I know what you’re thinking already. Another social media site I want you to look into. Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, your blog and all the other sites out there, how are you supposed to incorporate Instagram into your social media strategy? And, more importantly, why should you bother? You’re doing just fine without it, right…
Here’s why you should consider using Instagram for business – it’s the future of social media marketing.
Instagram isn’t going anywhere.
In just three years, they have grown to 150 million users. This is a faster growth trajectory than Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. And with 60% of users outside of the US, the global reach of Instagram is growing.
Beyond just the popularity and rapid expansion of Instagram, there are a number of reasons why it is beneficial to use this platform as a part of your social media strategy.
Instagram, and other visual content sites like Pinterest, are gaining popularity for a reason. We’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” countless times since we were children. As marketers and content creators, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of images as part of your content marketing strategy? Just think how much less typing you’d have to do!
“Visual marketing” is one of the latest buzz words, and for good reason. Consumers want images and content marketers need to provide them. Think about your Facebook feed, do you read every post? Likely not. What about photos? You may not stop on every one, but you stop and look at a good majority of them. And what about Pinterest? Think about how much more content you consume when each post is a well crafted image.
Instagram is just the same. It’s an entire feed of visual stimulation encouraging interaction at its highest levels. If you’re seeing any success with visual marketing on the other platforms you use, imagine the capabilities you have on a site dedicated solely to visual marketing.
High Levels of Engagement
While I don’t have scientific studies from Pew or Mashable to substantiate this claim, I have read other blogs and I ran my own studies that validate Instagram engagement is typically higher than any other site. The ratio and number of likes and comments on Instagram posts significantly surpasses the ratio and number of likes and comments on any other social media site.
High Visibility of Posts
One of the reasons Instagram posts receive such high levels of engagement is that posts are highly visible. There’s no Edgerank or other algorithm that selectively showcases your posts. Every single one of your posts will appear in the feeds of every single one of your followers!
Strategic use of hashtags can also significantly boost the exposure of your posts to new users who will like and comment on your posts and who may even follow you as a result.
Your posts also live on forever. They don’t disappear or get archived like old tweets. And they don’t get buried so far down your stream, like Facebook, that they get lost. A quick scroll through your profile showcases every single post you have ever shared. This is a great way for new followers to connect with your brand!
Connect With a Targeted Audience
I promise that your audience is using Instagram. With 150 million users and growing, your customers are on there. There may be a smaller number of your customers and it may take a while to grow your community to significant levels. But take advantage of the smaller community now to cultivate real brand advocates and loyal customers. Instagram users are passionate and active – they want to interact with you and get to know you.
Photos immediately convey emotional responses. You can easily use your posts to evoke powerful emotions in your audience in order to produce the reactions you desire. If you want people to donate to your non-profit, use images that elicit the desire to participate and donate. If you want to celebrate a milestone or achievement with your audience, use posts that stimulate those emotions. Using the right emotional connection through your posts will drastically increase your engagement and help you reach your goals.
Drive Traffic to your Site
One of the most important things we all want is more traffic to our websites. And, yes, you can drive traffic from Instagram! Make sure you post a link to your site in your bio – this is the only place you can put an active hyperlink on Instagram. Mentioning your website or using calls to action (CTA’s) in your post comments are great ways to generate traffic to your site. I also recommend using a specific landing page from your website as the link in your bio in order to capitalize on visitors coming from Instagram.
One of the best things about Instagram is that it’s just plain fun! The posts make you laugh, you get to stage awesome photo shoots, and you see the beauty in the simplest things. Instagram will change the way you think of content marketing – because when you’re having fun creating your content, it really isn’t all that much “work”!
The growth and expansion that we’re seeing on Instagram is only the beginning for this powerful site. Instagram is the latest site to grow into a permanent position within the big social media giants. As this site gains more traction and more users, the more powerful it will become for businesses and marketers. The solutions and long term benefits that are provided by Instagram for business are inescapable. Be prepared – if you’re not on Instagram now, you will be in the near future.