Instagram is perhaps not the first place you would look to when you think about marketing with social media. Compared to Facebook, Instagram has a rather modest 200 million users compared with Facebook’s 1.32 billion monthly active users. However, few Facebook followers of pages actually see posts their favorite pages are posting. Posts on Facebook are increasingly giving up timeline views in favor of paid “promoted posts”. As a result businesses are turning their attention elsewhere. Instagram has become increasingly popular over the past year with B2C and B2B organizations.
And why not? Instagram is neutral in the device wars. Its followers are split equally between iOS and Android users. The vast majority of users are in the prime consumer age of 18 to 49. Like Pinterest, more women use Instagram than men, 68% to 32%. With 200 million monthly active users, Instagram has a enormously dedicated following. For the businesses that get it right, Instagram has proved a valuable asset for creating strong brand relationships and portraying brand messages in a creative, fun and modern way.
Instagram users enjoy 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook…
For businesses, Instagram is more about building long-term customer relationships and driving better brand recognition. A study by Forrester earlier this year found that Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and an astounding 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
A prime example cited by Forrester was Redbull. With as many as 43 million Facebook followers, a post to its page saw just 2,600 likes. The exact same image posted to just 1.2M followers on Instagram saw an incredible 36,000 likes. This is a trend that has been replicated across the board, with many more brands following suit.
Instagram promotes personality & transparency
In recent years, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis, many consumers are less trusting of some businesses. Social media has helped brands build stronger emotional connections with their customers. Instagram is no different. The social platform is often used to make top executives appear more personable. It has been found that 77% of consumers feel more likely to purchase from a company where their CEO & leadership engage on social media.
Instagram contests drive massive engagement
One of the most popular and successful uses of Instagram by business are contests. An Instagram contest invites users of the site to post pictures alongside a chosen hashtag, for example a travel company might promote #mytraveladventure.
An effective contest may ask followers to post a picture of their most recent travel adventure. As with Twitter, it’s easy for other users on the site to join in themselves and become “part of it”. Occasionally, these posts go viral, creating a gigantic level of engagement. 80% of brand posts on Instagram contain a hashtag, the average post having three. Encouraging users to adopt these hashtags in their posts is a great way of reaching out to the wider social community and encouraging a larger brand reach. Instagram rewards businesses that think and post creatively.
Get off to a head start.
If you’re new to Instagram, there are a number of measures you can take to get off to a good head start.
- Connect with Facebook & Twitter to easily follow your existing friends
- Remember Instagram is less about promoting links & more about promoting brands
- Promote a sense of “exclusivity” through promotional codes just for Instagram
- Highlight your customers – Instagram is an excellent platform for engaging closely with your fan base. Encourage and give perspectives from your customers’ viewpoint.
- Create “fill in the blank” posts. They are a great way of getting customers thinking about your products in a fun and engaging way.
- Excite your fans with early, exclusive snippets – Such as backstage pictures, or videos of new products.
- Think past your product or service; focus on engaging your customer in an authentic and relevant manner.
- Acknowledge your customers, like their photos, @mention them and make them feel appreciated and involved.
Instagram is a rising star of social media, with a cult following of fans, it continues to prove itself valuable for businesses by driving large amounts of traffic, engagement and increased brand recognition.