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Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app with 80 million users and counting. It has seen many changes lately.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012, launched a redesign on iOS that includes a new “Explore” tab and is rumored to be developing a web presence (so that users can see photos online, not just on the mobile app).

Social media management platform HootSuite also recently announced the addition of Instagram to its app directory. This gives HootSuite users access to almost all of Instagram’s features, which include searching, viewing and liking content, adding comments and sharing photos to other social platforms.

Looking for content ideas for this increasingly popular mobile social platform to give your business extra visibility?

Instagram

Here are 10 creative ways your can use Instagram as a Social Media Marketing platform.

1) Show Your Products;  Everyone loves to browse products, so let your followers do some mobile window-shopping! Show off a collection of the products you offer, share a photo of a new or lesser-known product or zoom in on a product and engage your Instagram followers by asking them to guess what it is. If its a service oriented business, Show off some of the equipment and supplies that play a role in the services you provide. For example, fitness trainers could show off their favorite workout equipment, photographers could reveal their most prized camera lens.

2) Show How It’s Made; Let followers in on the origins of their favorite products with snapshots taken at various points in the manufacturing process. If that process is a long one, you might consider making it a multi-part post that follows the process from planning to production to delivery.

3) Go Behind the Scenes; Getting ready to launch or promote products and services is hard work, but presents many opportunities to get some great content for Instagram. Doing a promotion, Shooting an ad, Filming a commercial, Getting made-up for a media interview? These are moments that very few people get to experience in real life. Think of Instagram as a way to give all of your followers an exclusive backstage pass!

4) Show What Your Products Can Do; Sometimes our imagination only takes us so far. Use Instagram to create demand by helping consumers imagine new or novel uses for what you offer. This gives you a perfect opportunity to invite user-generated content. Have fans submit their own photos demonstrating creative use of your products and pick the best ones to post on Instagram. If your business provides a service show your Instagram followers the impact of your work with a shot of your subject before and after you work your magic. The side-by-side comparison will add the wow factor to your Instagram content and maybe even get you a few new customers.

5) Give a Sneak Peek; Everyone likes to be the first to know anything. Make your Instagram followers feel special and give them exclusive previews of products and services, or virtual tours of your new stores, production facilities or offices in the making. Things never seen before make for particularly shareable content, so be sure to publish the post to Facebook and Twitter as well, since Instagram does not yet have a sharing or reposting function.

6) Show Your Office; People who follow their favorite brands on social media have probably asked at one time or another, “I wonder what it’d be like to work there?” Well, show them! Post photos that provide a glimpse of a-day-in-the-life at your office—work areas, the corporate gym or play-field, conference room, training sessions, employees at lunch, employees at play—the opportunities here are countless. If you’re hiring, be sure to point people to your online job postings in the caption.

7) Take Us With You; Going to a trade-show or your sponsored event? Use that as an opportunity to take your Instagram followers with you wherever you’re going. Followers in those locations will be tickled to know you’re in their neighborhood. Folks can also get a better feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.

8) Introduce Your Employees; Humanize your brand by using Instagram to introduce your fans to the people who make your company what it is. Spotlighted employees will enjoy the recognition (and a few seconds of fame) and Instagram followers will get a chance to see the people behind the brand. You might even want to make this profile an ongoing campaign that takes fans around the office to meet staff serving a variety of roles within your company. Be sure to punch up the post and share a little about each employee in the caption.

9) Share Celebrity Sightings; Cash in on celebrity cachet and share pictures of them interacting with your brand, whether they’re signing autographs at your sponsored event, speaking, visiting your office or even using your products or services. These posts will be sure to get followers talking.

10) Share the Cuteness; There is no denying the appeal of animals and nature in social media. Whether they’re pets visiting the office, starring in your ads or places, never miss an opportunity to get a snapshot to share on Instagram.

Credit: socialmediaexaminer