can go a long way towards demonstrating your business’ expertise in your industry, and distinguishing yourself from the competition. In fact, most consumers believe that when a business creates custom content, it signifies a desire to have a more meaningful relationship with customers. And just to be clear—that’s a good thing. But how can you be sure that when you’ve put the time and effort into creating custom content it will get seen? Promote it on social media. A compelling image with a few key descriptor words, a few well-placed hashtags, a link to your content, and bam! Marketing magic.

Use videos to give an inside scoop

If there’s anything we’ve given as much love to as custom content, it’s video. Video—live or recorded—is a highly consumed medium online, and tends to generate more meaningful consumer reactions and engagements than other mediums. Behind-the-scenes and how-to videos are a huge hit when it comes to small businesses. Landscaper? Do a quick video showing the best way to transplant shrubs. Auto repair shop? Show us how to change a flat tire! Realtor? Walk us through your most recent listing. The sky is the limit—and consumers are eating up video on Instagram at a tremendous rate.

Share special offers, discounts or giveaways

We’re approaching the holiday season, so it’s never too early to be thinking about how to boost business. A simple image with a discount code, special offer or giveaway will not only capture the attention of your existing followers, but offers an amazing way to capture new followers. Everyone loves a deal, and these kinds of posts don’t require a whole lot of effort or budget as they can easily go viral.

The ways you can use Instagram to grow your business are endless. The only limit really is your imagination (and a few rules and guidelines from Instagram). With the explosive growth this platform has experienced over the last two years, now really is the time to get on board and add it to your marketing strategy. And, if you’re a little overwhelmed, or don’t know where to start—just reach out to us—we’ll get you on the right path.