In the three short years since the service was started, Instagram has gained more than 150 million users, easily making it one of the most popular toddlers ever. Business owners have begun to take notice of the image sharing platform and some have even found innovative ways to market their products and increase brand awareness. This post will discuss a few of the reasons why business should embrace Instagram.
The main reason for using Instagram is the visual nature of the platform and the number of people using the app. The fact that Instagram is comprised of interesting images and video clips makes it more engaging than other social networks like Twitter and Facebook that are geared toward text-based posts (the average user spends more time on Instagram than on Twitter). Instagram is also popular with many of the key demographics advertisers are trying to reach. According to a study published by Pew Research, Instagram is popular with groups such as adults ages 18-29 years old, African Americans, Latinos, women and residents in urban area. Just by posting product images, businesses can get a lot of free exposure for their products to these key demographics.
“I don’t do any paid advertising, so it’s a way to encourage your client to do the marketing for you,” said Valeen Parubchenko, the director of Private Picassos, a private art studio in New York City that markets through Instagram in an interview with the National Federation of Independent Business.
Like other social media channels, Instagram is very useful for increasing brand awareness. By getting people used to seeing images of a company’s products, Instagram greatly increases brand recognition. Service companies can post pictures of the projects they work on or do before and after pictures. Instagram’s use of hashtags also makes it easier to market to specific interest or subgroups. An organization with a product for classic cars only has to put #classiccars on their posts and they are guaranteed to reach people in their target audience. There are also a lot of ways to use the platform for promotions. Photo contests are an obvious way to go, but there are other ways a business can use Instagram to generate buzz, like hosting a scavenger hunt.
It’s all about connecting to customers in new ways and building relationships. Some businesses have used Instagram to give customers a behind the scenes look at the their facilities. Others have fostered customer loyalty by getting their fans to post pictures of themselves using a specific product. These simple tactics can have significant effects on a company’s bottom line. As was mentioned in a previous post about customer loyalty, keeping clients happy and coming back for more is the foundation for long-term business success. If using Instagram is a new avenue for generating customer loyalty, it’s worth the effort.
Another reason business owners should consider Instagram is the fact that the platform will be adding advertising support in the next year. According to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Instagram’s Director of Business Operations, Emily White says the new advertising could utilize the App’s Discover feature, which promotes popular content, and the search feature used to look up images or themes. There is even some discussion of letting businesses post images that link back to their own site, though Ms. White expressed some reservations about that going in that direction. Regardless of the direction they choose, it would be worthwhile for businesses to start growing their Instagram fanbase now and to start figuring out kind of messaging works best for their organization on the platform.
Instagram may be one of the new kids on the block when it comes to social networks, but there is no denying that there is a lot of potential on the platform. Since many business owners are just starting to see the value in using the app, there is still a large return on investment for businesses that are figure out how to reach the consumers they are targeting. Embracing Instagram is the first step toward embracing a closer (and more profitable) relationship with customers.