What is Instagram?
Instagram is a photo and short video sharing mobile app based social media platform. Here’s a few stats to pique your interest:
- There are 300 million active users on Instagram, 37% of whom are between the ages of 18-29
- 70 million posts go out each day, along with 2.5 billion likes
- 50% of users check updates every day, making it the second most active social media platform
What’s the big deal?
Now that we’re on the same page about what Instagram is, let’s look at why it’s important. Every business wants to connect with its target audience on a personal level in order to present a relatable call-to-action. What better place to connect than on a platform where people are already getting personal? You can see someone’s entire life in visual form: what activities they enjoy, where they shop, what products they like, and everything in between. Instagram is the #2 best social media platform for social networking, only following Facebook. This means people are sociable on the “gram,” which allows your brand to easily take part in the conversation.
Instagram is the #1 social media platform that generates the highest engagement rate. The number of likes and comments on Instagram posts is higher than any other social media site. One reason for high levels of engagement is high visibility of posts. There’s no algorithm to selectively showcases your posts. Every one of your posts will appear in the feeds of each one of your followers. Your posts also won’t disappear like old tweets or get buried far down on your page like Facebook. A scroll through your profile showcases every post you’ve ever shared. This is a great way for new followers to quickly get to know your brand.
Who uses it? – Individuals and Brands
We’ve heard these before: “We already have a Facebook page, do we still need to care about Instagram?” or “We know Instagram is important, but is it right for our business?” Which leads us to ask: Is your target audience using it? If your audience consists of 20 somethings, absolutely yes. If they are over 65, it may not be the most effective platform.
Fashion and retail brands dominate Instagram. Followers essentially do mobile window-shopping when these brands showcase the collection of products they offer. Sports brands are the next biggest category of players. Photos and videos of team practice or locker room antics give an insider perspective to fans. These are intriguing moments that very few people get to experience in real life.
Instagram is not just for brands selling physical products. Businesses such as construction, healthcare, insurance, and energy/electrics can use emotionally charged photos to highlight their service. A side-by-side comparison of before and after shots will show followers the impact of a service. Images of in progress projects, client locations, or any other aspect of your business can give your audience a better understanding you who your brand is. After all, Instagram should be a means of building a winning personality for your business.
Tips & Tricks
- Use Instagram to keep people talking about your business. Hold contests or challenges such as “most creative use of product” or “best meme” to invite user-generated content and promote your business. Prizes and rewards to winners are great incentives to boost participation.
- Give followers exclusive previews of what new things are going on in your business. Offering a new product or service? Opening a new store? Moving to a new office? Share it. Things never seen before tend to be the most shareable content.
- Hashtags are must-haves. Begin a new hashtag trend or jump on an existing hashtag to find new followers based on their searches. Only use hashtags that are relevant to your topic to avoid appearing spammy.
- People often imagine what it would be like to work for a company. With Instagram, you can show them. Post photos that provide a glimpse of “a-day-in-the-life” at your office—work areas, meetings, decked out cubicles, lunch time, employees at play—offering a behind the scenes look can build trust and familiarity with your audience. Looking for new talent? Let your followers know that you’re hiring and direct them to online job postings in the caption.
- Humanize your brand by introducing your followers to the people who make your company. Employees will appreciate the recognition (and their 15 minutes of fame) and your followers will get to know the people behind the brand. Go around the office to feature the staff serving in the various roles within your company.
- Take your followers with you everywhere you go. Trade shows, events, product launches, conferences, everywhere—well, except to the restroom. Followers not only like to know when you’re in their area, but also get a better feel for your brand by learning the events you participate in.
- People are generally obsessed with two things online: celebrities and animals. Share photos of celebrities interacting with your brand or using a similar product that you offer. Post pets visiting the office, wearing your apparel, or just being cute to draw an “awwwww.”
- Track you analytics to see how well you’re performing. Here’s a few noteworthy apps to make Instagram a significant part of your social media marketing strategy: SocialRank, Hyperlapse, Layout, Takeoff, Tapshop, Iconosquare, Twtrland, Justunfollow, Instaport.
Creating content for Instagram can be challenging, especially if you are not a consumer brand. The key is having visually appealing content that relates your brand’s story. Instagram is the only social media platform where its acceptable to post 100% branded content. Regardless of the industry, any company can reach their targeted audience by sharing captivating imagery and creative captions.