Business Review: Instagram
Is it a viable marketing strategy for small businesses?
Welcome to another Business Review on a four part series covering social media sites. If you are just tuning into my series check out my past posts that give an honest opinion on whether or not Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, or other platforms are right for helping your small business grow.
That being said… Instagram, is it worth it?
My answer might take longer to explain than expected. Let me try to put it into words, a picture speaks a thousand words, and images are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text. How can I make it clear, in text, whether or not Instagram is a useful platform? When apparently images are a better way of conveying a message.
Oh wait, I think I just made my point…
Images are by far the best way to get people’s attention. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same info, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
Here is an awesome infographic that shows how effective Instagram can be. (now you are 65% more likely to retain this data, you’re welcome.)
Like always, I do my research, and I have picked out my top reasons why you should use Instagram. There are some cons to using Instagram, but I’ll tell you why they are out weighed by the Pros.
Multiple sources have assured that Instagram has an average growth rate (user accounts) of 16%. By 2018 the platform will have over 100 million users, and by next year about 71% of major brands will be marketing on Insta.
If those facts don’t convince you of its potential, it has been growing 5x faster than any other social media platform at the moment.
That info helps frame Instagram as one of the best of the best, but there are some downsides.
The average user sees only 30% of their actual photo feed. Instagram has an algorithm that shows the user what they think they want to see. Basically, whatever the user is liking or interacting with the more likely they are going to see future posts. This can give small businesses a hard time gaining visibility if no one is even able to see their posts.
For me the Pros outweigh the Cons, but only if you are purchasing Ads, and you have well thought out creative content. Refer back to my Facebook business overview, section 2. Plan and Develop Content, to understand the importance of building and investing in social media content. 33% of internet users are on Instagram and 60% of users log in daily. The best way to get them to see you is if it’s something they want to interact with and see weekly in their feed.
You can be very creative with how you post your business’ marketing content. There are so many ways to be unique and stand out. You can post Instagram stories, video, photos, a slideshow combination of photo and videos, use hashtags, link website or other platforms to your bio, and even try out regramming.
One thing people seem to not realize is how diverse you can be with Instagram. There is a wide variety of ways to post your content to not become mundane, constantly scrolled past and cast into limbo.
Here is the big Con, not every business feels they can profit from posting video or pictures. For example, and I am not trying to single them out, but, plumbers can have a hard time figuring out what to post. No one wants to see pictures of a toilet, fixed or broken. There are plenty of other small businesses that feel just as boring and find it hard to stand out.
Not all hope is lost for those that feel boring and struggle to be creative. Some ways you can use all the functions of Instagram and find success are:
- Hold contests-get people to follow you, tag a friend, and link a creative hashtag to it. Use a picture of your business logo, or whatever the reward is. This can increase your following while maintaining interaction in a creative way.
- Change up your Bio-you can only post links to other sites in your bio. Try out different links to gain traffic. Whether to a different platform, website, deals, etc. Anyway you can transfer Instagram traffic to another marketing technique that is stronger for you.
- Posts-Try posting different things such as; behind the scenes Instagram stories of your business, walk through tutorials on a product, inspirational quotes, or even repost other successful Instagramers photos by screenshotting it and tagging them/giving photo credit.
- Hashtags- Look up popular hashtags that are generating views. People will search what is trending rather than a super long hashtag that pertains to your company or picture, but no one will ever be able to stumble across.
Two words: Influencer Marketing. I mentioned it above on how to be creative with your content. It is essentially regramming or reposting successful Instagram posts, but with a twist. The twist is the influencer can gain traffic through other social media platforms. Do your research and figure out who is a top influencer in your industry. Whether they are a blogger, YouTuber, or Twitterer connect with them and see how you can help them out while they help you out.
Often times Influence Marketing involves you having them sponsor you. This can be $20-$100 a post. If you don’t have that kind of money you are down to the option of building a relationship and they offer the sponsorship as a gift or other offer. Ads as well cost money, and that limits you to only trying to build relationships with Influencers, that can be a tall task for some industries and small businesses.
Influence marketing is by far the best route to being successful on Instagram. They already have the following, they already have great content, and if you can build a relationship with them you will see engagement on your posts, or sites, very quickly. More than 65% of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 18-34. That target market has huge potential and they will only continue to use Instagram in the future. If you can gain followers quickly and efficiently with highly credible influencers, your business will only see growth.
I always state in any of my posts the importance of doing research and growing your understanding of each platform. I put in the effort to research a lot of information for you, but these overviews won’t make you an expert. You will need to put in the effort, and research as well.
Luckily all my posts have great websites linked to it to help you on your way to success!