logo-venueseen-2012.jpg How can brands promote themselves on Instagram without violating the site’s pristine, ad-free presentation of images? Ohio-based VenueSeen has some ideas.

The company has launched VenueSeen Campaigns, an all-in-one management and customer relationship management (CRM) dashboard to run Instagram campaigns. The tool is designed to create and manage hashtag-driven marketing efforts on the popular picture-posting site, as well as automatically post comments to photos and collect and export contact information.

Hashtags Are Key to Dashboard Monitoring

Using VenueSeen Campaigns brands set up a hashtag-enabled campaign through the dashboard. This will allow them to monitor and promote customer-created or brand-created photos on Instagram.

After Instagram users post the promoted photos with their accompanying brand hashtags, the brand automatically posts a message to the photo -- with a URL linking the user to a specially-built brand site. This allows the user – a fan of the brand’s product – to register the photo on the custom brand site, participate in any campaign goodies and publish that photo to the custom site.

Brands can utilize the captured user information within the dashboard or export it for other uses. Original photos taken by users and posted to the custom brand site serve as testimony of fans' enthusiasm for the brand's product. Any advertising use of a customer’s original photo must have permission from the photographer but the idea is that fans of a product will -- most likely -- love to proclaim their love.

Promoting the Brand While Delivering 'Meaningful Message'

As an example of a successful Instagram campaign, VenueSeen points to Warrior Lacrosse. That company set up a page of example photos, each with the hashtag #warriorrabil. To celebrate the launch of the Rabil collection and the Rabil X head, Warrior is offering customers a chance to win a weekly giveaway for more gear.

To enter the contest, a customer posts a photo of a strung Rabil X head and posts it to Instagram, making sure to include the hashtag in the caption or comment fields. Warrior comments on the photo, and then directs the user to the custom campaign site. The user is entered into the drawing after registering and posting the photo on the site.

While VenueSeen has set up the mechanics, the key will be how well the marketing campaign furthers the goals of the brand without being so in-your-face commercial that customers feel their Instagram space has been violated. As CEO Brian Zuercher has told news media, “you actually have to have a meaningful message or people will turn you off.”