More and more businesses are migrating to Instagram as another social media marketing tool. With 100 million users sharing photos, Instagram is quickly becoming a primary online marketing tool.
What is Instagram?
If you go to the Instagram website, the description says “Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.” Essentially, that is exactly what it is—another social media site that allows followers into their lives.
With Instagram, users create profiles and upload photos and videos of their families, friends, things they like, etc. They, then, follow each other. To identify pictures and posts in an effort to try to get others to follow profiles, hashtags (we used to call them number signs) are used with a description related to a specific topic. For example, if a user uploads a picture of the beach on the Outer Banks, they might add #outerbanks in the description. The photo is also uploaded to an Outer Banks profile along with thousands of other photos. Anyone interested in the Outer Banks searches for it on Instagram to see all the pictures that users have uploaded.
How Do Businesses Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool?
The explanation of how businesses use Instagram as a marketing tool is fairly simple. Instagram is an excellent way for any business to brand itself—especially those that rely on the public to buy their products and services. Brand marketing is heavily dependent on visual media as pictures appeal to emotion which pushes the buying process. In fact, a 2012 article on mashable.com stated that Facebook photo posts increase interaction with comments and likes by 39 percent when compared to text-only posts.
What Kind of Businesses Should Use Instagram?
Because of this, more and more businesses (national and local companies alike) are jumping on the bandwagon and adding Instagram to their online marketing arsenal. To put it in perspective, let’s look at Starbucks. Its profile has 5.6 million posts on #starbucks with 1.6 million followers. The posts are simply pictures of followers drinking Starbuck’s coffee drinks or pictures of coffee drinks at Starbuck’s. No matter what, the pictures conjure up that warm feeling of the first sip of a creamy mocha latte and suddenly more followers have a craving for a latte and BOOM—they are pulling through a Starbuck’s drive-through window.
Take it to a local level with an example of an Outer Banks business. The Outer Banks Boarding Company has 628 followers with 176 posts. This company uses Instagram to post pictures of new apparel, surf boards, and other merchandise as well as life on the Outer Banks. It, too, is appealing to the emotion and desire of wanting to be at the beach. On the flip side, followers post their own photos of their OBBC products and tag them with #outerbanksboardingcompany. One look at someone on a SUP Board or seeing a gorgeous sunrise is all it takes for most anyone to pine for the ocean.
What are the Benefits of Instagram?
There are several excellent benefits from adding it as an online marketing tool and the list keeps growing. But for businesses, here are the main ones to consider:
Key for Brand Marketing. It is visual and appeals to the emotions (we talked about this earlier).
Directs Users/Followers to a Website. It is crucial to make sure that any business using Instagram lists the website in the description. If the pictures are captivating and interesting, users will go to the website for more.
User Engagement is Stronger. Instagram is faster than other social media vehicles. It is driven solely by mobile users and there are no posts to read. An added benefit that ties to user engagement is that many users link their Instagram accounts with their Facebook accounts so that when a picture is uploaded, it automatically loads to Facebook, too, where the attached hashtags are seen and ultimately clicked to get more.
Free Advertising. A free profile is created and maintained. That is it. It must be frequently updated but the entire thing is FREE.
We Covered the Basics
Instagram can help many business categories with their online marketing strategies. With this, we covered the basics. There is a lot more out there to learn and more ways to market with Instagram.
By subscribing to our blog, we provide our clients and other businesses with helpful information to navigate the social media marketing maze. It gets a little squirrel-ly at times but all in all, it is fascinating and a great way to really quantify marketing—television and radio advertising would love to have this advantage!
Need help getting started with Instagram? The social media experts at Paveya can help you connect with potential customers, call us at 855-372-8392.
We look forward to helping our customers CREATE leads, CONNECT with customers, and GROW their business.