I honestly believe that any and every business can use Instagram to grow their business and their audience. I realize that Instagram may not be ideal for every business, however. Of course, the choice to grow a presence on Instagram will depend on your business, your goals, and your audience and customers.
If you haven’t decided if Instagram is the place for you yet, I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons why I believe you should use Instagram for business. After reading this, I hope that you’ll have a broader perspective on the value of this platform. Then you can determine if it’s the right place for your business to grow.
It’s not just the “trendy” thing to do
While there always seems to be some trendy new platform on the horizon that everyone is talking about, Instagram is not that. Having reached 150 million active users faster than any other social media platform (except Google+), it’s easy to see that this site is a force to be reckoned with. And with 65% of the world’s top 100 brands using Instagram, it’s not just where the “kids” are hanging out. With the growth that Instagram has experienced since it was launched in 2010, it is quickly establishing itself as one of the “big” social media sites.
One of the big terms for 2014 is visual marketing. Most of the big social media sites have made changes to increase the presence of visual content as well as improving the ease of accessing this content. And as visual content becomes more and more important, Instagram will be a means to create high quality, original content. Instagram enables you to produce photos and videos which can be shared to other social media sites as well as being embedded into your website or blog.
Enhance your branding
One of the reasons that I love Instagram is the ability to edit images to convey emotions or connotations beyond the original image. The filters that Instagram provides can allow you to really enhance your images to coincide with your branding. For example, if your business has a vintage focus, you can use certain filters to add antique effects or vignettes to highlight the subject. Likewise, if you are a more modern focused business, you can choose filters which highlight bright colors and enhance modern lines.
Photos also disclose a whole new perspective of your business. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes images or before-and-after images, sharing these images can really enhance your branding. Develop a strong brand appeal on Instagram to show your audience who you really are.
Show your personality
Every business has a story and a personality. Whether you are a solopreneur or a business with multiple employees, there is a story and a personality. Use Instagram to really show this off. Do you have an office mascot? Do you celebrate milestones or birthdays? Do you decorate for holidays and seasons? Do you have competitions between departments? Whatever it is you do at work, chances are your audience wants to see it. Take advantage of photos and videos to really showcase your personality.
It’s not just for product based businesses
Many people assume that a photo based platform like Instagram is only for businesses that have products to sell. But this is really not the case! In fact, I am a service based business and I use Instagram all the time to grow my business. Obviously, product based companies have more “product” which can be photographed and shared on Instagram. But service based companies have a lot to offer too. It just takes a little more creativity.
Share images of projects you’re working on, client locations, cities you visit, your office, your staff, or any other aspect of your business. In all reality, everything you do everyday could be documented through photos. You just have to find creative ways to showcase it. You can also use short videos to answer questions or make announcements.
Take advantage of user generated content
Another big trend right now is incorporating user generated content (UGC) into your content. This means using images or videos that your customers have already created. Instagram easily enables you to access this content to repurpose or use in your own strategy! You can use hashtags, contests, tags, and other means to have your audience submit content to you. And best of all, you get great content to share with your audience that you didn’t have to create!
It’s marketer friendly
Unlike it’s giant parent company, Instagram doesn’t utilize Edgerank or any other algorithm to determine what your audience sees. Every post shows up and every post remains active in your gallery for future views. The newest feature, Instagram Direct, is a direct messaging function within Instagram. This tool could be used creatively to address customer service or support issues directly with your customers in a private conversation rather than publicly on your accounts. The introduction of ads (currently still in an early release phase) will also allow businesses to reach out and target even more users.
Instagram is also a very interactive site which allows you to connect directly with your audience. Asking questions and getting feedback is really easy to manage on Instagram and can really help you target your posts.
Track your analytics
There are no in-app analytics with Instagram. However, you can easily track your data with Statigram. This site allows you to analyze your best posting times, when your audience is most active, your gained and lost followers, your most popular posts, and so much more! If you’re going to use Instagram as part of your social media strategy, knowing your data and analytics is extremely important.
Drive traffic and grow your business
Obviously, the ultimate goal of any social media presence is to grow your traffic and your business. Every week I am able to drive traffic to my blog directly through Instagram. While it’s not as easy to drive traffic directly to your site as it is on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. it can be done. On Instagram, you cannot share active hyperlinks in your comments and captions. The only place you can list an active link is in your bio. Make sure you use this wisely! Then in your comments, tell people to click on the link in your bio in order to direct them to the page you have linked there.
Whether it’s to your home page, your blog tab, a contest page, an opt-in form, or another page of your choice, putting the right link in your bio can drive traffic where you want it to go. You can also change this link as often as you like. This allows you to strategically utilize posts to drive your audience in whichever direction you choose.
The final reason why I love Instagram for business is that it is just plain fun! If you have to “work” all day, you may as well enjoy it, right? Instagram allows you to engage with your audience and create fun, exciting content. Just make sure you don’t get lost in the fun for too long and get distracted from everything else you have to do!
So there you have it, my ten reasons why I think you should use Instagram for business. As I said above, it may not be for everyone, but I do believe that any business can use it successfully. Each month I will be sharing another Instagram related post to help you better understand how to use Instagram successfully. I hope you’ll stay tuned for the following posts!