Instagram has swept mass media and has completely revolutionized marketing. Scarcely six years old, today, with 500 million active users and 70 million photos posted per day, Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms out there. Instagram can be an incredible platform for showcasing your business and your products, and with the right approach, it can generate a great return.
However, Instagram is not for everyone. Some companies are better suited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms. It’s important to understand both the uses and users of Instagram and your business’s unique goals in order to determine whether Instagram is the right platform for you. For your convenience, we’ve broken down everything you need to know right here!
What You Need to Know
Instagram is a mobile platform – It is key that you understand what Instagram is and how it works. The most important thing to note about Instagram, and what distinguishes it from the rest, is that it is an exclusively mobile platform. While some features of the platform can be accessed via desktop, desktop capabilities are limited. You may be able to post to Instagram on your desktop—using a third party platform—but you cannot schedule posts the same way you can schedule posts for other platforms. Because of Instagram’s own rules, third party scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Sprout, and other popular options, cannot post directly to Instagram on your behalf. Therefore, scheduling for Instagram takes place in the form of push notifications, which you must manually publish to Instagram from your mobile. Unless you have an employee specifically tasked with managing social, this process can become rather cumbersome.
Most users are young – Instagram is often thought of as a millennial platform, and little wonder, when over 75% of Instagram users are under the age of 34. Ask yourself: does your target audience fall within this category? Is your marketplace mobile? Are on-the-go, younger, more socially active users the consumers you think will buy your product? If your target audience is not active on Instagram, marketing on there may represent more of a time and money sink than anything else.
Most users are from outside of the U.S. – While there are many Americans on Instagram, 70% of Instagram users come from outside the U.S. If you are looking for a wide-reaching, international platform, then, Instagram may be a good option. But even if your market is entirely local, don’t cut out Instagram just yet. Instagram’s popularity in the U.S. is growing on a daily basis, and market analysts predict that by 2019, Instagram’s American audience will reach 111.6 million users, representing more than one third of the American population, and 1 in 4 Internet users.
Instagram ads are a moneymaker – Though Instagram advertising has only been available for a few years, it is gaining popularity. When Instagram was purchased by Facebook, its advertising and targeting modules were seriously upgraded. Thanks to extensive data collection Instagram’s advertising platform is almost as customizable and targeted as Facebook’s. Approximately $600 million was generated in Instagram ads in 2015, and Instagram mobile ad revenue is pegged to reach over $2.8 billion by 2017.
Instagram is a visual platform – This is absolutely KEY to remember. Instagram is a visual platform, revolving entirely around photos and videos. This makes it a very aesthetically oriented and more intimate feeling social network, oriented more towards the creative industries. This is why certain types of brands do better on Instagram. In fact, perhaps more than any other platform, Instagram is particularly attuned to several industries. Fitness, health, fashion and related industries are the most popular, raking in hundreds of thousands of likes and shares.
Is Your Company Right for Instagram?
You have to honestly assess your business and your industry to determine if it would do well on Instagram. Can you advertise your company in a visually compelling way? An accounting company, for example, would have a much harder time producing interesting content than, say, a hair salon or a fashion label. If your business is not in a creative field, will you able to be clever enough with content that you can create a viable Instagram presence? Don’t forget the visual aspect of Instagram as well. Low-quality photos, whether low-resolution or not interesting enough, will not get you any traction, and can even detract from the way your brand is perceived. Creating compelling imagery for Instagram may require certain tools—a DSLR camera, someone with ideas and a creative eye, and so on. Sit down and determine what tools and resources you will need to successfully manage an Instagram account before you open an Instagram account. Remember: quality always trumps quantity on this platform.