Despite being the younger sibling that Facebook took under its wing in 2012, Instagram is on its way to becoming a major marketing tool in its own right.
Both networks succeed in capturing users with their visual communication, but Instagram has recently overtaken Facebook with three times the actions-per-post and double the increase in brand posting, even though Facebook recently celebrated its tenth birthday.
So what does this mean for your business? Should you take a break from your Facebook posts to focus on Instagram?
With little knowledge of Instagram’s marketing potential, it’s best to dabble in multiple social networks and not focus on one alone. Instagram certainly deserves attention for its high engagement and is a good way for your business to interact with users. Here’s what you can do to tap into the high level of Instagram engagement available to your business:
1. Balance the Two Networks
Facebook is still king of the social networking realm, boasting over a billion monthly active users. For this reason, Facebook is your home base, but it wouldn’t hurt to focus additional attention on Instagram.
It’s easier to reach users with Instagram because of its strictly visual posts. They’re quick messages with quick meanings, and your business can take advantage of that for branding and making a direct connection. It’s also proven that the average Instagram post reaches more people than the average Facebook photo, which means there is more potential to reach your existing fans despite the recent downturn in engagement.
However, Instagram has one drawback. As easy as it is to post a photo, it doesn’t have a built-in “re-gram” feature that encourages virality like retweets, reblogs, or Facebook sharing do. You’ll just have to share your Instagram images to Facebook and hope they get reshared from there.
2. Ease Users into Commercial Branding
McDonald’s recently suffered complaints from overusing their ads on Instagram. Marketing is new to this social network, and until now users turned to it for interesting things, ideas and life events. Advertisements could strike a wrong note if shown too often too fast.
The best way to introduce your business without seeming like an attention-seeking advertisement is to have the users’ best interest in mind. Entertain and enlighten them with pictures that have personal appeal and not just your company’s vision. Considering their personal feelings will lead to more actions per post.
3. Listen to Your Followers
Loyalty is a key part of building your business. You’ll want loyal clients and followers to keep you afloat and present in your field, and one way to get there is by listening.
After you post photos on Instagram, take time to read and respond to the comments. Observe which photos receive more attention than others, and cater your posts to user preference. With a band of loyal followers, your business will continue to grow.
Spread your marketing efforts across various social networks. Since Instagram engagement is relatively high, focus on how you can reach its users to introduce your brand, but use it as an accompanying tool to the ever-popular Facebook.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and designer who loves studying online marketing and social media campaigns to see what makes them tick. When she's not cruising the internet, she can usually be found practicing her French, indulging in her foodie side, or daydreaming about her next roadtrip. To see more of her work or to get in touch, follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her blog, Design Roast.