Instagram is one of the major social networks right now, but many businesses aren’t giving the image-based platform much thought. These businesses might be thinking that there probably aren’t that many people using Instagram, or that there’s no way that a bunch of pictures can do anything for business. Well, those businesses would be wrong.
There are over 300 million users on Instagram. In comparison, Twitter only has 288 million users, and most businesses would agree that it’s necessary to have a Twitter account. Not only does Instagram have more users, but those users have collectively shared over 30 billion photos, and are sharing 70 million photos daily. That’s a lot of people viewing a lot of content.
A criticism of Instagram is that is too reliant on mobile devices. The network was designed for mobile devices, and while Instagram introduced web profiles back in 2012, it is still very much geared towards smartphones.
The web version of Instagram is limited in comparison to the mobile app. To directly go to a profile, you must type, “instagram.com/” followed by the exact name of the profile. This is easy enough if you already know the name of the profile you’re looking for, but it doesn’t make it easy to browse. Unless you are trying to explore, your feed will be limited to the profiles that you follow.
The mobile app has a discovery option that lets you look through new profiles, many of which are based on the profiles that you are already following. This makes it easier to find new content. There’s also a search option that lets you find a profile without knowing that profile’s exact name. For example, searching for “north face” will get you to the outdoor gear company’s profile, which is actually “The North Face”.
So it’s true that Instagram is easier to navigate on a mobile device than on a desktop. However, mobile dependency isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’re living in an increasingly mobile world, and mobile traffic has actually overtaken desktop traffic on the Internet. Being active on Instagram can help you reach a new customer base.
People of all ages are on Instagram, but it is most popular with younger demographics. According to a report by Craig Smith, 53% of online adults in the U.S. who are between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram.
It makes sense for a business to be on Instagram. Case studies have shown that businesses can benefit from using the photo-sharing social network. Mercedes-Benz saw a 580% increase to site traffic through Instagram and Facebook ads. Levi’s Jeans saw a 24 point increase in ad-recall, which was 3 times more than the control group.
It’s possible that some businesses shy away from Instagram because it’s not traditional advertising. It’s more personal, informal, and it gives businesses a chance to say, “hey person, I’m a person too”. There’s no way for a huge company like Pepsi to give customers one-on-one personal attention, but Instagram creates the illusion that big companies have time to let folks know how things are going.
It give businesses the opportunity to be seen in a different light and to show customers what goes on behind the scenes. This can give people a stronger sense of connection to a company or business, and increase engagement.
You can’t treat Instagram like every other social media platform. You have to make it fun — that’s the point of Instagram. Use videos and beautiful pictures. You don’t want everything to feel like an advertisement. You want to establish a good following and make it worth their while while. Great images and entertaining videos are a good start, but you can also offer special deals or discounts to reward those who follow you on Instagram. This will keep them coming back and encourage them to share your content with others.
However, you can’t link to another web page from an image, so measurement can be more of an issue.
Keep in mind that you have to do more work and promote yourself more on Instagram than on other social media platforms. Instagram doesn’t usually show up in search results. It’s not something that many people are just going to stumble upon. Tag other profiles, attach links from your website, and promote your Instagram account on other social media outlets.
If you’re looking to get your business going on Instagram, their business blog is a good reference. They offer helpful advice to help businesses be successful on the social network. Or you can leave it to social media specialists. Social media is dynamic and requires agility for success.