Instagram is a social media platform predominantly focussed around visual content, but with new features continuously being added, it is important to know how and why to create an Instagram business account. Just like any online platform (social media, websites or blogging) using Instagram will develop your online presence, which is the whole aim.
Hundreds of millions of active Instagram users every month are posting forty million photos a day on Instagram.
Using Instagram for business marketing grows brand awareness – it visually presents your brand making it easier for our technologized society to recognise it and, due to the vast number of people connecting via these networks, increases its online visibility and raises its offline profile.
Here are our top ten reasons why you should use Instagram to grow your business:
#1 – Instagram is centred on storytelling
People love stories. We grow up with fairytales and happily ever afters, we become engrossed in following the twists and turns of celebrity news, and we’re drawn to people with a natural gift for recounting dramatic or funny events. Storytelling is simply part of human nature. And from a business perspective, telling an interesting story is a great way to create an emotional connection with your audience.
Sharing visual content is the best way to let your audience know what you’re about and build a relationship with potential future customers and ambassadors. A customer rather than product-centric approach has long been the standard approach in marketing. With this in mind, it’s important to avoid an Instagram feed that pushes products. Instead, focus on feelings! Embrace the potential that Instagram offers to encourage an emotional response to your brand, and you’ll see a positive impact on the success of your business overall – from visibility through to sales and returning customers.
#2 – Connect with customers
While most people think about sites like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to connecting with fans and engaging with customers online — you may be surprised to hear that Instagram has one of the most active and engaged user base.
In fact, one report from Forrester Research found that Instagram generates 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
With such high engagement, Instagram is the perfect platform to connect with customers, listen to their feedback, and build relationships through the conversations you’re able to spark.
You can share a photo of a new product and ask people what they think, or give them a sneak peek of a new project and see if they have any input.
#3 – Visual content is essential to your marketing strategy
Photos are the most-engaging content on the Web, with visual posts producing 650% higher engagement than text only posts. It follows that Instagram is a great platform to engage your fans and keep them coming back for more. Using Instagram to test what resonates with your audience visually will help you develop your branding across the board, and you can incorporate the imagery you use on Instagram into your other marketing channels, such as your blog and email newsletters.
#4 – It offers high levels of reach and engagement by comparison
Due to the intelligent algorithm, heavy hashtag integration, and the engaging “explore” feature, businesses are given a much better shot at being seen. One study found that Instagram had nearly 10 times more engagement with business posts on average than business posts on Facebook in 2016!
#5 – Learn what people like
You may not realize it, but your audience members could already be sharing photos and talking about your business on Instagram.
This is especially true if your business has a brick and mortar location where customers visit on a regular basis.
Restaurants are a great example of this. People love sharing photos of their favorite dishes. With Instagram, they can share a photo and let their followers know where they are enjoying the meal by tagging your location.
But restaurants aren’t alone — people love sharing a variety of images from lots of different locations. And when they tag your location, their friends will see it, giving customers the chance to market your business on your behalf.
The best way to see if people have shared photos at your location is to snap a photo at your business and tag your location. After you share the photo, you will see a link above the photo that you can click to see all of the photos that have been shared at your store or office. This is a great way to see what people like about your business, and what they’re sharing about you.
#6 – It’s the perfect opportunity to engage with your community
Instagram actually has the highest average engagement rate of all the main social channels, beating Facebook and Twitter. In fact, it even has a higher brand engagement rate, which shows the audience on Instagram is more open to branded content than they are on other platforms.
A good starting point for generating engagement is to follow people talking about your brand or your products and comment on their photos and videos. You can also start conversations using your own hashtags and inspire your followers to join in. Remember, engaging your fans is not only about publishing photos and videos of your products – you actually need to connect with them! Also, It can be tempting to use bots to comment and like on other posts so that you increase your own likes and follows, but there are lots of reasons not to automate engagement! Real engagement is the most important metric to focus on, as real engagement translates into real sales and loyal customers!
#7 – Reach new audiences
Instagram makes it easy to discover new photos, new people, and new businesses.
One of the ways that people discover new content on Instagram is through hashtags. Similar to other social platforms, when someone includes a hashtag in a post on Instagram, a link is created and you can view all of the photos that have been shared using that hashtag.
For a business like La Provence, a French boutique located in Rockport, Massachusetts, using a hashtag like #frenchdecor is a great way to get found by customers who share their passion. They can also include a hashtag that is popular in their town, #rockportma, to connect with local consumers.
You can also use hashtags to pro-actively find potential customers. For example, Oh to Be a Dog, a pet care business in Pasadena, Florida uses hashtags to find people sharing photos of their pets nearby and make an introduction.
“Hashtags have been great for us. We started out by searching for users in Pasadena, who were sharing photos of dogs. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to people we knew were local, have or just love dogs, and would probably enjoy our photos.”
In addition to hashtags, Instagram also has a Discover tab, dedicated to helping users find photos and connect with users that are relevant to them.
#8 – Fuel your other marketing channels
One of the great things about the content you create in Instagram is that it can easily be shared across all of your different marketing channels.
Within your Instagram Settings, you can enable social sharing to Facebook and Twitter, so that your photos will share automatically when you post them to Instagram. Even if you don’t want to share your photos on different networks right away, you can save your photo to your phone’s Camera Roll and easily access them when you’re ready to post.
The content you share on Instagram can also be used in your email marketing campaigns. If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can integrate Instagram within your photo library with our MyLibrary Plus tool, and easily access your photos when you’re ready to send your campaign.
#9 – Generate sales
Creating professional-looking images to promote your products and highlight your services has never been easier or more affordable.
As a result, visual platforms like Instagram are doing more than just generating engagement, they are also driving sales.
One report from e-commerce platform Shopify found that the average price tag for a sale referred from Instagram is $65, compared to $55 for Facebook and $46 for Twitter.
Be careful not to fill your feed with product photos with the same caption asking people to “buy now” or “shop online.” Instead, look for creative ways to display your products and let your images speak for themselves.
#10 – It’s a good idea to stay competitive
More than doubling from 2015, over 70% of U.S. companies with over 100 employees are using Instagram for marketing purposes. Even more appealing, over 80% of non-business users follow a business on Instagram! Your customers and your competitors are on Instagram.. are you?
With all of this being said, Instagram is also a fun platform to use. With new features being released nearly every month, the platform is exciting and constantly evolving. New adoptions like Instagram Stories and live streaming give all users new opportunities to create and consume content. From documenting company culture on your timeline to sharing behind the scenes looks on your story, there are endless opportunities to create content on Instagram.
Follow the editor Kizzi Nkwocha on Instagram. Just search for KizziNkwocha.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of My Entrepreneur Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, The Property Investor and Gold, Oil and Diamonds, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.