When it comes to content, small business owners are finding that a picture may be worth more than a 1000 words. It may be one of the most powerful ways to market to customers and prospects. In particular, small business owners are discovering the value of Instagram for visual content marketing. The popular app acquired by Facebook last year enables you to take a picture with your smartphone or tablet, apply filters and frames to transform its looks and then immediately share it on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social media platforms. You also can create an Instagram profile page and through the use of a widget post photos to your company website or blog.

When used as part of your content marketing campaigns, Instagram can help generate awareness for your small business brand, boost lead generation campaigns and increase your engagement with fans and followers on social media platforms. The key is to create visually moving images that resonate with your audiences to encourage them to share your visual message on their social media networks and add comments.

Get the most from Instagram

Here are some ways to effectively use Instagram for your content marketing campaigns:

Boxes in warehouseShowcase your operations: Give customers a look behind the scenes of your small business. Take them on a tour of your various departments and let them see through images what happens in the course of a day to enable you “to deliver the goods.”  If you are a manufacturer, show them how your products are made. If you run a design firm or advertising agency, give them a peak into the creative process unfolding.

Share news: Announce new products or services through images. Tell a story visually about how you developed your new product or came up with the idea for a new service and let customers see how they can use your new offering.

Introduce the team: Include images of your employees at work – in team meetings and group brainstorms — to reveal the collaborative spirit of your organization. Also include photos of company events and other fun gatherings to convey the personality of your small business.

Feature customers: No one tells your small business story better than your customers. Get permission to feature a customer using your product or employing your service and share it.  Instagram photos can be a great way to showcase new and novel ways customers use your offerings.

Use hashtags: Make it easy for users to find your images by adding hashtags to your Instagrams – keywords or phrases with the prefex #.  Hashtags make it easier for your small business products and services to be found on search engines and they help users to search and follow categories and brands that are of interest to them.

With 100 million users now on Instagram; it’s a marketing channel to seriously consider. Like all of your other content initiatives, first develop a strategy and plan before getting your Instagram effort off the ground.