If you think Instagram, exists only as a so-called creative outlet for hipsters to share selfies and photos of their lunch, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity. Major corporations, from Microsoft to Expedia and REI, and small businesses, such as Seattle Thread Co. and Cafe Cesura, use Instagram to market their brand, grow product recognition, and engage with fans.

In August 2012, Instagram surpassed Twitter in terms of active users on mobile devices. Today Instagram boasts more than 400 million monthly active users, thus continuing its second-place social media standing behind its parent company, Facebook.

Additionally, Instagram sees more than 80 million photos shared daily, and 3.5 billion likes per day, which makes marketing a business of any size and vertical on Instagram a no-brainer, especially for local business owner Jason Miles.

Jason Miles, co-founder and CEO of Liberty Jane Clothing and author of Instagram Power. (Courtesy Photo)

Jason Miles, co-founder and CEO of Liberty Jane Clothing and author of Instagram Power. Photo courtesy Jason Miles.

Miles, co-founder and CEO of Auburn-based online doll clothing retailer Liberty Jane Clothing, says the success of his online business is bolstered largely by social media marketing.

“We really started our business with the only promotional activity being YouTube in 2008,” Miles said. “We were in the mindset of trying to connect with people so we would run our content – then of course Facebook came along, and then Pinterest, and then Instagram – and it has been a great tool for us.”

Miles took his experience with Liberty Jane’s social media and distilled his knowledge into a collection of books designed to help other business owners market through platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and even Etsy. Among these books, Instagram Power: Build your brand and reach more customers with the power of pictures debuted as one of the first Instagram marketing books on the scene in late 2013.

Jason Miles, author of Instagram Power, encourages his readers to follow his business, Liberty Jane Clothing, on Instagram as an example of effective Instagram marketing.

Jason Miles, author of Instagram Power, uses Instagram as one element of marketing for his business, Liberty Jane Clothing. Screen shot courtesy Jason Miles.

“The formula in the book is pretty straight forward, we document our own lessons learned and demonstrate how we use Instagram for our business,” Miles said. “Readers can view our business profile on Instagram to see what we do and how we do it. We practice what we preach.”

Liberty Jane is not the only business presented in Miles’ book, Instagram Power includes additional success stories.

“In the books I try to interview a lot of practitioners that are really effectively using those platforms,” he said. “We have a lot of interviews included with people who are just crushing it on Instagram, I think that is fun content for the book.”

As Miles continues to grow his business he intends to keep his use of Instagram at the forefront of his marketing strategies.

“It serves a great purpose in people’s lives by documenting activity visually and I think people love the simplicity of it,” Miles said. “Instagram continues to be incredibly popular and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Instagram Power: Build your brand and reach more customers with the power of pictures by local author, Jason Miles. (Courtesy photo)

Instagram Power: Build your brand and reach more customers with the power of pictures by local author, Jason Miles. Photo courtesy Jason Miles.

Whether you have a retail store or run a tech company, Instagram can be used to grow brand recognition and develop a desire to interact with your brand, in person or online. Below, Miles shared a few tips from his book, Instagram Power, for reaching Instagram marketing success.

Know your audience:

It’s as true with Instagram as with any other form of advertising; you have to know who you want to reach. “Have that ideal makeup in your head of who that person is that you are trying to attract to your brand,” Miles said. “Then your content strategy will flow out from there.”

Familiarize yourself with the AIDA Model:

The acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The model is used in marketing and advertising to describe how a consumer may engage with an ad, or in this case, an Instagram photo. “The amazing thing about Instagram marketing is that all you are doing is sharing a picture,” Miles said. “The truth is, marketers have been using just a picture for a long, long time – all the way back to billboards along the side of the freeway – so the marketers who were used to that limited, restricted format have done fantastic work in Instagram.” The AIDA Model is accomplished by targeting the message to the right audience and making a call to action. That call to action can be buying your product, visiting your store, or any action you are working toward.

Use Instagram as your product launch platform:

Like a rocket, new products or services can’t achieve lift-off without a sturdy, solid platform. “Instagram is fantastic for product launch strategies,” Miles said. “Share behind the scenes pictures or video clips and let customers know what is coming up, telegraph your punches.”

Want to see how Miles puts these principles to use? Check out Liberty Jane Clothing on Instagram.