Thinking You Should Instagram for Your Business? You’re Probably Right.
With more than 300 million monthly active users and an average of 70 million photos being shared every day, Instagram has become a social media juggernaut that businesses would be unwise to ignore. Visual content continues to increase in popularity, with Instagram solidly positioned at the forefront of image-based social media usage. And many businesses have begun leveraging Instagram’s visually-oriented format as a means to promote their brand to their customers, followers and fans. If you’ve been thinking about using Instagram for your business, you’re already moving in the right direction; below are five reasons why Instagram is an excellent platform to add to your brand’s social media efforts.
1. Instagram offers outstanding engagement.
Most of us are familiar with the power of using popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers and fans, but Instagram is no slouch in the engagement department, either.
According to one report released by Forrester Research, Instagram generated 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter, and 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. Instagram also demonstrated a comfortable lead in terms of its likes-to-follower ratio when compared with Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve been having a difficult time fostering social engagement for your brand on networks such as Facebook and Twitter, you should definitely ramp up your outreach efforts on Instagram.
2. You can gain a superior competitive advantage on Instagram.
Brands both big and small have been quick to set up shop on Facebook and Twitter, but surprisingly, Instagram remains a relatively uncrowded space for businesses. According to a survey published by American Express, a mere 2% of small businesses are using Instagram on a regular basis to promote their brand. What this means is that there is still plenty of time and space for your brand to establish a strong presence on Instagram, with very little competition to deal with in the meantime. This in turn has created a scenario where the target audience for your products and services has not been spread too thin, leaving more potential customers and followers for you to connect with.
3. Instagram provides a simple yet highly effective means for people to discover your content.
Similar to how they work on Facebook or Twitter, hashtags enable you to discover new content on Instagram as well. Anytime an Instagram user includes a hashtag in their post, it creates a clickable link that basically “categorizes” that post into a larger collection of photos that have been shared using that same hashtag. This provides your brand with an excellent way to connect with Instagram users who are already interested in the type of products or services that you offer, or the lifestyle that your brand represents.
For example, if you sell hiking boots, you can include hashtags such as “#hiking” or “#outdoorlife” in your posts, which will put your images in front of people who are searching for more content related to those hashtags. In addition, if you run a local brick-and-mortar business, you can include popular hashtags for your particular city (e.g., “#hotlanta”) to connect with potential customers in your local area.
4. Instagram is a highly popular network with the 30-and-under crowd.
Marketers the world over are looking for a way to tap into the vast 30-and-under crowd commonly referred to as “milennials,” who according to Forbes magazine represent $200 billion per year worth of buying power. More than one-third of all Instagram users fall into this age group, so if your business caters to that demographic, you’ll find your ideal audience on Instagram. That being said, you shouldn’t write off Instagram if milennials do not represent your target audience; even less youth-oriented brands such as General Electric and American Express have gained significant traction using Instagram’s platform.
5. Instagram can help your audience discover the soul and core values of your brand.
The laid-back vibe of Instagram lends itself to a more informal style of communication, and many companies have used this very quality to create a strong emotional connection with their audience. You can post “behind-the-scenes” visuals representing a typical day at your company’s headquarters, or even highlight members of your staff in a fun and casual way. This will give a more human feel to your business, and can build trust with your audience in a way that few other social platforms can.
The above points are just a few of the many ways in which Instagram can broaden your brand’s reach and increase customer engagement. If your business is not yet on Instagram, go ahead and create your account so you can begin reaping the benefits of this powerful brand-building tool.