Since its inception, Instagram has been a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand their presence and product visibility. Because Instagram is a highly visual platform, it’s an excellent social media marketing tool for showcasing cool, innovative, interesting, and beautiful products and services. Industries such as fashion, food, travel, beauty, home decor, gardening and events enjoy enormous success by adding Instagram engagement to their marketing plans.
We’ll share why businesses can benefit significantly from an Instagram account and offer tips for optimizing your Instagram presence.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a hugely popular photo- and video-sharing social media platform with 2 billion monthly users worldwide, according to Statista. Users can do the following:
- Create photo or video posts
- Make Instagram Stories that live on your profile for 24 hours
- Create Instagram Reels, which are 15-, 30- or 60-second short-form videos (similar to TikToks)
- Livestream video
- Shop directly from e-commerce brands through the app
Instagram’s parent company is Meta, which also owns Facebook. Instagram caters to a younger demographic. Statista found that nearly 60% of Instagram users are under 34, and 18.1% are between 35 and 44. Businesses can engage millennials through Instagram, and it’s powerful for marketing to Gen Z and other segments.
Tip: Before connecting with your audience on social media, you should research your target customers so you understand the content they want to see and can create posts that address their needs and interests.
Why your business should be on Instagram
Check out these 12 reasons why Instagram is becoming an increasingly important business platform and how your company can benefit from using the social media site.
1. More people are using Instagram.
With 2 billion monthly users, Instagram is extraordinarily popular, especially with younger people. Additionally, Statista data shows that 63% of U.S. users access the social platform daily and 97% use it monthly. With that many available eyeballs, there is no limit to the success a business can reach with a dedicated Instagram strategy.
2. Businesses of all sizes can thrive on Instagram.
Because Instagram has so many users with varying needs and interests, businesses of all sizes and across all industries can thrive on the platform. Success will not come overnight, but if a marketing team wants to get their organization on the map, Instagram can help.
Businesses can increase brand awareness and connect with their target audience by keeping an active presence and maintaining a routine of at least one post daily. This is how household names such as Coca-Cola and Adidas, as well as a slew of small businesses, have effectively used Instagram to thrive.
3. Businesses can make money from Instagram.
There are several ways for businesses to make money on Instagram:
- Direct sales from Instagram: Instagram has evolved to enable on-platform e-commerce sales. The Shop tab on Instagram’s home page helps users discover and purchase from brands directly through Instagram profiles, posts or stories.
- Shoppable posts: Instagram offers shoppable posts, which let businesses add tags to products in their photos with links that include a product description, price and the ability to “shop now,” taking users to an online store.
- Partnerships with brand ambassadors: Businesses can partner with brand ambassadors through sponsored posts and affiliate marketing. These partnerships can help you generate more sales leads and increase sales.
4. Instagram can make your business more relatable.
Instagram is an excellent way to show potential customers that you’re more than a faceless corporation. In particular, live events and Instagram Stories can showcase your brand’s personality.
- Instagram Stories: Use Instagram Stories to show a behind-the-scenes look at your company and the people who work there. Some examples are videos that show how products are made, stories that show office employees interacting, and a string of posts showing your company active in the community.
- Instagram live events: Instagram live events are an excellent way to build rapport, trust and credibility with followers. You can host live Q&A sessions similar to Facebook Live Q&As. Like Instagram stories, live events can provide an inside look at your company.
Did you know? When consumers see you as more than an entity looking to take their money, you’ll build brand authority on Instagram and generate more trust.
5. Businesses can partner with influencers to build brand awareness.
Consider using influencers to build your brand. Influencers are high-level, high-powered social media users with huge followings. They may be celebrities or popular niche users who promote products and brands, often introducing new offerings into the mainstream.
A dependable influencer can bring your company’s sales to a new level through increased digital marketing ROI and access to demographics you wouldn’t usually reach. When you get influencers to market your product, they can publicize your business to thousands, or even millions, of followers with just a few posts.
6. Hashtags can increase a business’s visibility on Instagram.
As a new business, you may be intimidated by the competition. However, with the proper use of hashtags, you can separate your company from the herd.
Popular Instagram hashtags – such as Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke, Charmin’s #TweetFromTheSeat and Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins – have rocked the industry, becoming pop culture cornerstones that have made these popular brands even more recognizable.
Even if your company is small, effective hashtag use can do wonders for separating your business from the crowd.
7. Instagram helps businesses effectively engage with customers.
Engaging your audience on social media is a business’s primary social media marketing goal, and Instagram is an excellent engagement platform. With Instagram, you can engage customers daily by having them share feedback and opinions.
