Here’s Why Your Business Needs Instagram
I know what you’re thinking. Your teenage daughter spends half her life on Instagram, looking at photos of her friends and her friends’ cats. So how can it possibly be something your business should use? Actually, 90 percent of the world’s top 100 brands - including Nike, Starbucks and Coca-Cola - have Instagram accounts, and have used them to great effect to grow their business. So maybe it is something you should be looking at after all. But before we show you some of the awesome benefits of using Instagram for your business, let’s have a look at exactly what it is and how it works.
Just What Is Instagram, Anyway?
Essentially, Instagram is a free, online, photo-sharing application and social network platform. It was founded back in 2010, and here’s an interesting little fact-let: Its founders, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, came up with name Instagram as an amalgam of “instant camera” and “telegram.” Which is kind of ironic as most Instagram users have probably only heard of both those things on TV or by listening to their parents talking!
Instagram was an immediate success, boasting over 40 million users within its first two years. The mighty Facebook couldn’t help but sit up and take notice of this new kid on the block, and it officially bought it in 2012 for $1 billion. It’s come a long way since then, and now has over 800 million monthly active users, and over 500 million daily active users.
It’s important to note that Instagram is a mobile-only app. You can access it on your computer, but you can only upload and share photos or videos from your mobile devices. You can then caption your posts, and index them with location-based geotags and hashtags so that other users within the app can find them. Much like Facebook, each user’s post appears on their Instagram feed, and can be seen either by everyone, including the general public, or just the person’s followers, depending on your settings.
So What Are Benefits Of Instagram For My Business?
Instagram started out as a platform for social sharing among individuals, but it is great for businesses too, offering the perfect way to promote your brand and showcase your products or services – for free. In fact, almost two thirds of people who discover new products say they’ve done so on Instagram.
In addition to promoting your products, Instagram is also the perfect platform for business to use to recruit new talent, personify their content, and inspire their audience. It’s ideal for any-size business, but is particularly useful for small and medium enterprises because it costs nothing to set up and run. You can also access impression and engagement metrics for free too. There’s no doubt that an Instagram business profile helps you increase your customer base, drive sales and increase brand visibility.
Here are some other great reasons for your business to be on Instagram:
• The average price tag for a sale referred from Instagram is $65, compared to $55 for Facebook and $46 for Twitter.
• Over two-thirds of Instagram users have used the app to purchase a product online.
• 75% of Instagram users take some kind of action, such as visiting a website, or clicking on a CTA button, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.
• Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.
Still need more convincing? How about this:
Clear Trackability Means Clear ROI
Instagram uses the same Ads Manager platform as Facebook. This means it has all the same tracking capabilities – and that’s great news for your business. Using this platform, you can track how many leads you get, and, more importantly, how many conversions. You can break down this information into who the leads actually are – their age, race, religion, gender and so on. You can even see what device they used to access your Instagram feed. This kind of information is massively valuable when it comes to knowing how much of your advertising budget to place in different areas.
The four most important Instagram metrics are:
• Reach – how many unique users have looked at your posts.
• Impressions – how many times your ads appear on a user’s screen.
• Profile views – how many times your business profile has been viewed.
• Followers – how many followers you’ve gained (or lost) in the past seven days.
What Are Instagram Hashtags?
If you though hashtags were just a Twitter thing, think again. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that hashtags are good for business. In fact, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have, on average, a 12.6% higher engagement rate than posts without one.
So, how do they work? Well, they organise and categorise photo and video content. There are three main types of Instagram hashtags, namely Branded, Community and Campaign.
A branded hashtag is unique to your business. Sometimes it’s as simple as your company’s name, but it could also be something that’s more aligned with your brand identity. The more your followers use your branded hashtags in their own stories and posts, the easier it is for people to find you on Instagram.
Community hashtags should increase the reach of your core message. Unlike branded hashtags, however, they don’t have to be related directly to your business. They are usually far broader in their focus.
Community hashtags are short term, meant to last only a few days, or a season at most. This shorter life-span is because they’re linked to a specific campaign, such as a product launch. Businesses usually try to make the most of these hashtags, promoting them heavily for the duration of the campaign.
At the end of the day, an effective hashtag strategy is one of the best ways to ensure your Instagram posts are discovered by new audiences. This means more engagement, more followers and, hopefully, more customers.