Instagram for Business – Do I Really Need To Be On It?
What’s all the hype with Instagram? Learn why your business needs an Instagram presence and how Instagram can benefit your brand & increase visibility.
Most business owners struggle to find a reason to use Instagram. Maybe you fall into the “I can’t figure out what all of the fuss is about” category or perhaps you fully understand WHY you should be using Instagram, but the HOW part is the problem. In either case, you are in the right place.
Now, let’s get real for a minute. Statistically, if you are business owner and you are using social media, then you probably have at least heard of Instagram. You might have heard about it in your community or your networking group. Perhaps you have even seen their logo somewhere without understanding what a powerful social media platform this could be for your business.
If so, put on your running shoes because we are about to sprint through the real reasons for you to start using Instagram NOW to build business, promote your brand, and increase the buzz about your company.
What is Instagram Anyways?
Instagram is a social media platform founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010 that allows you to share your “story” through pictures and videos. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 and by the end of 2014, Instagram had become more popular than Twitter, with over 300 million active users vs Twitter's 284. The optimum part of any Instagram post is sharing your story in a select way that takes the most advantage of the topic or goal. Remember, Instagram is not just a platform to post some random pictures or videos. You need to think about what followers want to see and what you want them to take away.
One good example of storytelling that involves followers in everyday posts, as well as in the whole company, is Fallen Industry. The stated goal of Fallen Industry is “furniture and sculptures made from fallen trees knocked down by industrial growth, reclaimed and reborn with beautiful purpose.” Really nice, right? Who does not love to recycle something into a beautiful show piece that is useful? The reality is that their Instagram account has to live up to that goal by consistently sharing posts that use visual images to tell their story and engage followers in a way that makes them WANT to comment—all with a nice collection of hashtags please!
On their Instagram profile, you can see how they use Instagram to present a mixture of images used with hashtags to draw followers from searches. What happens? People responded!
Remember the flip-books from your childhood that showed a full, moving picture as you quickly flipped through the pages? Instagram is the same way. You need to share a message and connect with them in a way that will bring them closer to your brand. Never think of Instagram as a single or series of posts—it is the collection of moments that tell a story and invite your follows into your business.
TAKEAWAY: Posts that are visually strong with good hashtags, descriptions, geo-location, and tagging bring your brand to the front of the line. It’s not magic that makes Instagram work for brands—it is the visual appeal to the millennial market with a quick, interesting bit of information.
Instagram: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The good news is that Instagram is the easiest social media platform to get followers. You can attract followers through the simple use of hashtags, tagging, or geo-location (sharing your location). Hashtags are good search terms that allow users to search and find businesses that fit their specific interests. Every day of the week on Instagram has a specific hashtag that will help get you started. For example, Thursday is famous for #TBT or #throwbackthursday to allow you to share memories. Sunday was created for #selfieSunday. Using specific hashtags bring followers into your feed to preview your content.
Tagging gives you the opportunity to connect with followers and larger brands to directly grab attention. In the same way, geo-location allows followers to find businesses close to them. If you want foot traffic, then tagging and geo-location are very important to the growth of your Instagram brand.
There is bad news though. Any links posted in Instagram will not be clickable. Yes, that means that followers will HAVE to copy and paste URLs into their browser old-school (insert deep suffering sigh and eye-roll here)! While that might not make too much difference if your followers are sitting at a desktop/laptop computer, the Instagram market is filled with millennials on a mobile phone. This DOES NOT mean that you can neglect URLs in your posts. This ONLY means that your followers will need to take an extra step to engage, so make it easy with bitly links that allow traceability.
The inability to click on links might seem like a problem, but the truth is that Instagram followers are very creative in using this social media. For example, even though there are some apps that allow reposting of Instagram posts like REPOST, it is not as easy to share posts as on other social medias. Although almost every other social platform encourages sharing between followers, Instagram does not have a SHARE button to promote viral posts. To overcome this shortcoming, Instagram has a built in tagging system that allows users to invite their friends to a post through tagging in the comment section.
TAKEAWAY: Make your posts good because Instagram users are savvy enough to find, follow, and invite friends to your content while overcoming the shortcomings of the platform.
Why Should I Use Instagram for My Business?
Simple answer – Instagram is where your connected customer with a smartphone and a buy impulse lives.
Here are a few of the facts about Instagram:
- Last year, 59% of Instagram users used the platform daily, including 35% who visited several times a day. This 59% figure reflects a 10-point increase from September 2014, when 49% of Instagram users reported visiting the site on a daily basis. (Source)
- 55% of young adults (ages 18–29) used Instagram in 2015, compared with 37% who did so in 2013. (Source)
- The Instagram community has grown from 90 million active users in January 2013 to more than 400 million active users in September 2015. (Source)
- Instagram’s user base is growing far faster than social network usage in general. In the USA, Instagram will grow 15.1% this year, compared to just 3.1% growth for the social network sector as a whole. (Source)
- Between 2016 and 2020, eMarketer predicts Instagram will add 26.9 million users—almost double the incremental users expected for Twitter, and far more than any other social platform tracked. (Source)
- In one social media study, of five industries analyzed (beauty, apparel, big box, electronics, and home goods), only 43% engaged with their consumers via Instagram, despite Instagram's 237% average follower growth rate. (Source)
For brands and businesses that adopt Instagram into their social media marketing, all of these stats are good news! But, the news gets better.
What if I told you that most businesses are NOT using Instagram to promote themselves? Would you believe:
- 31% of B2C marketers said Instagram was a “very important” social channel and 27% said it was “not important.” (Source)
- Only 8% of B2B marketers said Instagram was a “very important” channel and 58% said it was “not important.” (Source)
- It was predicted that more than one-third of mobile phone users (roughly 89.4 million Americans) will be on Instagram at least once a month in 2016. By 2017, an estimated 51.8% of social network users will use Instagram.
This should have you grinning like the Cheshire Cat right now because it means that you have all the room of social media to get ahead of your competition using Instagram and be among the first to get your business in front of buyers!
After all, some poor fool said that the web was a passing phase too!
Moreover, whereas video content has proven to rank higher in all social media (including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), Instagram hosts the target demographic for video, millennials. Furthermore, Instagram is also the least used for video promotion, at only 24%.
TAKEAWAY: There is your winning combination! Visual content + millennials audience + proper techniques = brand recognition and sales!
The reality is that most businesses are not using Instagram at all or not using it to its full potential. Whether posting images or video, there is a methodology to using Instagram to promote your business with a market that will NOT age out any time soon. By attracting the 18-34-year-old market with a highly active engagement rate and money to spend, your business can beat the competition with Instagram whether you are seeking a local or a worldwide buyer.