Remember the days when you went on a vacation armed with a little digital camera and took hundreds of pictures? Upon your return you had to connect it to your laptop and download all the images and select the best ones to share with you family and friends… That’s so 2009!
Today thankfully we have Instagram. Not only can I make my average smart phone pics look semi-professional and super cool, it also allows me to tell a story through pictures, in real time.
I enjoy traveling, whether for work or for pleasure. I was fortunate to have had opportunities to travel widely for my work to many interesting countries around the globe. As I explore the streets, the nooks and crannies, sometimes all I am armed with is my smartphone to capture the sights, sounds and experiences of life in a strange new place. The old lady in Vietnam carrying traditional rice pots on a bamboo stick, a little kid in Turkey dancing on the street outside the Blue Mosque, Mickey and Minnie mouse on a smoke break at Times Square in New York city… I’ve had fun capturing many of these images and adding a little note of my own, before sharing them on Instagram with my friends and followers. The initial response took me by surprise!
Strangers and friends commented on my pictures adding their own perspective or experiences in these places, some with useful travel tips, recommendations for little known sights off the beaten tourist path, and many just thanking me for giving them a glimpse of life in a distant land. With each new post, I learned to get better. I created little stories, adding hashtags to make it easier for people to find information on a place/subject/event. I tried to see the pictures through the eyes of my followers and learned to post images people would find interesting. Soon, I was part of a vibrant online community, many of whom I had never met, exchanging ideas, anecdotes and tips, building relationships across borders and learning more about the wide, vast world in which we are just tiny beings.
So what do my travel pictures have to do with your network marketing business?
The power of the visual medium is immense. A picture certainly paints a thousand words. If I can build relationships with strangers sharing my vacation pictures through my phone, imagine what you can do with this powerful visual medium to enhance and grow your business!
Here are some tips for turning your Instagram into an instant business tool:
Your favorite products – There are tons of clever, unique ways to show your love for your favorite product and express your personality with it. If you are a fan of a nutritional supplement, post photos of you taking it as part of your daily routine. For instance, show a picture of a scrumptious breakfast with the supplements laid out next to it. Explain the health benefits you enjoy and remember to use the appropriate hashtags such as #brandname #companyname #immunity #health #breakfast
Or if you love the beautiful jewelry line your company offers, show how you use it to dress up an outfit. Pose with a cute puppy or kitten for added visual stimulus! Hashtags #bracelet #fashionista #jewelry #companyname #accessories
The Power of a #hashtag – Hashtags provide an easy way for you to track content and bring fans together around a common purpose or interest. To get the most out of your hashtag, make it unique and easy to remember. Not sure if your hashtag is unique? Search Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to see if it’s already in use.
Vacation photos – If your business has enabled you to take fun vacations with family or friends, post a memorable picture (sky diving, swimming with the sharks, desert safari… ) with a note explaining how your business has allowed you to get out of your comfort zone and live life to the fullest. Personalize it by adding your recommended destinations, hotels, or travel tips.
Hashtag recommendations – #holidayswithcompanyname #country #networkmarketinglifestyle #Killthecomfortzone
Aspirational lifestyle – Did your network marketing business enable you to finally buy your dream home, dream car, dream phone? Let the world know! Don’t just share a standard image of whatever it is you bought, make it fun. Take a selfie with your new home in the background. Drape yourself on the hood of your new car and get a friend to take a picture. Let your followers know how your business helped you achieve this goal and how you can help them get there too.
Hashtag recommendations – #success #nameofcar (e.g #bmw) #livingtheghighlife #livinginstyle #dreamhome
Go Video – Instagram allows you to post 15-second video clips. Go beyond pictures. Capture inspiring events such as your leader touching hearts on stage, send a quick shout-out to a new team member by welcoming them with a video message, record the unboxing of a new product you just bought, capture the reaction of a team member when they get their first commission payout… the options are endless!
Engage – Don’t just shout! One of the reasons some people don’t do well with Instagram is they just post. Instagram, like all social networks, is a community. Having real, human conversations is the cornerstone of all social media success. Follow back the people who engage with you, as well as influencers in your space. Interact with them via their photos and videos as well.
That said, don’t use Instagram to promote only your business. It can put people off if you are spamming their feed with non-stop promotion. Mix things up. Tell interesting stories that have nothing to do with your business.
With Instagram, you only have a few seconds to tell a story. It’s a game changer. Everything you say must be short, punchy, intelligent, focused, and relevant. Take advantage of this amazing visual platform and make it work for you.
Ramya Chandrasekaran is Digital Marketing Manager for Networking Times. She was the Chief Communications Officer for a leading Asian Direct Selling company, responsible for PR, branding, and customer communications in key markets in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. She is currently a communications consultant for clients in the direct selling and network marketing space.