When you think of social marketing, two networks come to mind: Facebook and Twitter.
And that’s no surprise, but it’s not the whole story.
One of the most promising networks today, Instagram, is really picking up.
So, today, let’s talk about Instagram and why you should be using it.
(We’re going to break down MDG Advertising’s recent infographic to make our case.)
Let’s face it – numbers talk.
And 400 million active monthly users, along with 80 million photo shares and 2.5 billion likes a day, really says something.
You simply have to be where your customers are. And increasingly, whatever your market is, that place is Instagram.
It’s no longer a niche social network. It’s a major one. And that means, as a matter of good marketing policy, you really have to consider it. If you’re on Twitter, you should be on Instagram too.
As you know, the world is a much smaller place now. It’s more connected, more easily accessible.
And believe me, whatever you’re selling, there are people in another country that are probably interested in buying it.
The trouble is, of course, reaching them. Billboards don’t work. TV commercials don’t either. When you’re marketing to a global audience, you need to do it on a global platform.
And social networks are just the thing. But, of course, some are more international than others. If you do a lot of business outside the U.S., you’re really going to like Instagram – 3 out of every 4 users on the popular photo-sharing app live somewhere else. But even if you’re based in the states, and sell mostly there too, Instagram a presents a wonderful opportunity to expand.
Start with a little market research. Try searching for tags related to your brand, competitors, or industry, and pay attention to where in the world they pop up the most. Those are your opportunities.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that most social media users are young, but Instagram’s user base is especially so. More than half of them are under 30, and quite a few are still in their teens, which makes the network attractive to brands marketing to those demographics.
That said, it also means Instagram has a lot of staying power.
As time passes and those tweens, teens, and twentysomethings grow up, many will keep using Instagram. Having grown up with it, they’ll be partial to the service — even in a industry as fast-paced as social media.
Moreover, this trend also puts Instagram in the tastemaker category. It’s just harder to get forty- and fifty-somethings to set the tone for a social network the same way spritely college-aged users can, before all the demands of life set in.
This part is important.
While reach and impressions are critical – I’m not taking anything away from that – you ultimately want those users to interact with you. Your want likes, comments, and shares. You want engagement.
And right now, it’s not even close. Instagram gets dramatically more engagement than Facebook and Twitter – by an order of magnitude.
Take a random Instagram post. Generally speaking, it’ll have nearly 60 times more organic engagement than a Facebook post, and 120 times more than a tweet. Those numbers aren’t ambiguous.
If you want engagement – if showing high numbers in that category is something you’re serious about – you have to at least give Instagram a try.
Of course, we have to talk about ads too.
You’ve probably heard – paid ads can be a very good investment. There’s just only so much organic traffic to go around.
And Instagram has been working on its paid offerings for a while. But now, they’re actually worth talking about. New formats – like in-feed video ads – give you a tactical edge when you’re competing for your prospect’s attention. And clever targeting options – based on Facebook data, no less – make sure you’re reaching the right ones.
It’s no mystery why Instagram paid advertising is quickly becoming a billion dollar industry.
If you stay on top of technology, social media, and content trends – and frankly, if you’re reading this blog, you’re ahead of most! – then you already know what’s coming.
And Instagram is positioned to ride the crest of these waves. It’s already mobile-optimized – as a mobile app, it has to be! – and its upcoming Instagram Direct will make it a true contender in the burgeoning mobile messenging space. A space that is growing.
While it might not be the next WhatsApp, WeChat, or SnapChat, it could be. And getting started on Instagram now will give you the foundation to make the most of Instagram Direct when it launches.
Remember: things move fast in our industry. Make sure you’re ready to go when the race starts.
We know you’re short on time. We all are. And if you’re anything like most of us, you’re probably struggling to manage your Facebook and Twitter pages, let alone plan for a new platform like Instagram.
I hear you.
The thing is, there’s an easier way. It doesn’t have to be so manual.
Try a social CRM.
Respond to all your comments in a single place and keep your eye on what’s important with a customizable dashboard. If you’re a small business – like so many of us are – think about trying a platform designed for your needs, like Agorapulse.
But whatever you do, think about Instagram. It wasn’t very long ago that many people wrote it off as niche and kitschy, but it’s come a long way. And it can do really great things for your brand.
Take a look at the full infographic below and let us know what you think.
Do you use Instagram for marketing already? Do you sync your Instagram content with Facebook and Twitter? Tell us in a comment below!