Using Instagram To Promote Your Business

Dallas Social Media, Melissa Cowser with Texas Media ProsMelissa Cowser, keynote speaker, presented “Using Instagram to Promote Your Business” at #DFWRocks2014. A few of the highlights of her presentation are listed below.

Instagram for Business

Before you start using Instagram you need to do some research on your market.

  • Test it out with a personal account
  • – always posting interesting things
  • Determine the “voice” of your brand

Telling Your Story on Instagram

  • Who, Where, What is your brand?
  • What kind of products do you sell?
  • What type of lifestyle can you showcase?
  • Action shots – people using your product
  • New uses for your product
  • “Behind the scenes” look at your office or company culture

Hashtags Gone Wrong on Instagram

  • #thathashtagiswaytoolong
  • Wrong #hashtag for the subject
  • #too #many #hashtags #that #dont #make #sense

Hashtag Hijacking

  • Trolls – post repeatedly to trending topics
  • #Hashtag takeover – #MCDStories (people were supposed to post happy times at McDonald’s but not all the posts were happy posts)
  • #Hashtag stuffing

Instagram Company Case Studies:


  • 27 million followers
  • Signature #hashtag #starbucks
  • What are they selling? PRODUCTS
  • What emotions come to mind when looking at their profile?


  • You CAN sell your product in a tasteful “non-sell-y” way
  • Signature hashtag wins again


  • Focus on community
  • What are they selling?


  • Get your followers involved

Warby Parker

  • What are they selling? BEHIND THE SCENES – GIVING BACK
  • Real people, down to earth marketing
  • What emotions come to mind when looking at their profile?


  • Where are the #hashtags? (They don’t use them)
  • Sharing milestones is a great way to connect
  • All around – great Instagram marketing

Instagram Contests and Giveaways:

Choose prize and entry method

  • Photo entry contest – remind entrants to set photos to ‘public’
  • Like and comment contest
  • Follow contest

Read more about social media contests and how to run one effectively.

Post ALL of the details

  • How to enter, how winner is chosen, rules and regulations
  • Market your contest!
  • Attention grabbing title
  • Promote across networks
  • Get involved
  • Give it time
  • Track and Measure

Instagram Tool Recommendations


  • Simple interface
  • Save inspiring photos to private photo albums in the app
  • See follower and engagement statistics at a glance

Iconosquare (formerly Statigram)

  • More comprehensive stats

Instagram Must Do’s

  • Post regularly (3 to 5 times per week)
  • Be authentic – show why you are different
  • Use appropriate #hashtags
  • Be thankful
  • Be engaging – respond using [email protected] to tag a person
  • Get your followers involved
  • Track and measure contests and giveaways

Instagram Don’ts

  • NO SPAMMING – more than 3 to 4 posts per day is too much (Quality vs. Quantity)
  • DO NOT go commenting on your followers photos with your latest product, adding #hashtags or anything that would annoy them

Advertising on Instagram

  • “Sponsored” photos and videos promoting brands the user does not already follow
  • Consumers will be able to provide feedback – “I don’t want to see this”
  • Goal is for ads to be as normal / natural as possible in the feed
  • Instagram WILL NOT sell your photos

Question: Can you edit the comment on a photo?

Answer: Just swipe over the picture and it will let you trash the comment so that you can start over.

Question: How effective is it for local marketing?

Answer: Local businesses are hesitant to use Instagram, however it can be very effective for local marketing.

Question: Where can I go to learn about #hashtags? (I have a local business)

Answer: You can search to see if people are using certain #hashtags to find you (ex: Are people using ‘Plano TX’, or just ‘Plano’?). With the search button you can search brands or #hashtags to find more information about your local market. You can use Tagstogram, but it may be a little trial and error to start.

Question: I have a video production company, and I take lots of pictures and usually post them. Should I just pick out the best ones or…?

Answer: You could pick out the best ones, or keep all of them, and create a collage of the different pictures, and put them together. There is Pic Stitch which will let you put the pictures altogether in a collage.

Question: What are the trends of people joining Instagram?

Answer: The older demographics are starting to join Instagram which is why more and more businesses are getting on Instagram. Also potential customers will use #hashtags more on Instagram than on Facebook.

Question: Also you were saying that Instagram has less “noise” than Facebook?

Answer: You don’t have to post as much on Instagram as you would on Facebook to get as much of an impact.

Question: How do you know what gets pushed out?

Answer: You have to look at what you are doing on Facebook to see if you would push it also to Instagram (and vice versa).

Question: If you are doing Instagram to Facebook how should you set that up?

Answer: When you push from Instagram to Facebook then there usually a link. You can’t do Facebook to Instagram though. ClipStitch is a good app to use as well.

Visit Texas Media Pros to learn more about Melissa and what they do.

Edgar Griggs

Edgar Griggs loves to learn about new technology and high tech gadgets. You’ll find him at local events around the DFW Metroplex researching, writing and blogging and editing websites like and The Interestingly Cool Stuff Blog. Follow him on Twitter @BookMarkSocial

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Author: Edgar Griggs