Did you know that Instagram it is the fastest growing social network on the planet?
The photo sharing app has more than 75 million daily users.
That's a lot of potential customers for your business.
Instagram enables its users to take photos and videos to share not only to fellow Instagramers but on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.
While the number of monthly users falls short to that of the likes other social networks, such as Facebook which has more than 1 billion active users, it is Instagram’s percentage of engaged users that sets it above the rest.
An example of this comes from a study conducted by Forrester Research.
After posting the same image across the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of a number of popular consumer brands, the study found that Instagram had an engagement rate 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter.
While those results may shock you, it is the next sentence that will truly astound you.
It all comes down to how the networks are structured.
Instagram keeps things simple to avoid the user experiencing a sensory overload.
There are a number of features that rank Instagram above other social media networks, including:
The colour tones. Instagram's spare colour palette keeps things simple for the user’s eyes.
The number of buttons available. While this changes over time, as users become more familiar with the app, users are only given a few simple options of 'things to do' on the app'.
The home feed. The fact there is really only ever one full photo on the screen at a time presents the opportunity for the account holder to grab the follower’s attention to communicate their message more effectively.
MY BUSINESS ALREADY HAS A FACEBOOK PAGE, WHY SHOULD I GET INSTRAGRAM?
Instagram offers a powerful platform for businesses.
Yet right now we are hearing a massive misconception from businesses. That is, if my business doesn’t have a physical product to sell, then instagram isn’t for me.
The true power of Instagram lies in the ability of the account holder to connect with users.
A picture tells a thousand words. So what can a flow of images tell a user about your business?
Instagram allows you to use visuals to tell your brand story in a simple and sophisticated way, that keeps users interested.
(We expand on this in our article about visual storytelling, should you wish to read more.)
Hashtags are words, or groups of words, following a # symbol (such as #SmallBusiness and #DigitalStrategy) which help users find photos by grouping them with other photos using the same hashtag. They connect like-minded Instagram users to your content and can also be strategically used to increase the visibility of your posts.
Businesses can not only use existing hashtags but create a brand hashtag specific to your business. This can be a short phrase or even just the name of your business.
(UPDATE Feb 2016: We've been getting lots of questions on hashtags, so we've prepared this handy What Is A Hashtag guide for our clients and others!)
8 SIMPLE WAYS TO MEASURE YOUR INSTAGRAM SUCCESS
This is the most obvious metric for your business’s Instagram account. The number of likes on a post can reveal how much your followers enjoyed the content.
The account holder should monitor the posts that followers comment on - be it tagging another account user or simply offering their thoughts - the posts that attract the comments are the ones an account holder should aim to post more of.
The more an account holder posts on their Instagram account, the more followers they will steadily get. Recording your weekly following is a great way to monitor your followers to see if the numbers are rising or falling.
Instagram engagement can be measured by working out what percentage of followers engage with your post. This can be done by dividing the number of likes and comments by the number of followers.
Users can search for different Instagram hashtags, both industry related and exact-match. These can reveal a lot about what users are saying about your business online.
At Big Blue Digital, we use a tool called Iconosquare which helps us track the top performing images based on the number of comments and likes. It is important when planning your photos to create a style which ties in with your business’s brand strategy for all marketing content.
Every audience is different and you must think about who you are targeting in your posts. What is your target audience doing? Are they at work? Lunch break? At home? Do they use their phone for work? These, and many more factors must be considered.
Do your followers on Instagram buy your product or service? If you offer a product or service, make sure you are always pushing it in your posts - link to your sales page through your bio, and tell all your followers every time you post, how to buy what you’re offering. Do keep your offer super-simple!
How we use Instagram
We like to think that we treat ourselves like we would our best client - and although sometimes we get the least attention of the two, the principles are the same!
We use Instagram to help communicate our brand and culture. For us, we believe we are less likely to find our new customers there (although if we were a retail store, or targetting individual entrepreneurs or small business owners that wouldn't be the case) and so Instagram for us is our proof. It's a visualisation of exactly who we are, what we do and why we should be trusted.
At Big Blue Digital, we see the importance of measuring success to record and report on numbers that are important to your business goals.
We tend to view platforms like Instagram not so much as a social media, but a social economy - it’s a new marketplace and it's always open.
We have also achieved this for several of our clients, if you want have a look at some of our work. In particular, we used Instagram to build a stronger social media presence for Uncle Pete's Toys, at the initial launch of their eCommerce store.
Contact us start your journey now.