Using Instagram for Business
In the five years since its launch as a free mobile app, Instagram has ballooned in popularity with great advances in the use of Instagram for business. 300 million people used Instagram as of this time last year. In 2013 alone, it grew in value by 23%. The same year it introduced sponsored post advertising in the US, with big name brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and General Electric quick to seize the opportunity. The function was rolled out in the UK the following year. With a total of 30 billion photos having been shared through Instagram, the opportunities for marketing are obvious, especially for products and services which rely heavily on their visual aspects. Holidays, for example, or interior design and decorating.
According to a study by Socialbakers, Instagram’s “post engagement rate” (a measure of activity on any given internet page, taking into account the amount of people who have seen it as well as the amount who have directly interacted with it) is 3.31%. With Twitter only coming it at 0.07%. It’s fairly obvious that there is plenty of potential here.
Of course, there is as always, slightly more to it than that. “Interaction” can cover many things, not all of them profitable. But if you know what you’re doing, it’s not hard to make Instagram work for you. Key to this strategy is the use of hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram work in much the same way as they do on Twitter, and Instagram will allow you to incorporate up to thirty of them in your post. Research by Trackmaven shows that, despite conventional wisdom having been to restrict hashtags to one or two, the level of interaction rockets for posts using eleven or more. So it’s vital not to underestimate their importance – and remember, each hashtag, used wisely, is another hook to draw in an audience for your product at no extra charge. A mixture of popular hashtags and more specific ones will help you reach a wider audience while at the same time narrowing that pool down to your customer base – essentially, you can cast your net wide and still only catch the particular fish you are aiming for.
With the addition of 15-second video clips, Instagram is ideal for when you want your customers to actually see what it is you’re selling. By smart use of hashtags and the incorporation of video clips, you too can harness the power of Instagram for business to maximise your marketing reach.
Advertising with Social Media
When the phrase “Web 2.0” started appearing around the turn of the millennium, few people other than hardcore tech types took much notice. But fast-forward to 2015, and it’s hard to remember a time when the web wasn’t like it is today, with our electronic lives dominated by social media, user-generated content and online app development.
The entire focus of the internet has shifted from being a world where the vast majority of us were silent observers of provided content to one where we are all participants in the biggest collaborative project in human history. Where we’re invited to participate through commenting, sharing and creating our own content. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit constitute an enormous conversation in which we are all taking part. Which means, in short, that there will always be someone ready to listen to what you have to say.
According to studies, a full 50% of 18-24 year olds visit Facebook first thing when they wake up. Combined with a statistic from the Social Media Examiner, that 83% of business reported that social media was important, if not critical, to their business, this all adds up to a golden opportunity for marketing.
The key difference today is that you no longer have to reach all your audience individually – if you can reach and impress some of them, then they will do the rest of the work for you, by passing on your campaign to their social network, who will then do the same with theirs, and so on. The speed at which gossip can travel through a community has been recognised for thousands of years – today’s social networks increase this speed exponentially, and on a previously unimaginable scale.
If you can get people talking about your product, then it’s a short jump to going viral.
But it’s not just Facebook, of course. Pinterest recently added “rich pins”, which are paid-for pieces of content carrying more information and ideal for advertising, while Twitter has been supporting promoted tweets since 2010. People all around the world are constantly talking to one another. If you can get them talking about you, then you have access to the biggest advertising audience ever seen.
With nearly 2.1 billion people having accounts for various social platforms, the social media revolution shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon.