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Posted By: Emily Nason
Sales & Marketing

Everyone can agree that Instagram is quickly becoming the most popular form of social media, maybe even replacing facebook. I personally love Instagram because of the notion that a picture says a thousand words really holds true. You can follow someone's life through a series of photos and get a whole new perspective. Of course I also use it to stay up to date on all my favorite celebrities. But it isn't just for the individual anymore. Instagram has provided brands with a creative new outlet to share their stories and engage with their customers. How are brands using Instagram as a marketing channel? In particular how are e-commerce businesses using the photo sharing service?

Believe it or not, Instagram is still relatively new but many large companies are already embracing this new free form of marketing. Many larger brands are using Instagram for brand reinforcement. Brands like Dunkin Donuts (746,000 followers) use it to tell a behind-the-scenes story of how the coffee is made. Social brands like The Chive (847,000 followers)Puma (1.9 million followers) and Wayfair (118,000 followers) all have carved out their strategy in Instagram as well. But like I mentioned, these are all mostly brand reinforcement. The trick is turning the photos into online sales.

In the Mashable article, How 3 Entrepreneurs Used Instagram for Business, they talk to Haylee Winard, owner of ShopExcessBaggage.com (20,000 followers). Winard said, "Every image we post is like a virtual billboard in Times Square". Haylee said that they regularly sell out of merchandise they post on Instagram and that Instagram has significantly boosted their revenues. She goes on to say that "I've used all the social media tools out there to help support my business but none have had the direct impact on sales that Instagram has had."

Its important for ecommerce sites and companies to use all the tools at their disposal. Facebook and Linkedin are important, but it's equally important to engage in the newer forms of social media that are coming out of the wood works. Instagram is a quick and easy way to post pictures of your products, get brand recognition, and engage with your customers. Whats better than free marketing?

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