It’s a challenge to get the “real work” of your business done, let alone to be active on every new social media fad that comes along. You might be on Facebook or other social media platforms already – so why should you add Instagram to the mix?
Despite being relatively new to the social media scene (having launched in 2010 but really gaining traction over the last few years), Instagram is gaining a reputation as a worthwhile addition to the social media and marketing strategy of a range of businesses.
But before you jump in just because “everyone says you should”, here are a few reasons why you should consider Instagram as a potential tool in your marketing arsenal.
INSTAGRAM IS GROWING RAPIDLY
Instagram has over 300 million active monthly users … and over 75 million active daily users. Around 70 million photos are uploaded to Instagram daily, and these photos attract almost 2.5 billion likes daily. (Source: business.instagram.com)
These user numbers equate to about 20% of internet users. With an audience that size, it’s highly possible that your target audience is active on Instagram.
INSTAGRAM USERS ARE HIGHLY ENGAGED
Instagram users tend to be more engaged. This means they “like” and comment more frequently than users of other social media platforms.
So if you post high quality, relevant content, your Instagram audience is more likely to engage.
And unlike Facebook, where algorithms determine if your audience sees your content, Instagram’s news feed is real time. If your followers are on Instagram at the time you post, they will see your content.
INSTAGRAM GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD YOUR BRAND
Through strong imagery and visual storytelling, Instagram lets you communicate your brand and values to your followers. Followers can get a sense of your company’s WHY and what you’re all about. It gives them a chance to connect with who you are and what you do. As is always quoted by marketers, people buy from businesses they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Instagram gives you a chance to build this relationship with your followers and establish that trust and connection.
INSTAGRAM IS A GREAT WAY TO NETWORK AND BUILD RELATIONSHPS
As with all social media, Instagram is a great opportunity to network and build relationships with other businesses and industry influencers. You can identify potential partners within your industry, follow them and support their social media efforts with “likes” and comments. You are able to build a relationship with them, so if a time comes when you’d like to propose an opportunity to work together, they know who you are and may be more open to the idea.
So having identified the benefits, let’s also look at the challenges of marketing via Instagram.
INSTAGRAM IS NOT A TRAFFIC DRIVER
Your Instagram profile has only one active link (i.e. a link that can be clicked to go to a website), and that is the website link in your bio. Any links posted in the descriptions or comments of your Instagram posts are not clickable, and therefore do not drive traffic through to your website.
While you can direct people to click on the link in your bio, or to type the link in their web browser, these extra steps make it less likely that your followers will visit your website.
INSTAGRAM POSTS CAN ONLY BE UPLOADED VIA YOUR MOBILE DEVICE
You can’t upload images via desktop – only via your mobile device.
MANAGING MULTIPLE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS IS CHALLENGING
Because you can only upload images via your mobile device, managing multiple Instagram accounts is difficult as you need to log in and log out of the accounts to post images. While you can manage your interactions – i.e. likes, comments and replies – via the Instagram desktop version or third party apps, to actually post a photo you need to be logged in via mobile.
SCHEDULING AND AUTOMATION IS MORE DIFFICULT THAN OTHER PLATFORMS
Instagram’s terms and conditions stipulate that you can’t upload photos from a third party app, and so scheduling tools aren’t as effective as with other social media platforms.
Tools such as Hootsuite and Latergram.me make it slightly easier by allowing you to create a timetable of your posts and craft the descriptions, sending you a reminder at the allocated time so that you can open the images in Instagram to post them. It still means, however, that you need to be available and online to make the final post.
In the end, the decision to participate in any social media platform should come down to 3 key questions:
- Is my target audience using the platform?
- Does it support my marketing strategy and the business goals I am trying to achieve?
- Do I have the resources to execute consistently and well to add real value to my audience?
If the answer is yes to these three questions, Instagram is worth adding to your toolbox.
For a free “Getting Started on Instagram” checklist and workbook, click here.