Since its inception, Instagram has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for businesses looking to expand their presence and the visibility of their products. While advertisement and sponsorship opportunities exist, getting started with Instagram is free and businesses can establish a significant following without spending a dime. If you have not jumped on the Instagram bandwagon yet, you may be doing your business a great disservice.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a hugely popular photo and video-sharing social media platform. Users can share photo or video posts; temporary Stories that live on your profile for 24 hours; Reels, which are 15-second-max short-form videos; IGTV videos, and can even shop directly from e-commerce brands through the app.
Instagram is owned by its parent company Facebook and has over 1billion active users.
If you still need convincing to join, then check out these 12 reasons why Instagram is continuously rising in importance and how your company can benefit.
1. More people are using Instagram.
According to Instagram, their social media presence currently brings with it over 1 billion active users. Of those millions of people, over 500 million are on the platform on a daily basis. With that many available eyeballs, there is no limit to the success a business can reach with a dedicated Instagram strategy.
2. Any size of business can thrive.
With all of those users to choose from, Instagram is an important place for businesses. That goes for large, well-known companies as well as smaller mom and pop shops and entrepreneurs.
Of course, even for the best-known companies, success will not come overnight, but if a marketing team wants to get their organization on the map, Instagram can help.
Businesses can raise brand awareness and reach their target audience by keeping an active presence and maintaining a routine of at least one post per day. This is how both household names like Coca-Cola and Adidas, as well as a slew of small businesses, have effectively used Instagram to thrive.
3. Businesses can make money directly from Instagram.
Instagram has evolved over the years to enable on-platform e-commerce sales. Today, there is a greater emphasis on making money through product placement. The latest update is the Shop tab, which is located prominently on Instagram's home dock and allows users to discover and purchase from brands directly through Instagram. Instagram also offers shoppable posts, which allow businesses to add tags to the products in their photos with links that include a product description, price and the ability to "shop now," which will lead the user to your online store.
With these services, it's simple for a business to attract actual sales from the site. A staggering 72% of Instagram users reported purchasing products through the social media platform at least once – the results are hard to ignore.
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4. Stories make your business relatable.
Instagram is a great way to show potential customers that you are more than just a faceless corporation. This can be done through many of the app's features, but you can really make an impression with live posts and stories.
The best way to use live stories is to show behind-the-scenes insights into your company and the people who work there. Some examples are videos that show how products are made, videos of office employees interacting with each other, and live Q&A sessions between you and your audience.
Instagram live posts are also an excellent way to build rapport, trust and credibility with followers, as well as showing that there's a human side to your business. If consumers see you as more than an entity looking to take their money, then they may be more trusting of your brand.
5. You can partner with influencers.
When it comes to social media, you have your regular users and then you have influencers. For those not in the know, influencers are online celebrities who often promote a brand or product and take it into the mainstream.
A dependable influencer can bring your company's sales to a new level through increased return on investment and access to demographics that you wouldn't normally reach. If you use a well-known influencer, then they can publicize your company or product to millions of followers with just a few posts.
6. Hashtags can increase your visibility.
As a new business on the block, you may be intimidated by the competition, but 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 companies even more recognizable.
You may not be Coke or Charmin, but effective use of hashtags can do wonders to separate your business from the crowd.
7. You can effectively engage with customers.
What is better than having customers know you exist? How about the opportunity to engage with them on a daily basis? The fact is that people like to make their opinions known, especially if they like something. Instagram is a platform for users to like, comment on and share their favorite posts. The more likes and comments you 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. Mobility is king.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which started out as browser-based sites, Instagram was created to be an app from the start. Since 90% of time spent on mobile is spent on apps, your company should take advantage of this and make your posts accessible to viewers wherever they go. Smartphone users tend to turn to Instagram because it has a cleaner style than the cluttered view that Facebook can create, and with engagement on Instagram being 10 times higher than on Facebook, you will want to get on the bandwagon.
9. You can keep an eye on competitors.
Your company can use Instagram to keep an eye on your competitors and see how they interact with their followers. Watch carefully to find out how often they post, what they are posting and how they engage with their followers. You can use the information you gather to better define your own personal strategy.
10. It offers many ways to get creative.
A great benefit of the photo-sharing app is the creativity it provides. On Instagram, your marketing team can go wild coming up with new ways to draw attention and add followers and new customers. Show the public that your brand has personality and that it is cool to shop with you by mixing it up with contests, shoutouts, vivid images, interactive videos, and more.
11. Reach new consumers through Instagram advertisements.
With Instagram ads, you can reach new customers and extend your reach with customizable, trackable advertisements. You can target specific demographics, link to your website and collect valuable user data that can help inform your other social media marketing campaigns.
12. Use Instagram Insights to hone your social media marketing strategy.
If you're just starting out on your social media marketing strategy, using Instagram Insights can provide you with specific, pertinent information about your followers and how your content is performing, which you can use to improve your other social media marketing campaigns. Insights will provide information on the age and gender of your followers, their location, when they're usually on the app, how well each post performs and the best time of day for you to post.
If anything ties these 12 benefits together, it is that more people are paying attention to Instagram than ever before, and you are only ignoring millions of potential customers by not joining this powerful social media platform. Take the tips you learned here and use them to start building your Instagram presence. Your bottom line will be glad that you did.