You just figured out how to tweet. You spend your mornings responding to comments on Facebook. Your LinkedIn page is updated with a project you finished yesterday. You’re good, right? Not quite—you forgot about Instagram.
Instagram is visually based (photos and videos), includes the discoverability and follower aspect like Twitter, and is a MUST for your small business social media strategy in today’s digital world. While getting the hang of its unique style and format can require developing some new editorial strategies, many small businesses are finding it indispensable.
Here are 7 reasons to be on Instagram now:
1. It’s captured the “trend market.” Instagram has become one of the most-used social media platforms, especially amongst 18-24 and 25-29-year-olds. It’s quick and easy, visual, and smartphone based, so it’s second nature for them to check often. If your brand is in any way relevant to this demographic, Instagram is where to find them.
2. It’s new enough to be cutting edge, but it’s been around long enough to be tested. Started in 2010, Instagram has proven its staying power, and it’s consistent growth rate indicates it will continue being a major player in the future. Making this the year that it becomes a component of your social media strategy is likely to reap benefits for some time to come.
3. More people are using it to interact with brands. 66% of people use Instagram so they can interact with brands, and a whopping 90% of people on Instagram follow a business. Although it continues to be a place to share photos amongst friends, it has clearly become a go-to place for customers to follow the brands they love as well.
4. It’s quick and easy. That picture you snapped suffices for 1000 words of copy. And if you do choose to add some words, you won’t have to spend hours trying to cram your message into Twitter’s 280-character limit.
5. Instantly warm up your brand. The personal tone and connection formed by sharing pictures of your product, service, and employees in action takes people behind the scenes and builds a sense of closeness and authenticity to your brand. This makes Millennials more inclined to open their wallets to you.
6. More engagement. While fewer people are on Instagram vs. on Facebook, the engagement rate (“liking” or commenting) is over 17x higher on Instagram. You’re building a relationship, not just trying to game the system to reach eyeballs.
7. Hashtags extend your reach. Similar to Twitter, hashtags help you quickly target an interested audience—which extends the reach of your posts far beyond your followers. While only your followers will see your posts in their news feed, anyone who searches for a hashtag you’ve tagged your photo with will see it—and be exposed to your brand—in their results (assuming your posts are public).
Given its visual platform, some businesses lend themselves more directly to Instagram editorial ease. If you make a product or perform a service that can be captured visually, Instagram will be easy to adapt to. Artists, wedding planners, shop owners… even a plumber can find a way to market visually! If you consult, or sell ideas, Instagram’s visual nature can be more challenging to harness for marketing, but it’s still a great place to showcase your brand for customers.