Industry Insights

Why Businesses Should Take Instagram Seriously

Are you using Instagram for your business? You’re returning and more importantly future customers are part of the 1 billion users who interact and showcase their passions on Instagram monthly. No matter what type of business you have, Instagram is becoming a very popular and growing marketing and customer retention platform, with over 25 million businesses connecting to customers through Instagram. Since its launch into the social media realm, Instagram has proven itself to be a very powerful marketing tool for businesses – in particular, to launch, expand or gain visibility of brand and/or product. 

Now many of you may think “Business? On Instagram?” Yes, "the ‘gram'" has become a platform filled with pictures of celebrity dogs, a meal you just cooked or ordered, or of course those ever-so-popular #livingmybestlife selfies. However, with the boom in popularity of Instagram stories and the recent ability to advertise — there is no better time to be using Instagram for business.

If your business isn’t on Instagram these days, or you just haven’t thought it would be valuable, this post will outline why your business needs to take Instagram seriously: its continuous rise in importance and how your company can benefit and get started.

The Numbers

Like any decision to expand into a market, launch a product or choose a channel to market on, we must look at the numbers:

  • 25 million+ business profiles worldwide
  • 2 million+ advertisers worldwide use Instagram to share their stories and drive business results.
  • 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram
  • 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile a day
  • 80% increase in time spent watching videos on Instagram
  • 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses
  • 2 in 3 of business profile visits are from non-followers

Why You Should Take Instagram for Business Seriously

Be Where the People Are

According to the folks over at Instagram, their platform currently brings with in over 1 billion active users. Of those billions of users, over 500 million of them are on the platform every single day and 38% check the site multiple times each day. With that many available eyeballs on a single platform, there is no real glass ceiling to the success a business can achieve. Increasing brand awareness, obtaining new followers, eventual customers and even creating brand ambassadors and/or celebrity ambassadors.

While most businesses may think Facebook and Twitter is where you can connect and engage with customers online — you may be surprised to know that Instagram has one of the most active and engaged user bases. In fact, 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.

Solo, Small, Medium or Enterprise – Be Successful at any Business Size

Whether you are a small business, in a niche all your own, or a stay at home mom-prenuer, with over 1 billion users to choose from, the sky is truly the limit to what your business can achieve. However, even for the most well-known brands, realistical success is not guaranteed to come overnight. Much like you worked at building your business, businesses need to continue to work at using Instagram by keeping an active presence and post at least once per day. This is how household brands as well as small businesses have effectively used Instagram to thrive.

Another Channel for Revenue

Instagram is a great channel to boost your sales. Being a visual platform, businesses are creating stunning product shots, lifestyle vignettes to not only engage with users, but drive sales – and it's never been easier or more affordable. In fact, e-commerce platform Shopify reported that the average price tag for a sale referred from Instagram is $65, compared to $55 for Facebook and $46 for Twitter. As platforms evolve, Instagram has evolved to bring more functionality and has put an emphasis on making money through product placement. One of the more recent features include ‘shoppable posts’, where businesses can add tags to the products in their posts with links that include a product description, price and the ability to "shop now," leading the user to your online store. Another fact that is hard to ignore and why you should start using Instagram for business is that 72% of Instagram users admit to purchasing products through the social media platform. But that doesn’t mean to spam BUY NOW on every post, be creative in displaying your products subtly. 

Take Storytelling to the Next Level

Any good marketer knows the power of how a good story can promote a business or product, reach your audience and ultimately influence purchase. Once of the most recent developments on the platform is the popular ‘story’. These stories, along with the photos, are a great way to put a face to your brand and show your future customers that you are more than just a faceless business. Stories, videos or live posts are a rewarding way to build rapport, trust and credibility with followers. Show your human side and build trust with your customers. 

Build Connections

Social media platforms are a great way to build connections – personally and for business. Instagram, and its rise of influencers, can bring your businesses sales up to a different level through increased return on investment and access to demographics that you wouldn't normally be able to reach. A well-known influencer can spread word of your business and/or product to millions and millions of followers with the ease of just a few posts. Additionally, Instagram allows you to connect with partners, influencers and other businesses and potentially collaborate in a new way. 

Mobility is King

We all know how important being mobile-friendly is for business. As a platform that originated as a mobile app, Instagram understands how important being mobile is and developed their platform to be visually appealing on mobile, in addition to easy to use. 

Better Understand your Competitors and Users

Instagram is more than just an image and video platform. It's also a way to collect data, keep an eye on your competitors and get to know your users. Track your competitors and how they interact with their followers, watch how often they post and the top ones that get the most engagement. Explore the platform and see what hashtags are trending to help influence your content. With this information, you can better define your own personal strategy.

Get Started on Instagram for Business

If you just finished reading up to this point, and you created your business account on Instagram, we have included some top tips to get you started on reaching new customers through this popular platform.

  • Use Instagram Direct to reach out to customers and influencers easily. Direct allows people to go from visual discovery to learning more about the businesses they love in just a few taps.
  • Comment, reply and send messages to let people know that you are open for business and build community.
  • Be authentic and responsive. Users appreciate your business responding quickly and being authentic. 
  • Highlight products by choosing photos you'd like to feature and can tag and use in carousels.
  • Drive people to your website from Instagram after they have learned more about a product they like by using the show now button or adding a URL

Ending Notes

Let’s begin with the elephant in the room: No, it’s not too late to get started on Instagram. Not by a long shot. Instagram is easy to understand and easy to integrate into your current or future social media strategy. Unlike its parent company – Facebook – Instagram currently doesn’t bury business postings, in fact, they more so boost them. As the platform is key to truly building and obtaining brand equity, once it moves to being able to do direct sales, Instagram will be an unstoppable marketing force. As a business owner, why aren’t you active on a platform that could give you exposure to 1 billion people... for free?

Lynette Sawyer

Lynette Sawyer

Lynette Sawyer is a Web Project Manager for Falcon-Software, a digital web agency founded in 1994. For the last 13-years Lynette has been in various digital capacities and her expertise goes beyond Project Management. Lynette brings experience and knowledge in graphic design, marketing communications, project management, product management and engagement.

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