With over 300 million users worldwide Instagram has now surpassed Twitter. With it's rapid growth there has never been a better time to start using the platform to connect with your customers (and potential customers). Not familiar with Instagram? In short it's a social sharing app where users capture and share photos or videos. Content is often shared with hashtags (#) - hashtags are used to categorise images and make them searchable.
So who's on Instagram?
Instagram boasts a youthful demographic with the majority of it's users aged between 18-34. There's also slightly more women using the network than men. Interestingly the 18 - 29 age group strongly prefer Instagram over Facebook (nearly 2 to 1)!
Why brands and businesses should pay attention to Instagram?
According to research from a 2015 study Iconosquare found 70% of users surveyed had looked for a brand on Instagram and compared with platforms like Facebook where users primarily 'like' brands and businesses for the contests or giveaways 62% of Instagram users follow brands simply because they 'love' them and want to see the content they post.
The Instagram audience are also primed to shop and frequently discover new products and brands via the platform. If you're running an eCommerce business there's no doubt that platforms like Instagram can help drive sales. With over 50% of all eCommerce traffic now coming from mobile devices visual networks such as Instagram generate social discovery and drive measurable traffic and conversions.
How to use Instagram (the basics)
To get started with Instagram you'll need to download the mobile app, then create an account through email or Facebook. If you get stuck you can find out more about creating an account here: Instagram Help Centre.
Once you've created an account you can connect it with your other social media accounts and you could also link to your Instagram from your website.
Now you're account is set up the fun begins! It's time to start posting and sharing images and video. Remember there's a wide range of types of content you could share, this might include images of your products (ideally in a natural or 'native' setting), your staff, your customers, or events you're attending. If you're struggling for ideas you could check out other businesses/brands in a similar industry and check out the types of content they post. Remember though it's all about finding your own voice to showcase your brands unique personality.
As well as an image or video your Instagram post can include a short caption and hashtags. Hashtags help categorise and organise content to make it easier for users to discover. Using hashtags will help your content to be discovered by new fans who might not yet have interacted with your brand. It's a good idea to try and keep your hashtags relevant and related to your industry. As a rule of thumb don't use more than 5 hashtags and keep them natural, using a huge string of them can look like blatant (and spammy) marketing.
Instagram introduces clickable links and advertising features
Earlier this month Instagram announced expanded options for advertisers, allowing multiple photos to be brought together in sequenced stories which users can swipe through to learn more about a product or brand. Instagram's Business Blog describes the benefits of the new advertising feature:
One way to look at it is carousel ads bring the potential of multi-page print campaigns to mobile phones – with the added benefit of taking people to a website to learn more. For instance, a fashion company could use the carousel to deconstruct the individual products in a ‘look.’ A car company might share an array of different features of a vehicle and provide a link to learn more about the new model. Or, an advertiser could showcase how multiple ingredients come together to make a delicious meal.
Need some help getting the most from social media?
If you'd like to supercharge your social media marketing or need some assistance leveraging Instagram to connect with your target market then feel free to get in touch with us for coffee and a chat. We live, love and breathe using social media to get results for our clients and specialise in creating digital marketing strategies and implementing them!