3 Businesses that Get Results from Instagram

Instagram, a mobile application that lets users shoot, edit, and share photos, is one of the quickest-growing social networks. Many businesses have incorporated Instagram into their social media toolkits, and some are generating results in unexpected ways.

Pure Michigan shares the beauty of Michigan on Instagram

The mission of Pure Michigan is to entice visitors to work and play in Michigan. Pure Michigan joined Instagram relatively early on, after noticing that people already on Instagram were using the hashtag #PureMichigan to share inviting photos of the state.

This Instagram account can truly change the way you think about Michigan. When you first see the images posted there, you might be shocked to see the natural beauty that Michigan has to offer — so much so that you'll considering a vacation there.

The interesting aspect of how Pure Michigan runs its Instagram account is that most of the photos are taken by its fans. The campaign finds the best photos tagged with #PureMichigan and features them on its page. This way, the campaign doesn't have to do all the work, and "Instagrammers" who are featured on its page are naturally excited to be featured — and then like and share the photo themselves. The campaign can rely on its community to create beautiful images to build its Instagram account. As a result, it has a huge following on Instagram (more than 65,000 followers), and most of its posts have thousands of likes.

Koyal Wholesale gets customer feedback from Instagram

In an interesting example of using Instagram, Koyal Wholesale sells wedding supplies to event planners and directly to the public via its website. When Koyal first started posting photos to Instagram, it initially wasn't getting much traction. To garner attention on Instagram, it started interacting with other Instagram users in the wedding industry and began using hashtags used by others in the industry. By engaging with others, Koyal grew its own audience.

Now the company has more than 13,000 followers on Instagram, and it's generating more than 100 likes on many of its photos.

As a wholesaler, Koyal carries a variety of products and is always adding to its catalog. It posts potential new products to Instagram and asks its audience, "Hot or not?" or "Love it or leave it?" In this way, Instagram serves as a real-time feedback mechanism. In one instance, a supplier changed a product based on feedback from Instagram.

General Electric builds its brand and engages on Instagram

General Electric uses Instagram as a way to build its brand and to connect with passionate enthusiasts. With nearly 150,000 followers on Instagram, GE is truly connecting with customers — some of its photos even have more than 50,000 likes. General Electric showcases its diverse businesses and the innovative technologies it creates, by sharing pictures of jet engines, wind turbines, trains, and planes.

It also ran a contest asking users to tag photos with the hashtag #GEInspiredMe to show how GE and its technology serve as an inspiration. The winner became the next "Instagrapher," winning a trip to a GE facility to share the experience on Instagram. The contest generated more than 4,500 entries.

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