If you’re responsible for your business’s social media marketing plan, you’re probably already well-established on popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. However, part of effectively developing your brand involves expanding your opportunities for reach and growth. That means being prepared to follow your target audience as they embrace new social trends.
While not “new,” per se, Instagram has spent the past few years transforming itself from a simple photo sharing site to an extremely effective advertising platform that fully utilizes the power of visuals and short, sharp messages as marketing tools in ways that more traditional social media platforms (like Facebook) cannot.
Boasting growth five times faster than any other social network in the US, you can’t afford not to incorporate Instagram into your business’s social marketing strategy.
Not convinced? We’ve put together a list of the six most important reasons why.
- Humans are Primarily Visual Creatures
To be a successful marketer, you need to be an expert at capturing the complete attention of your audience. In the world of 20-second sound bites, this task is harder than ever.
Studies have shown that visual marketing may be the key to breaking through the digital clutter, as humans are primarily visual creatures. In fact, we now know that images are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text!
The old adage is true: people remember 80% of what they see, 20% of what they read and only 10% of what they hear. Not only are images more engaging to the average user, but they also transcend the barrier of language, opening up your brand to a much broader range of potential customers. Take a look at this company’s Instagram for a great example of an image-rich page.
- Instagram’s Engagement Levels Are Higher than Other Platforms
As a marketer, one of the key metrics you should be measuring is user engagement. There is no point in being able to boast a huge reach if the consumers you’re peacocking to aren’t engaging with your content.
Unfortunately, a measly engagement rate of just over 1% is considered “good” on Facebook, meaning that 99% of your fans are essentially ignoring your posts. Instagram, however, reports the highest average engagement rate of all the major social media platforms, coming in at approximately 10 times higher than Facebook and a whopping 84 times higher than Twitter.
- Instagram Is Fantastic for Reaching Influencers
Just as celebrities on the silver screen used to be instrumental in selling products, influencers, the digital stars of the 21 century, can be invaluable allies in generating leads and growing your audience.
We know that purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by opinions of friends and family. However, recent research has shown that social media stars, like Gigi Hadid, now have essentially the same level of influence on consumer buying behaviors.
Naturally, Instagram is one of the biggest hangouts for influencers. Use this platform to court them into a brand collaboration, like a sponsored review or mention, and you’ll see your clout and followers skyrocket.
- Instagram Can Help You Show Your Brand’s Personality
It’s only too easy to present your company as a dry and boring business, especially if you’re in the service industry. Instagram provides the opportunity to give your company’s public personality a facelift.
Studies show that fans respond favorably to brands that use humor and appear approachable on social media. And in an oversaturated market, this can be enough to set you apart from the competition.
To achieve this, post content that humanizes your brand, such as photos from your latest humanitarian venture or pictures from the retirement party you threw for Helen in sales. Users will also be interested to see the process your product goes through before it finds its way into their hands. Use images to paint the story of your brand and make customers feel involved.
- You Can Utilize User-Generated Content
User-generated content is trending big time in social media marketing. User-generated content refers to content (usually images or videos) created by your customers. Using Instagram, you can quickly and easily repurpose this content and use it as authentic marketing material.
Consumer confidence grows when potential customers can see real-life users enjoying your product. Having user-generated content up your sleeve also puts less pressure on your marketing team to come up with endless original posts per day. Who doesn’t love free publicity?
You can encourage users to submit content by creating a unique brand hashtag that your audience can use, or by calling for submissions in the form of a contest.
- Instagram Is Marketer-friendly
One of the most frustrating things about social media platforms like Facebook is the way they curate the content that their audience sees. Although their original feed algorithm, Edgerank, has been retired, companies routinely find that their painstakingly created content isn’t reaching all their fans.
On the other hand, Instagram ensures that all of your posts show up and remain permanently active in your gallery without prompting you to pay a fee to “boost” your views.
Another cool tool is Instagram Direct. This direct messaging system now rivals that of other platforms, allowing you to contact customers privately to deal with support issues and queries in a more discreet and professional way.
Instagram is made for user interaction, which makes it extremely simple to build stronger connections with your audience and receive creative feedback and input. This takes some of the guesswork out of your marketing strategy.
The social media climate is constantly changing, but Instagram has proven that it is more than just a passing trend. With more than 80 million U.S. users active on the platform and a steady rate of growth, it provides a fantastic opportunity for you to expand your brand’s reach. By 2018, 71% of major brands are tipped to be using Instagram as part of their marketing arsenal. Will you be one of them?