Instagram is a platform for users to like, comment on and share their favorite posts. The more likes and comments your Instagram posts get, the more visible your company becomes. You can get more likes by taking high-quality photos, using local hashtags and partnering with other brands.
8. Instagram helps businesses leverage the power of mobile.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which started as browser-based sites, Instagram was created as a mobile app. According to eMarketer data, mobile users spend 88% of their time using apps, making Instagram a natural destination for mobile users.
Take care to ensure your business’s Instagram posts are optimized for a mobile screen and mobile accessibility. Instagram’s clean style stands in contrast to Facebook’s more cluttered view, so prioritizing your Instagram posts allows you to expand your reach and engagement.
9. Instagram helps businesses keep an eye on competitors.
Your company can use Instagram to monitor your competitors and see how they interact with their followers. Watch carefully to determine how often they post, what they post and how they engage with their followers. You can use this information to better define your strategy by learning from their mistakes and taking inspiration from their successes.
10. Instagram offers many ways for businesses to be creative.
A great benefit of the photo-sharing app is the creativity it provides. On Instagram, your marketing team can go wild, creating new ways to draw attention, gain followers and add customers.
Show the public that your brand has personality and that it’s cool to shop with you by mixing it up with social media contests, shout-outs, vivid images, interactive videos and more.
11. Businesses can reach new customers through Instagram advertisements.
With Instagram ads, you can reach new customers with customizable, trackable advertisements. Target specific demographics, link to your website, and collect valuable user data to inform your other social media marketing campaigns.
12. Businesses can use Instagram Insights to hone their social media marketing strategies.
If you’re beginning your business’s social media marketing strategy, Instagram Insights can provide you with specific, pertinent information about who your followers are and how your content is performing. Use this data to inform and improve your other social media marketing campaigns.
Insights will provide key social media metrics and information about your followers’ ages, locations, time spent on the app and more. You can also see how well each post performs and the best time of day to post.
Instagram do’s and don’ts
Follow these tips for improving your Instagram presence:
- Post consistently. For the best results, post consistently on your Instagram account. Experts recommend posting between one and three times per week.
- Leverage your Instagram bio. Use the link in your Instagram bio to promote specific products, business blog posts or landing pages.
- Interact with other accounts. Engage with other accounts on the platform by liking and commenting on their posts and following hashtags.
- Seek feedback. Engage with your followers by asking them for their opinions and customer feedback. This data can provide valuable market research insight.
- Create a signature style on your Instagram grid. Your Instagram posts should have some level of style consistency that goes with your overall branding. You can do this by using specific colors, filters and angles.
- Use hashtags thoughtfully. Use hashtags to make it easier for people to find your content. You can include up to 30 hashtags per Instagram post. However, too many hashtags can appear “salesy” and off-putting.
- Tell a story. Instagram users want to feel emotionally connected to the accounts they follow. Post some behind-the-scenes videos or photos, and give users a peek into your company’s processes or history they otherwise wouldn’t know.
Avoid these common Instagram mistakes:
- Inundating followers: As a rule of thumb, posting more than three times a week tends to annoy followers. However, this number varies by industry and product type.
- Being inauthentic: Never use auto-commenters or post generic-sounding comments. Authenticity is prized on Instagram, and being too robotic will cost you followers.
- Posting clickbait: Although you should post interesting and engaging content, don’t add completely irrelevant or sensational content just to get reposts.
- Being too sales-oriented: Posting sales-oriented content nonstop is a mistake. Followers don’t want to feel constantly pressured to purchase. Consider following the 5:3:2 rule for social media: For every 10 posts, curate five posts from other content, create three posts that are relevant to your audience, and use two posts to share fun content that humanizes your company.
- Neglecting captions: While Instagram is a primarily visual medium, you can benefit from thoughtfully captioning your posts. Use captions to add interest or context to the image or video, or add a funny comment.
- Ignoring negative feedback: Instagram is a highly interactive platform, and those who post negative comments expect a response. Pay attention to positive and negative feedback, and show your followers you care by responding thoughtfully.
- Buying followers: Though a high follower count may look good initially, fake followers only hurt your Instagram marketing results. These followers won’t engage with your account and have no genuine interest in your company.
Bottom Line: Instagram posting best practices include posting consistently, prioritizing quality posts, telling stories and using hashtags selectively.
Instagram is a must-have social media platform for businesses
More people than ever are paying attention to Instagram, and you’ll ignore millions of potential customers if you don’t join this powerful social media platform.
While advertisement and sponsorship opportunities exist, an Instagram business account is free; businesses can establish a significant following without spending a dime. If you haven’t jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet, you may be doing your business a great disservice.
Jennifer Dublino contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.