Successfully using business intelligence sourced from Instagram

The best possible use of big data and analytics is not necessarily an exact science – more specifically, it's a fusion of scientific analysis and human instinct. For many companies, the majority of their business intelligence is culled from customers, and this includes everything from purchase histories to social media information. There is a certain amount of care that must be taken when using this data, as applications that consumers do not consider to be above board will cause controversy. Computerworld pointed out that two department store retailers – Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters – both used data mining techniques without customers' full knowledge and provoked their ire, inciting the filing of a class-action lawsuit in the latter case.

However, companies that are transparent with customers about how they use data, particularly that which is drawn from social media, can have considerable success with such practices. Business 2 Community recently reported on strategies that can help engage consumers and boost ROI through the actionable implementation of Instagram data.

Instagram – part of a recipe for social media success
While Instagram began largely as a novelty photo sharing application only available for the iPhone, it quickly ballooned into a social media juggernaut almost on the level of Facebook or Twitter and easily eclipsing other B-tier social sites like Pinterest. Seeing its explosion onto the world stage, countless businesses and organizations began using it as a channel to promote their products, customer outreach initiatives and overall brands.

According to Business 2 Community, Instagram is an ideal tool for businesses to use to attract followers and employ their data – which includes comments, likes, tags and mentions – as part of their latest analytics initiatives. First, it's essential to create engagement by posting content from Instagram on other social media platforms and using it to attract customers who are following a company on those sites but not Instagram. It can maintain their interest by sharing exclusives through the platform – new product photos, special contests, entertaining videos and more. 

The source stated that ice cream company Ben & Jerry's has had a great deal of success on the heels of its Instagram account, making announcements of new flavors and soliciting photos from followers to promote itself. Companies can easily follow similar strategies to produce ROI – and as an added bonus, asking for consumer contributions eliminates the possibility of them feeling as if their data was unfairly obtained.

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