As digital marketing continues to evolve, do you sometimes feel that you’re being pulled in all different directions by modern marketers? Techniques and trends come and go and in order to stay on top, you have to change with them. Just the thought of it can be overwhelming when you have so many other things to worry about.
You’ll be relieved to know that there is one thing that hasn’t changed. It has been an effective marketing tool for small businesses for years and it only gets better. This makes it a worthwhile investment. What is it? Instagram.
Related:Free Instagram Marketing Guide
Consider just three of the many reasons why Instagram is such a powerful marketing tool for small businesses like yours.
When it comes to engagement, Instagram leaves other social networks in the dust. For example, although Facebook’s monthly active users number into the billions, its engagement rates are nowhere near that of Instagram. Want proof?
Facebook averages an engagement rate per post of 0.17% across all industries. On the other hand, Instagram averages 1.66% per post across all industries (Source: RivalIQ). What a difference, right?! This alone makes Instagram a must-have marketing tool. After all, the more people who engage with your business, the more potential for sales you develop. Who could turn that down?
You read that right…800 million people use Instagram monthly (Source: Statista). It wouldn’t be presumptuous to assume that a large portion of your audience makes up part of that statistic. But let’s break this down a little further.
Of the huge figure above, 500 million people use it daily (Source: Statista). That’s more than 50%. What does this mean for you? Each day, you have renewed opportunities to reach more and more of your target audience through Instagram marketing.
The entire premise of Instagram is to share stories primarily through images. This is in contrast to rival social networks such as Twitter, which is centered mainly on content. What advantage does this provide to you, though?
Think about it. Humans are visual creatures. We often think in images before formulating the words to describe what we’ve visualized. Additionally, what we see has an impact on how we think, feel and act. Hence, people are generally very receptive to images. They spark both emotion and action.
The above section covers why Instagram is so important for business, but exactly how does Instagram’s success translate to success for your business?
People who interact with you by liking, commenting and reposting are likely to continue doing this. They may even follow your account. Over time, after continually seeing your posts and enjoying positive interactions with you, they may become customers. In time, you will have a community of your own as people continue to demonstrate interest in your business.
Instagram provides an easy way to find micro-influencers, individuals who have followings of between 1,000 and 9,999 people and who appeal to an audience similar to yours. These influencers typically have highly-engaged audiences.
Partnering with them, then, can increase the reach and exposure of your business. How can you connect with such influential Instagrammers? Engage with them, become an active member of their communities, and build relationships with them. As you do so, you can catch their attention and earn their respect.
Ideally, you’ll want to photograph and/or design the images you post. Why? Doing so will allow you to interject some personality into your marketing and exercise greater control over the theme of your account. The type, color, and other elements of your images should be recognizable and seamlessly integrate with the rest of your branding.
Such branded images can be reused, saving you time, money, and resources. Need visuals for your websites, ads, other social media accounts, infographics and such? The longer you’ve been posting on Instagram, the more images you’ll have to choose from.
As your customers submit testimonials, images, videos, and other user-generated content to you, you gain several benefits. One, you always have fresh content to post, which eliminates the work and investment that’s necessary to create new content all the time.
Two, users who get their content shared will be elated. They’ll likely share their joy with their followers, which increased your reach. Too, they will be more likely to engage in the future.
Three, when those who are not yet customers see how much others love your products and services, they will be more likely to become customers themselves. Research has proven that people tend to trust the recommendations of others, especially when they can see tangible proof of satisfaction (e.g. photos and video testimonials).
In addition to being widely used, widely appealing, and easily beneficial to your business, another reason you should use Instagram is its easy and effective features. For example:
There are many creative things that can be done with the Instagram Stories feature. Some businesses share fun facts, give lighthearted pop quizzes, and allow followers to give their opinions in polls. Others use the advertising features and allow followers to see events in real-time. What will you use this feature for?
This is an excellent way to get your customers to interact with you and provide value to them at the same time. What are some of the most common questions you get about your business in particular or your industry? Why not hold a series of live sessions to answer such questions?
Also, you could teach something of value to your audience, make an exciting announcement, or give a sneak peek or behind-the-scenes view of your business.
Live streaming is one of our 2018 marketing must dos, so why not use Instagram to put it into practice?
Ads can help you to gain additional exposure and get on the radars of people who don’t yet know about your business. Your post can be linked directly to your shoppable Instagram page or your website product pages to drive sales.
The Collections feature will allow you to save and categorize posts without alerting the original poster. What kinds of things can you use this feature for? You could make note of the successful marketing techniques of similar businesses. Being able to reference them easily can help you to craft an even more successful style and strategy.
Also, you can store the user-generated content that you plan to use right in the app. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!
As a small business owner, reputation management is not always easy to keep up with. It can fall by the wayside to ensure that other “more important” things don’t get neglected. Yet, negative comments or even a lot of relevant, spam comments can hurt your image.
Comment block filters can take much of the work off your hands, while also keeping your page positive and productive.
Now you know not just why your business should be on Instagram, but also some specific features that you can use to market your business successfully there. So get to work on your strategy and then set it in motion. Once you do, you’ll be in line for the many benefits that this powerful social network has to offer!