Graffiti

Instagram’s recent addition of a tagging feature is yet another reason you may want to expand your social media strategy in unexpected directions. Your brand doesn’t live in a vacuum, and brands should not only be connecting with people, but with other brands. Yes, this notion may still seem counterintuitive to some, but you can help further define yourself by aligning with complementary brands while continuing to foster your own community and social presence with your existing customers.

The addition of tagging is also another way for brands to connect with their most engaged users, gather crowdsourced content, and create organic cross-promotional opportunities that weren’t previously possible on Instagram.

Customers Learn What Your Brand Is All About

Tagging

Let’s say you have a fast-food burger business. You may not want to connect with and befriend a direct competitor, like the burger joint in the next neighborhood, but connecting your brand to the local food market where you get your supplies would help your customers learn what your business is all about.

Your would-be customer makes the connection that you get your ingredients from the same market he shops at and his connection to your business is made even stronger. It may seem subtle, but if making these connections becomes a regular part of your social activity, the message will get through.

So, how would something like this look on Instagram? Well, if you’re posting a picture of your newest burger creation, you could tag the local food market and give it a shout out, like, “Inspired by the amazing avocado we picked up this morning at the market!” Voila! The connection is made, the burger looks amazing, and Joe BurgerEater knows more about your brand in the process.

And don’t forget about the market! You’ve made a connection with the folks there too. You’re recognizing them for their great product, and the next time they’re posting about the delicious avocado that just came in, you might just get a free mention about your new burger. A picture of a burger may be intriguing enough to the foodies on Instagram, but this simple organic cross-promotion between brands adds a layer of information and further develops the online persona of your brand and products.

Another Connection With Your Most Engaged Followers

tagging3

You know those followers who like every photo and comment constantly but have you been paying attention to what they’re saying? By now you’ve certainly learned something about your most engaged followers (hopefully). If not, start paying attention.

Referring again to the fast-food burger business example, you may have noticed that Joe BurgerEater commented recently about how he loves to have his burger with a nice juicy pickle. You just happen to have a delicious picture of a burger paired with the perfect pickle. Why not tag that user? Sure, you can mention him in the photo caption (and you should continue to do that), but if you tag him, your photo will also be found via the “Photos of You” tab in Joe BurgerEater’s account. Using this method, people you’ve tagged will come across your photo as they browse their Instagram accounts.

Show your most engaged followers that you not only notice what they say, but that you are taking the time to get to know them. It’s a great way to show your appreciation and further build relationships.

And, one of the more obvious ways to tag people on your Instagram pics is to actually take some pictures of people. You see your customers daily at your place of business; presumably, you’ve built an offline rapport. Ask if you can snap a pick of them enjoying lunch, and find out if they’ve got an Instagram account.

Crowdsourced Content on Your Profile

iPhone

While you can’t tag yourself in just about any photo, like you can on Facebook, you can encourage your followers to tag you in their photos. You can also set your Instagram up so that you approve which tagged photos appear on your profile. That way you can curate your own “Photos of You” tab and put only the best pictures there.

Use this new gallery of photos at your disposal to create a collage of the best images of the week (Instagram does a great job of this on its own account). Encourage users to post often by introducing new themes and promotions.

Like any new feature you try out, it may take a while for your followers to get on board. But if you remain consistent, you’ll start to see the benefits.

How have you used the tagging feature on Instagram? Let us know in the comments.

[Image credits: Jam Project, Alexandre Dulaunoy, Valerie Everett, Orin Zebest]