Why an Instagram presence is a must for any small business
The latest Instagram statistics reveal that the interactive photo sharing application has approximately 700 million monthly active users uploading 95 million photos each day. According to the most recent Advertising Agency Survey by STRATA, 53% of clients plan to use Instagram for social media advertising campaigns while 37% choose Twitter. Facebook remains the dominant social media player with 95% of the agencies polled reporting that they remain interested in the platform.
While there are many key differences between the major social media platforms, (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat) they are all distinct, beneficial tools that can be utilized properly to make a more prominent name for small businesses. This blog post focuses on the advantages found within Instagram and how the platform can be used as a complimentary marketing tool for your current efforts.
The Surpass of Stories
In 2013, Snapchat launched the “My Story” feature, which allows users to openly broadcast a timeline of photos and videos to their account. The personalized collections of media appear immediately on your friends list as soon as they are released, which can become a bit overwhelming and congest a user’s feed if they have a wide-range of contacts.
In the summer of 2016, Instagram decided to incorporate a “My Story” component to the application. When someone opens Instagram, the stories appear in small circular images aligned at the top of the feed, allowing users to search and navigate without an overflow of media getting in their way.
Facebook, who owns Instagram, revealed that 200 million users are partaking in Instagram stories every day, in comparison to 160 million Snapchat users. Small businesses can benefit by posting their own photos and videos of products, text updates, and hyperlinks to their company’s “My Story.” There are also more measurable benefits of Instagram stories in comparison to Snapchat, as impressions and reaches are saved and can be evaluated over time.
Launch of the Live Feed
An alternative to posting a “My Story” to Instagram, businesses can also initiate a live screening from their device for users to view through the platform. The company account could broadcast a live event, an exclusive Q&A, or a hands-on display of a new product. By using both Instagram and other forms of social media, they can inform their target audience about the upcoming live feed.
This is an essential interactive feature because viewers of live feeds can comment and ask questions directly during the filming. This gives businesses the opportunity to engage with their audience, as viewers have the advantage of participating in a live screening. It’s like the audience is practically present through the screen of their mobile device.
Search and Succeed
On Instagram, there is a search tab which launches photos pertaining to user interests. The categories appear as “Picked For You” and can generate interest in new subjects or ideas through a variety of photos and videos from across the globe that the user might not have otherwise been exposed to. Similarly, live feeds and “My Stories” from individuals who are not your direct contacts, but may provoke curiosity, appear as well. If a business profile posts a high number of photos and videos about their product or service, users who are interested in your offerings may see these posts on their “Picked for You” tab.
Additionally, if an Instagram user adds a location to one of their posts, there is a “Places” tab on the search bar. The media attributed to the location can be found when individuals are searching within a geographic area. Users can also click on the location attached to the post and access a map with a pinpoint of the site. This feature can be implemented to benefit the reputation and awareness for businesses while building a stronger organized presence on the platform.
Instagram is also unique because it not only incorporates Snapchat features into its platform, but elements from Twitter as well. Instagram users can increase audience interaction by adding hashtags of key focus words into the captions of photos, videos, stories, etc. On the search bar, individuals can enter hashtag phrases and discover a substantial amount of related media. By including various hashtags, small businesses can gain a greater amount of connections.
Instagram presents companies of all sizes with the opportunity to make distinct professional profiles that include a variety of benefits for companies. The platform offers an all-in-one social network that includes stories, direct messaging, search opportunities, and more. With an estimated 700 million current users, the dominant smartphone application should not be overlooked as a reliable marketing platform.
Alexis Ahern authors the column “Lexi’s Lexicon” and is an Account Executive for Milldam Public Relations.