If you are not already including Instagram in your marketing now is a good time to start and you probably won't need any more reasons to after these ten!
1. It's Where The 'Young Ones' Are.
There are so many people now on Instagram you just can't ignore it as part of your social media. A Pew Research survey conducted in the US released earlier this year showed that over half of those aged between 18-29 years and a quarter of those aged between 30-49 years are on Instagram (right). In addition they are are also very active on Instagram with almost half using the social network on a daily basis and almost three quarters using it weekly. Ireland is no exception. Ipsos MRBI research released research (below) just last month that showed 47% of Irish people use Instagram daily which is a larger amount of active users compared to Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or LinkedIn. Therefore it is a social network that in my opinion business owners and marketers can't ignore.
2. High Organic Reach (that marketers love!)
The major advantage of Instagram for businesses is it has a much higher organic reach compared to other social media sites so you'll get far more exposure. Since Instagram operates in real time you don't need to worry about your post not appearing in your customers feeds. Unlike Facebook and now Twitter, Instagram does not use algorithms to determine what content is the most engaging and therefore appearing in peoples feeds. Instead Instagram displays the most current photos from those a person follows.
Buffer/Social@Ogilvy claim that a mere 6% of those that liked your page will actually see each of your Facebook posts. The figure is dropping all of the time and Facebook have never been afraid to admit how low it is. Way back in 2012 Facebook for Business stated that "Pages organically reach about 16% of their fans on average. To make sure your fans see your stories, sponsor your posts to increase the reach of your content." In other words you have always needed to pay for a decent number of your Facebook fans to see your content. With Instagram this is not the case, for now. Your photo will appear in all of your followers feeds, of course they won't all see it because all of your followers won't check their Instagram at the time you post a photo. While there doesn't seem to be as much research to show the exact percentage of Instagram followers that see each of your Instagram posts you can be guaranteed far more than 6% will see it.
3. High Engagement (that marketers and customers love!)
Not only will you get a higher reach on Instagram but you will also get higher engagement rates from your customers. You will find numerous examples of this but here is one I noticed over the past few months. This month Fedex shared the photo below on Instagram and they also shared the exact same photo on Facebook. The engagement for each post is very different - much higher on Instagram:
Facebook Likes: 1,000,431
Facebook Post Likes: 833
Facebook Post Comments: 32
Instagram Followers: 14,500
Instagram Post Likes: 511
Instagram Post Comments: 8
What this shows: Instagram engages fans far more than Facebook. Fedex has almost sixty-nine times more Facebook page likes than Instagram followers but they got far from sixty-nine times their Instagram engagement rate on Facebook.
On Instagram 35% of Fedex's following engaged with the post by liking it whereas on Facebook not even 1% of their fans liked the post.
When it comes to comments Instagram also did slightly better considering they have far less of a following compared to that of their Facebook page. We are talking in very tiny percentages since there were so few comments. The comment engagement rates are: Instagram = 0.006% v Facebook =0.0003%.
The bottom line is Instagram engages followers far more than Facebook.
This example was updated from Ben & Jerry's to Fedex. The Fedex example listed is more accurate and applies globally.
4. Get A Head Start Over Competitors.
Right now Instagram is the fastest growing social network but only 34% of B2C marketers are using it in their marketing. With less marketers/businesses on Instagram it means you can start building your following early and you'll be an old-timer before your competitors have even joined! B2B marketers are using Instagram less with only 19% using it as part of their marketing efforts. This is hardly surprising because it is much easier to target consumers on Instagram compared to businesses. Without a doubt Instagram marketing is much more important in B2C marketing right now. You can learn from the businesses who are doing B2C Instagram really well in my past blog post '10 Businesses Who Are #Winning On Instagram'.
5. It's "Free".
Instagram doesn't have any direct cost which is great - people actually see your content without you having to pay Instagram a penny to sponsor your posts. At least for now. Of course there are indirect marketing costs that have to be taken into consideration like the time and effort that goes into planning, creating your images, monitoring and analysing performance. In my opinion it is well worth the effort if your target market are using Instagram.
6. Ads Are Coming.
Just over a year ago Instagram announced they were introducing advertising to the platform. Since then a few select advertisers have been invited to come on board and test Instagram's advertising in the form of sponsored posts, similar to Facebook. Once they roll out their advertising fully I think we will see more businesses showing an interest in Instagram. The down side of coming on at this point is that many companies will have already got a solid following on the site. They will know what works for their followers on Instagram and what does not and as a result it will be much easier to nail Instagram advertising. That is why it is important to jump on the Instagram 'band waggon' right now if you haven't already done so. If you have, you should probably spend more time on Instagram marketing, it is powerful marketing platform as explained above.
Let's hope that Instagram doesn't go the way Facebook went, making it extremely hard to reach their customers organically. I feel part of the reason for Instagram's rapid growth is because there is little advertising and since posts are shown in real time.
7. Drive Traffic To Your Website.
Instagram is a great way to drive traffic to your website or other relevant content. You can add your website under each Instagram post, in your profile and even in the location the photo was taken. So if the photo you post on Instagram is of a product you can link to that particular products web page driving sales, leads or what ever you you want to drive. Red Bull have a link to their website on their Instagram profile and they often add calls to action under their posts referring to the link in their profile. The disadvantage is that links under each photo won't be hyperlinked. This is probably why Red Bull ask you go to their profile rather than posting a link directly underneath their photo - well done Red Bull.
8. It's Simple To Use.
Instagram is one of the easiest social media sites to use. It is simple to set up an Instagram page for business - you set it up the exact same way as you would set up a personal Instagram profile. Daily use is also as easy as taking a photo, adding an optional filter, some text, hashtags and your done. I find posts with numerous hashtags are generally more engaging than those without hashtags. All you have to do then is monitor comments and make sure to reply to users comments and questions. Instagram have a great business blog full of case studies and examples of great Instagram profiles. You can find it on Tumblr here.
9. Powerful Analytics.
Now that there is powerful Instagram analytics and monitoring software available it makes having a business Instagram very manageable. The best software for Instagram marketing I have come across is Iconosquare. It offers not just analytics but also monitoring in real time like tracking comments users make on your posts and noting the ones you have replied to and those not replied to. Below is an image explaining their scoring analytics. They have a "Love Rate" based on how much your followers like your media. The "Talk Rate" is based on comments and the "Spread Rate" is based on likes gained from non followers.
10. It's Picture Perfect.
Instagram is all about photos and so using it you get a great bank of images to use in future marketing. Whats more is your customers are probably already doing Instagram marketing for you. Try hashtagging your business name and see what comes up. I'm surprised when I hashtag small, medium or even large businesses who are not on Instagram and find numerous pictures from their customers - leverage them.
You can get your customers to help you with your Instagram marketing simply by asking them and reposting their images. Olloclip do it a lot of the time which means they don't even need to take their own photos, how easy is that! Here are some recent photos they posted to Instagram, all taken by their followers. Some Social Media Managers have it easy!
Now that you have all the reasons in the world to start using Instagram in your marketing you might want to check out who is doing in well in my other blog post '10 Businesses Who Are #Winning On Instagram'. Feel free to comment or reach out to me where ever you want and if you want me to cover something just comment bellow or tweet @oconnorpadraig
Thanks for reading, I hope to see you on Instagram!