How to Effectively Leverage Instagram in Your Marketing Efforts

How to Effectively Leverage Instagram in Your Marketing Efforts

This guest post is by Erica Moss of the Georgetown University’s online masters of nursing programs.

How to Effectively Leverage Instagram in Your Marketing Efforts

100 million users can’t be wrong.


That’s how many people are now using Instagram, the iPhone and Android app that allows users to apply filters to photos and then share them with their social networks.

And just like any tool that is shiny and new, marketers are hopping on the bandwagon in droves, trying to decide how best to reach current and potential customers on this visual platform.


As expected, some are doing a great job, and others aren’t — and there’s a fine line between sharing your brand with the world and spamming the world with your brand.

If you’ve been considering dipping your toe into the Instagram pond, here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you effectively leverage this app and do so in a genuine way:


Post behind-the-scenes shots.


Giving your fans a peek behind the curtain is a sure-fire way to get them excited and wanting more.

Whether it’s an employee happy hour or backstage at a fashion show, showing them something they wouldn’t otherwise be privy to will be a homerun every time.

A few companies doing this well include Warby ParkerZappos and Bergdorf’s.


Tell the story of your brand.


Red Bull isn’t successful on Instagram because they post pictures of their product.

They’re successful because they show people engaging in extreme, sometimes death-defying stunts, which is in line with the company’s mantra: “Red Bull Gives You Wings.”


One of Coach’s local NYC stores is successful on Instagram because the woman who runs the account, Eliot, captures small vignettes of her day.

She posts photos while brunching in the West Village and playing with her dog, Jojo, in Central Park — she’s a socialite that the typical Coach customer will identify with, and the “likes” on her photos reflect that.


Both of these accounts are manned by people who understand that you’re selling much more than a product — you’re selling a lifestyle — and your photos should reflect that.

Make people feel like they’re a part of something, and they’ll be more inclined to buy what you’re selling.


Promote contests that make sense.


Much like Twitter, hashtags are an effective way to group similar topics on Instagram. Instagram contests can help rally people around your brand and consistently keep you top of mind.


Kate Spade recently held a contest that encouraged users to upload photos from their everyday lives that illustrated how they were embracing the company’s “Live Colorfully” theme, using the hashtag #livecolorfully.

They went a step further and promised to hand pick submissions and use them in their upcoming spring campaign — as a fan of Kate Spade, I was giddy over the prospect that they might highlight me in such a public way.

Their first photo of said campaign earned 4,700-plus “likes.”


The quality of the photos matter.


While you don’t need a professional photographer with an iPhone shooting all of your Instagram photos, you do need someone who has a good eye for composition, horizon lines and a steady hand.

Because these photos are a direct reflection of your company and your brand, if you’re consistently posting shots that are blurry, too far away or too dark, it will be easy for your customers to tune you out.



While “likes” on Instagram do not always directly translate into improving your bottom line, as a marketer, it’s always important to be where your customers are, and these days, a lot of them are active Instagrammers.

By posting exclusive photos of a high quality, telling a cohesive narrative and promoting contests that make sense for you and your customers, you’ll be well on your way to a captive audience that is receptive to your message, and, therefore, more willing to support you.


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Erica Moss

Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters of nursing programs, offering one of the nation’s leading np programs. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.


  1. Aman Bansal

    Hello Erica,
    Nice to see you are making people aware about internet.You are sharing your views about internet.
    I like to explore my dreams regarding luxury homes and cars.
    Good site. :-)

  2. Ann Mullen

    Erica , I have to admit that I have not delved into Instagram very much. You have peaked my curiosity. Thanks.

    • Erica Moss

      Glad to hear it, Ann! Definitely let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

  3. Ashley Porter

    I noticed a lot of my friends and associates now using instagram. I have yet to tie it into marketing but I am sure that will come very soon. Thanks Erica for your insight into IG

    • Erica Moss

      My pleasure, Ashley! Instagram is one of my most favorite apps, and I’m always thrilled to share some extra insight.

  4. Pamela

    Nice article! I have an instagram account, and I have tried a lof of stuff and still, I can’t get more people to follow me. I think I have good quality photos… but maybe I’m lacking in strategy… I just post pictures, I feel I’m missing something….

    • Samuel Pustea

      Hi Pamela,

      Everyone could post pictures on Instagram and a ton of them too!

      What you really should be doing is engaging as much as possible with other users and whatever followers you got.

      Hope that will help you! :)

      • Pamela

        No, it doesn’t really help me, sorry :(
        If that all I need then I would have tons of followers now. I always engage with my followers, I ask questions, I take personal photos sometimes so they get to know me, I always put long descriptions so they know what the picture is about, sometimes I give tips and stuff like that. All my photos are related to my website and still… I don’t have as many people as I would like.

        Thats what I meant when I said I really think I’m missing something… maybe I have to follow thousands of accounts like some people do to get more followers.. :(

      • Erica Moss

        Pamela, do you use hashtags? I find that’s a great way to get my photos in front of a wider audience.

      • Pamela

        Yes I do! I even look for the most used and popular tags and add them so more people can see my photos…

  5. Rajkumar Jonnala

    this is the best way to leverage instagram in marketing efforts thanks for the share

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