Instagram’s Growing Importance for Your Business

October 8, 2015

Why Instagram is the best social network for engagement

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What’s This?

Everyone knows Instagram is just for tweens, right? If that’s true, why are legions of smart marketers convinced that Instagram is important for their business? Having an Instagram presence is critical for businesses and brands looking to drive engagement with a young adult (and younger!) market. With mobile surpassing online data consumption for the first time last year with 1.6 billion daily likes and 20 billion shared photos and a 42% penetration into the attractive millennial market–mobile is definitely the place to be and Instagram is the “best of the best” among mobile social media offerings. It’s rare to see anyone without a smartphone in their hands at all times, and most are actively engaging with content, some spending nearly 450 minutes per month of that time spent on Instagram, according Instagram demographics from comScore’s Mobile Trends 2014. If that hasn’t piqued your interest, perhaps these Instagram Statistics and Facts will get you to finally see why your business needs to be on Instagram.

Why Instagram vs. Twitter?

Instagram's growth is another reason it is so important to your business

Twitter has long been lauded as the platform of choice for marketers, with its broad reach and ability to drive engagement with hashtags bringing together disparate conversations and individuals in a way that Facebook inherently can’t because of the heavily friend-based structure. Twitter is great for short, pithy statements but even that platform is moving more towards a visual structure, heavily weighting short videos and images in the newsfeed to ensure that you’re seeing the most engaging content at all times.

Facebook, meet Instagram

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Advertising on Instagram just got real with Facebook’s purchase of the visual interaction platform in 2012 and the recent announcement that it would be open to anyone. Marrying Facebook’s advanced analytics and robust advertising platform with Instagram’s advertising capabilities ensure that Instagram will be mined by marketers for years to come. Whether or not the addition of a limited number of paid ads will muddy Instagram’s closed-market appeal still remains to be seen. Part of what users are known to enjoy about Instagram is that they can almost completely control the content that they interact with. Don’t like that post? Unfollow the account. Really don’t like it? Block the user. The introduction of ads to the formerly pure user-generated content platform may change the level of ongoing user engagement with Instagram for business use if advertisers aren’t extremely careful of how they introduce their messaging. So far, the news are good. High community growth, low CPA rates (and some negative comments from Instagrammers angry to see ads in their feed).

User engagement levels

Twitter provides the lowest barrier to entry for companies in that they can just sign up and join any ongoing conversations as a way to build their audience. Facebook is the same, since their advertising (if targeted properly) makes building your audience to reasonable levels a snap. Instagram stats are different, sure you can “buy” followers, but what all SMM’s are measuring is engagement rate. You have to provide valuable and interesting content and spend time on ongoing user engagement before you are rewarded with followers. Granted, you can still game the system to some extent–following the largest permitted number of followers and then unfollowing those who don’t follow back–but this inauthentic interaction will not pay off in the long run with committed followers with a high potential of turning into customers. Truly spending the time to interact with users can pay off in spades with serious growth of your Instagram stats; according to Forrester, Instagram’s users are 120 times more likely to like, comment or share a brand’s post than Twitter users, and 58 times more likely than Facebook users.

Content (Visual Content) is king

A good marketers knows that content is king, but a great marketer knows that (at least for the near future) visual content trumps all. The trend away from wordy storytelling and hashtags and towards a truly powerful, moving or inspirational image is strong. Having the ability to generate lifestyle images of your products in use and reposting images–or even better, videos–of your customers interacting with your products is even stronger than a trend and is turning into a movement.

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