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instagram for business

How To Leverage Instagram’s Rising Popularity For Your Business

Young, old; rich, poor; English speaking, non-English speaking. People are all over social networks.

They spend copious amounts of time being “social.” When at home, at the beach, on the bus, on vacation or at work, people are constantly connected.

One visual social media app is has been taking off like a rocket, and you need to know about it.

Instagram has steadily risen in popularity amongst individual users and advertisers – business owners and marketing managers.

It’s been a year since Instagram opened itself up to advertising and the app recently announced it had reached 500,000 business accounts which actively buy ads on the platform.

What You Probably Know About Instagram

But here’s what you might not know…

As of February 2016, Instagram had 200,000 active advertisers.

This was more than Twitter’s last announced total of advertisers of 130,000 back in the fourth quarter of 2015. So in comparison, this new total is enormous.

Before we delve into what this might mean for all you business owners and marketing managers out there, let’s just go through what the possibilities are for advertisers.

I mean, after all, you’re curious about this app because you’re a business that wants to reach new customers or build brand awareness, right? Keep reading.

Instagram Accounts For Business

In July, Instagram rolled out business-specific accounts for businesses to sign up with or convert to for the purpose of in-app advertising.

These accounts also allow advertisers to examine the organic reach of their posts. Since then, 1.5 million businesses have signed up as or converted to business accounts.

As for Instagram users for businesses to connect with – well, there are a growing number of them. In fact, according to Instagram as of June 2016, it had reached 500 million users.

Enhanced Advertising Capabilities On Instagram

Internally, Instagram credits its success to its enhanced advertising capabilities, a lot of which are eerily similar to those of its parent company, Facebook.

Businesses on Instagram can use the self-serve ad system to produce ads without having to call an Instagram sales rep.

Brands can also use third-party apps to automate ads and can utilize a multi-photo carousel for advertising.

In August 2016, Instagram launched “ Instagram Stories”, it’s version of Snapchat in a very bold move. The app has also fairly recently made video a priority and allows brands to run video ads.

What This Means For Businesses Like Yours

It’s a sign that you should consider Instagram as part of your social media marketing mix. But it’s not for everyone. It could be tough for a B2B company unless you know that the decision-makers at companies you target are continually using Instagram.

So if your company markets to startup companies and you know decision-makers at these companies are young, intrepid entrepreneurs, give it a try.

It might not be for all B2C companies. If your ideal buyers are older in age, this might not be the marketing opportunity for you. In this instance, I’m thinking of companies that sell walk-in bathtubs, for example.

However, for numerous businesses out there, this could be your opportunity.

What You Need To Know Before Getting Your Business On Instagram

Consider these important factors:

  • This is a VISUAL app. End of story.
  • The people who use Instagram. Just like I mentioned above, you must know whether your ideal customers frequent Instagram or not. Otherwise, this will be a waste of your time and money. Know your buyer persona.
  • Know the user experience of the app. Due to Instagram’s fast-scrolling nature, it’s easy for users to go through several images in a few seconds. Which brings us to the next point.
  • What content gets them to pause. You better have great stuff on your Instagram account.
  • Your competitors. Are other companies in your space on Instagram? What do they post? Are they getting engagement from people?

Be Cautious When Using Instagram For Business

Remember that even before you engage in the advertising side of Instagram, it’s important to post great content. This blog post has been about getting on Instagram and leveraging its rising popularity – in the context of both its organic and paid fields.

Before advertising, make sure your account is stocked well in good content that your audience would be eager to engage with. It’ll make building your follower base much easier.

So To Summarize…

  • Know your buyer personas.
  • Inform yourself on whether they (the ideal buyers of what you offer) use Instagram or not.
  • Identify if you can create great content on Instagram that will make people eager to engage with it.

Keep in mind, we haven’t even addressed all the tactical items, like hashtags, tools to create your content, leveraging your competitors and so much more.

On the whole, Instagram has grown up very quickly in a short period of time. Much of this began when they sold their 13-person startup to Facebook in April 2012 for $1 billion. Needless to say, we’re all curious about what comes next for the mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing app.

Got a question? Leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.