***This marketing advice column originally appeared in our Summer 2017 Ranch House Journal. Never miss another feature like this, subscribe to the Journal here.
It’s been said, if you want to know what the next big thing in marketing is, ask a teenager. Facebook originally started as a social media outlet strictly for students. A few years ago, every teenager was on this app with a yellow screen and a ghost. Today, Instagram is one of the most popular trends for the younger generation, with recent stats showing 90% of their 700 million users are under age 35.
So what is Instagram? It might be easier to simply ask a teenager, but Instagram is an app primarily based on pictures and video. Users can apply filters to photos to create different looks and lighting. They can use geotags to pinpoint where the photos were taken, and use hashtags to share their photo amongst other Instagram users. And believe it or not, Instagram can help you sell agriculture products.
I’ve been on Instagram for several years now, but I tend to be a loyal Facebooker. But this March, during the Houston Livestock Show, I noticed the international guests at the ranch were all over Instagram, and I asked why. They simply explained, it cuts through the clutter. They don’t have to read chain letters or personal rants. Actually, they don’t have to read anything: they just see a photo. And a good photo goes beyond words, beyond language, beyond borders.
So I logged into our ranch’s Instagram, and was shocked to see we had 13K followers, when I don’t even post that often! So, I started posting more, and it’s been great.
I actually turned over our V8 Instagram posting responsibilities to my husband, because it’s so easy. He snaps a jillion cow photos on his phone anyway, and it just makes sense for him to be the one posting them.
Granted, I had to teach him about hashtags. Now we have a little competition of how often we can get one of our photos in the top posts for #brahman. If you’re new on Instagram, I suggest browsing for hashtags relevant to your photo. For example, #cowsofinstagram can put your photos on the news feed of a more artsy cattle audience. My friend Stuart Watkins has made many international business contacts by using #brahmanrojo, even though he’s is a Red Brahman breeder in the United States.
Recently, my sister Catherine introduced me to the “Your Story” feature on Instagram, which are the photos that occur at the very top of the app’s news feed for 24 hours then disappear. Using this feature – especially with video – can really boost your exposure. The “Explore” tab is also great for finding photos that the app thinks you would be interested in.
So, if you’re looking for a new marketing tool to use this summer, download Instagram. Give it a try! See how many new friends you can connect with, and have fun!
Too busy to create and post to Instagram? We can help with that! Ranch House offers social media management services, where a specialist assists you in creating social profiles for your business. We can even help you run said social pages! Visit https://ranchhousedesigns.com/social-media-marketing/ to learn more about our social media management and marketing services.