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How to Use Instagram in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

how-to-use-instagramSocial media is to marketing as a good wine is to the right cheese: They can function on their own, but they’re so much better when strategically paired together. Today, social sharing is the crux of many content initiatives, Facebook retargeting opens doors for enterprise organizations and SMBs alike, and LinkedIn has even taken steps to power lead generation efforts. So, where does the selfie-and-breakfast-pic-filled platform Instagram fit in?

If you don’t think the image-heavy, overly-hashtagged platform has a marketing utility, it’s time you looked at it through a different filter. For starters, Instagram’s 500 million active users are active, with 300 million of them logging in daily. And wouldn’t it be a shame for us marketers to miss engaging all those eyeballs [where is the sarcasm font when you need it]?

It’s kind of a running joke that social media platforms are always better before the marketers charge in and ruin things, but the reality is that social channels are where our customers are, so joining them, cleverly, can deliver a business benefit. With that in mind, here are a few ways that Instagram can power your email marketing campaigns and drive engagement.

Why Instagram?

When you consider that a key to successful marketing is delivering value to your audience on their channel of preference, it’s no wonder that brands are continually looking for ways to get more followers on this popular platform. In fact, Instagram is so popular that eMarketer forecasts more companies will be using Instagram than Twitter for marketing by 2017 (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Source: eMarketer

Since Instagram is such a powerful social channel, it’s sheer madness if you don’t find ways to leverage it for your marketing initiatives—specifically, your email campaigns. Let’s explore some ways to do just that.

How to Use Instagram to Boost Email Engagement

There are upwards of 205 billion emails that infiltrate inboxes daily, and getting a click means that brands need to stand out from the crowd. Smart marketers are integrating their social and email marketing strategies as part of an omnichannel, customer-centric approach, and for good reason: It works.

HubSpot reports that Instagram delivers 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook—and an impressive 120 times more than what’s generated by all those tweets. In one case study, an online fitness retailer garnered seven times the engagement in a 24-hour period after inserting Instagram images in their emails (see Figure 2).


Figure 2. Source: HubSpot

Many emails feature button links to social media pages for organizations, but incorporating a live feed is way more effective. With a few HTML code tweaks and a small dose of customization, your IT team can accomplish this task and you’ll be well on your way to realizing engagement boosts like the one shown in Figure 2.

Besides making emails more visually stimulating, there’s another substantial benefit to adding a live social feed to your email campaign templates: your content is automatically updated in real-time. This saves your marketing department time and resources, and it guarantees you’re delivering content that’s always fresh and relevant. This is as important for the B2B brand as it is for a B2C brand, so don’t let the fact that what you’re selling isn’t cool and sexy get in the way.

Don’t just stop at a live feed. Consider using Instagram’s popularity to expand your reach and showcase your brand culture as well. The human side of your business is often as compelling of a message as a sales pitch—many times even more so. Instagram is a great way to engage new followers, communicate your brand‘s values to people in the discovery stage, and encourage interaction and email sign-ups by offering giveaways or contests.

What’s Next?

As I mentioned earlier, Instagram might not be the most obvious choice for B2B marketers, but don’t be fooled. Many B2B brands are leveraging Instagram, and with great success.

What about your organization? Do you use Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy? If so, do you use images, live feeds, or some other technique? I’d love to hear what’s working for your brand.

Additional Resources on this Topic:
How to Use User-Generated Content to get More Instagram Followers
What the Instagram API Means for Marketers
Eight Creative Ways B2B Brands Use Instagram