Should your business be using Instagram as a marketing tool?
The short answer is ‘yes’, most definitely. In today’s high-tech world it’s important to keep ahead of what’s new and ‘trending’ in the on-line business world. Online Marketing is big business and if you don’t already have an Instagram account for your business, there are so many reasons why you should. We particularly recommend it for businesses who want to reach a young customer demographic and those with a visual product or service, or a company owner who is happy to be photographed and be the face of the business.
As we’re being asked by more and more clients to train them and handle their social media accounts, we wanted to give you a quick overview of Instagram as a platform, why it works well for businesses in general and how it can work well for your company.
An Introduction to Instagram
Instagram was founded in 2010 and, according to statistics, it has more than 1 billion monthly active users. More than 500 million users daily use Instagram Stories and more than 25 million businesses are using Instagram to boost their visibility. There are more than 100 million photos and videos uploaded on the platform each day and more than 50 billion photos have been uploaded to Instagram since it launched. As you can see, this is a very active and fast growing platform. If you’re not there, you risk getting left behind by your competitors.
Instagram is the sixth most popular social media platform. Facebook is by far the biggest, with nearly 2.38 billion monthly active users, YouTube comes close behind with 2 billion active monthly users, followed by the messaging media – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
However, Instagram is the 2nd most engaged network after Facebook and is growing fast. It can generate over 4 times more interactions compared to Facebook and users spend an average of 53 minutes per day on Instagram, nearly the same amount as Facebook (58 minutes per day). Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest are a long way behind with around 300 million active monthly users.
Globally, around 52% of Instagram users are female and 42% are male. 32% of all Internet users are on Instagram and 6 in 10 online adults have Instagram accounts. 31% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 24, 32% of users between the ages of 25 and 34 use Instagram and a whopping 72% of teens use Instagram.
Here in Spain it’s a similar picture with 31.5% of all Spaniards using Instagram, that equates to around 14.64 million Instagram users (September 2018). The biggest users are 25-34 years old (29.4%), however 18-24 and 35-44 are also strong age groups for the platform.
Firstly, choose a name and username. An Instagram username is limited to 30 characters. Choose something that represents your brand, is recognizable, and, if possible, distinguishes what you do. Your username might be simply your business name or an adapted version of your business name, or you might also include a word or two that describes your business industry or niche to help with search and clarity.
Your profile will perform better in searches and look more professional if the name and username are different. This provides double the opportunity for keywords, so it’s worth taking the time to think carefully about this.
Unlike your username, which is one word, your name should be in proper sentence structure with capital letters and spacing. Your name (like your username) is limited to 30 characters, including spaces.
Next step is to write a bio. Your Instagram bio is limited to a maximum of 150 characters and very important, as the search engines can see it and rank it accordingly in the main searches. You should include your main keywords and can even include hashtags and feature related accounts too.
Last but not least you need to plan your content. Take some time to put together a good content plan, decide what you want to post about, how often and what you want to achieve. By planning and scheduling your posts, you can ensure regular content and that it is in line with your marketing objectives, rather than simply knee jerk and produce posts every now and again.
Instagram for your Business
It is estimated that more than 25 million business profiles already exist and Instagram has more than 2 million businesses advertising each month. More than 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile a day, 83% say they discovered new products and services on Instagram and 50% of users follow at least one business. Many buyers are looking for inspiration and researching products on Instagram before making a purchasing decision.
Business profiles have many more features than personal profiles including phone number and address and access to Instagram analytics to help you understand what your users like the most.
The key to a successful business Instagram account is to build a large on-line following by increasing engagement. Tuesday to Friday 9am to 6pm is the time to post which generates high engagement consistently, but you can experiment and use analytics to see when your followers are the most active and engaged.
Here are some other ways you can maximise engagement –
- Post 1-3 times a day
- Ask questions within a post
- Use Hashtags
What works on Instagram?
Take time to get your content right. You need great pictures which are properly sized and visually engaging, with a strong brand identity. The ratio should be 1:1 and optimum image size is 1080px x 1080px.
Instagram videos get over 2 times more engagement than Instagram photos, so integrate video into your content plan.
Personal posts with faces and a location are much more popular and receive much more engagement than those without.
Remember, this is a social network, so people want you to tell stories rather than always directly sell. You want to create a loyal tribe of engaged users who are happy to like, comment and share your content and become your online advocate on this platform, in the same way that you develop loyal customers and supporters on Facebook and in person.
There is no doubt that online marketing is necessary for businesses in this day and age and Instagram is a growing platform which will only get bigger as millennials age and new users come on board.
If you would like marketing training we provide workshops about social media and traditional marketing all along the Costa del Sol, from Malaga to Gibraltar and can help you harness the power of these important tools. Alternatively, we can manage your social media and online marketing for you and make sure these profiles are reflecting your brand in the best possible way.
Please contact us to find out how we can help you.