Is Instagram good for business?

Did you know that Instagram has more than 300 million active users? Perhaps you’re in business and wondering what this social network, Instagram, has to do with you and your business life. Perhaps you think that Instagram is three hundred million pictures of grandkids, puppies, and kitties, right. That isn’t the case anymore.

Since Instagram has allowed advertising in 2013, more and more businesses are taking advantage of that opportunity to connect with potential customers in fun and creative ways. This makes good advertisements seem just as interesting to users as one of those pictures of grandkids, puppies, and kitties.

Customers Connect with Advertisers on Instagram

In the past, Instagram was not considered a social network that made connecting with others a priority. It was a social network of fun and funny pictures that people glanced at, and then they would move on. This thinking is wrong. It is estimated that Instagram actually generates 120 times the level of engagement of its users when compared with Twitter. Think: over 300 million active users. These are fans and customers who are engaging with advertisers and sharing information and things they see on Instagram. These are 300 million people who may spend money on your business, and better yet, share your ad with their friends who may also spend money on you.

Instagram generates 120X the level of engagement compared to Twitter. Click To Tweet

Instagram now allows advertisers to use Carousel, a tool that uses a series of pictures to be viewed without overpowering what the user/viewer/consumer is looking at. When pictures are added to Carousel, the user slides the screen and a new picture comes up to look at. This is a creative way to tell a story to a potential customer, and because it is similar to, but still different and interesting compared to a video, people pay attention.

Instagram’s Carousel also has a “learn more” button for consumers so they can go straight from Instagram to your website. These multi-page advertising campaigns help direct consumers to places they want to go, so businesses don’t have to worry about inundating people who don’t want to learn about their widget with an overwhelming amount of widget information.

More than just keeping track of how many likes your advertising receives, Instagram can tell you where people who click on your ads are from. You may find out that your product is big in Portland, Oregon and adjust your advertising focus accordingly.

According to L2, a research firm, Instagram has 55 million photos uploaded every day. It is estimated that 92% of the luxury brands who use Instagram and who post on Instagram at least 5.5 times a week see their customer base grow thanks, at least in part, to their advertising efforts on Instagram. These businesses are putting fresh content, fresh ideas, and an overall reminder of what services they perform or goods they sell in front of 300 million active Instagram users a week.

What Content Can Instagram Advertisers Offer 5.5 Times a Week?

One great option for Instagram advertising is to show people using your product. When Benefit Cosmetics wanted to get their name out to the public on Instagram, they asked for something that most Instagram users are experts at: they asked for selfies; selfies of customers using their products. This was the perfect joining of advertising and the age of social media: customers using their product taking selfies. Users sent how-to pictures, before and after pictures, funny pictures, and glamour pictures. Ultimately this was great publicity for Benefit Cosmetics.

Another great option is to have a user contest, which will, of course use selfies of customers using their products. Clothiers can have pictures of people dressed in particular ways highlighting their clothing lines. Duct Tape brand will certainly have prom dates dressed in suits and dresses made from their product. When contests get clever and take advantage of people’s imaginations, people check them out on Instagram and forward them to their friends.

Some businesses have used Instagram to launch new products. Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t need a celebrity holding a pint of ice cream. They just need a faceless model holding a new flavor and if the brand is strong enough, people will flock to Instagram (and stores) to see the product for themselves. If people like it enough, they will then forward it to others. Or a company can do the big dog and pony show, but rather than make a big deal out of it on the web or in front of television cameras, use Instagram to tell the story. Or better yet use Instagram Carousel.

What Should You Include or Not Include

If you’re just starting out on Instagram for your business, don’t forget to enable notifications so you can find out when someone decides to follow you. This allows you to track your success, or it can tell you that you need to make changes and improvements.

You should also use Instagram to link and share access to other media accounts. Allowing a view across different networks just makes it easier for people to notice you and decide that you and/or your product is worthwhile. When you post something on Instagram then you should use hashtags. Hashtags help users find similar topics that interest them. In this case, hopefully your business will be that topic.

Summary for Instagram as a Business Tool

  • There are 300 million active users on Instagram,
  • Instagram users are 120 times more engaged than Twitter users,
  • Instagram allows users to offer fresh content practically anytime they want,
  • Interactions with potential and past customers is simple to track,
  • Carousel makes content interesting to users.

Instagram can be more than a social network. It can be a tool to help grow your business, in a fun and creative way.