What started as an app for photographers to share quick photos of their work, has quickly turned into much more than that. While Instagram is still a social platform for sharing photos and videos, it now has over 800 million users, and 500 million of them are using it everyday!
Instagram is great for some businesses, and not so useful for others. While platforms like Google and Facebook are beneficial for all businesses, Instagram isn’t quite the same. To answer the question: Is Instagram the right place for your business? You’ll need to know a few things about it:
Instagram is a great place to build your brand. Because it is the perfect place to share high quality photos (which can be taken on your smartphone), and videos showcasing your work, it’s a great start for building up a following. If you can get people following and interacting with your profile on Instagram, it can be a very powerful tool for business.
If your business needs to start establishing a brand online and building up your reputation, it wouldn’t hurt to try Instagram. Because it’s free and simple to use, this platform is one that you could test out for a couple of months to determine whether or not your business should continue there.
Here’s the tricky thing– Instagram has an algorithm all their own, and it’s not super business-friendly. Users no longer view the content in chronological order, but rather through an algorithm determined by Instagram. This change takes more control away from the companies posting content and makes it hard to determine how many followers will be actually exposed to your posts. Not to mention, without any clickable links associated with each individual post, getting customers to your site from the app is a big challenge.
That being said, when you’re running a small business, it’s not always obvious to Instagram that you’re a business page posting business-related content. This can work in your favor because of your valued customers who interact with your posts, making it seem more like a personal page. Your content isn’t likely to be sucked into Instagram’s algorithm if you’re not running a huge business page with thousands of followers. The algorithm should not dissuade you from using instagram, necessarily, but rather persuade you to understand it and make the app work in your favor.
Are you able to take great before and after photos of your work? Do you have time to create short, but useful, how-to videos? What about snapping pictures of your employees doing their best work? If you answered yes to these questions, then your content could be perfect for Instagram. Unlike Facebook, you can’t post on Instagram without including a photo or video. People enjoy seeing photos and knowing what they should expect as an end result if they work with you, so this really is a good thing.
However, if your photos are poor quality or don’t showcase your best work, you shouldn’t post them. People will associate your posts with your quality of work and if your photos are bad, they’ll think the work is too. You don’t have to post professional grade images that have been highly edited and touched up. Smartphones can take very clear photos and videos, and those are good enough for Instagram. Just be sure your content is relevant and something that your followers will be captivated by.
68% of Instagram users are female, and 59% of them are between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, while 33% are 30-49 years old. If your target audience isn’t on Instagram, then there’s not much of a reason for you to spend your time building a following for your business there.
For example, if you run a business selling tools to construction contractors, your target audience likely isn’t a 20 year old female. Instead, you’re probably mostly serving males in their 30s & 40s. In that situation, Instagram wouldn’t be the best social platform for you. On the other hand, if you run a carpet cleaning business and your target audience is homeowners between 30-50 years old, Instagram could be very beneficial for your business, because of the photo sharing capabilities. Knowing where your target audience is online and what they like to see is your first step to building an online reputation for your business.
Instagram is a very popular social media platform, and is a perfect tool for many businesses. If you read through this and you determined that Instagram isn’t for you, just stick to Facebook, Google and Yelp. However, if you find yourself interested in how it will affect your business, set up a free profile and find out if you like it!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!