Not just for selfies: How these local brands are using Instagram for business

Updated on 28 July 2014

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How these local brands are using Instagram for business


With over 1 million users in South Africa, the photo-sharing app Instagram is becoming the most popular social media tool in the market.

A recent social media landscape report indicated that one in 10 South African corporations use Instagram as a social media tool, a clear indication that businesses are still very reluctant to migrate to the platform. So why should businesses consider Instagram as a social media tool?

There are over one million Instagram users in South Africa, but only 680,000 are active users that access the app via smartphones.

Instagram is mostly available on Android and iOS devices, with the majority of these smartphone users falling within the 5-7 LSM, i.e.: the new middle class.

This market comprises mostly of young people between the ages of 16-35. These are future consumers who also influence billions of Rands that their parents spend. This group is able to adapt to new technology very fast and are more engaged on social media.

Given these stats it would be worth considering Instagram as a social media tool, since active user numbers are expected to grow through 2014.

“Instagram has the power of turning your customers into your brand evangelists”

Though brands and businesses in South Africa have been slow to adapt to Instagram, the app has a lot to offer businesses. When used correctly, Instagram has the power to turn your customers into your brand evangelists.

To get the most out of Instagram it’s important that you integrate it with other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+, creating a seamless presence on all social platforms.

Keep your postings varied, use hashtags and always experiment with new content to see what your followers enjoy the most.

Here are examples of some South African businesses and brands that are using Instagram to engage with their target audience and how you can integrate the platform in your social media strategies.

Woolworths SA
@Woolworths_SA has the largest Instagram following in South Africa. They use their Instagram to share images of recipes, events and new fashion releases that are available in-store.

Follow their lead: Use quirky and relevant hashtags that are fun to participate in. For example, @Woolworths_SA ran a #DeclareYourLove campaign around Valentines Day and posted photos of customers and employees declaring what they love the most about the store.

@TalkRadio702 is an example of a radio station that has embraced the photo sharing app and has managed to create a passionate community by integrating Instagram with their other social media platforms.

Follow their lead: Post teaser photos of events or developments. Show photos of the team, new product releases or specials and include a call to action i.e.: “Visit our store to see more of our new range of products”.

Instagram, @702 has opened up the station doors and invited the listener into the daily happenings and behind the scenes of the station, giving the station character that can only be best presented visually.

Tourism South Africa launched the MeetSouthAfrica Instagram campaign to encourage South Africans to explore the country and share their experiences with others. The aim is to showcase the country through the eyes of ordinary South Africans.

As a result a community has been developed of people sharing images and stories of their travels, engaging with each other and revealing places that were not known before.

Follow their lead: Encourage your customers to share photos and tag themselves using your products and create conversation by responding to the posts.

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