Instagram, a social photo-sharing app, launched in 2010, has surpassed its much older competitor, Twitter, as far as the number of users is concerned. Co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom has been quoted saying, “Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day…” So, if you were feeling worried about turning into a like-aholic, consider the fact that Instagram’s Like button gets tapped over 2.5 million times daily.
Most Instagrammers state that they feel compelled to check their phone whenever the app sends out a notification. According to them, there is something incredibly pleasing about scrolling through the photo feeds endlessly. Double-tapping the heart symbol when something particularly captivating comes up is in a way fulfilling. It is a guilty pleasure that nobody really minds indulging in, hence the popularity.
Instagram demographics to consider
Who is on Instagram, you ask? The real question is who is not? If you want your work, product, experiences, or brand to be seen by more people, Instagram is the place to be. To the unaware, Instagram may look like the hang-out zone of teenagers, populated by globetrotters or a platform that chess-loving retired elders frequent. Closer consideration would reveal that Instagram followers cover both high school students to retired individuals and everyone in between. While the demographics do vary, it is noteworthy that the lean is towards a younger audience. As per reports, most Instagrammers are between 18 to 34 years of age.
With social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat becoming more popular, Instagram has also upped its game. Statista, a noted statistics portal, reports, “As of that month [April 2017], the mainly mobile photo sharing network had reached 700 million monthly active users, up from 600 million in December 2016”.
What it means for marketers
If you are a marketing professional, the demographics alone would be enough to convince you about Instagram’s potential. It is not a platform that you can dismiss as another social media fad. In fact, besides the numbers, there are quite a few reasons why you must promote your business on this fast growing social media app.
Visual marketing: Most social media sites have made changes in both their user interface (UI) and their policies to increase the use of visual content. Visual content (pictures, videos, GIFs) capture people’s interest instantly and successfully hold it for a certain period of time. Information is much easier to understand when it is delivered through pictures, as compared to when read through texts. Moreover, Instagram helps you produce photos and videos that are sharable on other social media sites, and you can even have them embedded into your own website or blog.
Enhanced branding: Who does not love Instagram filters; right? This platform enables you to edit photos so that you can express the emotion behind the original image. You can use these filters to render ordinary photos more suitable for your brand’s image. For example, if you are advertising a vintage clothing line or a villa, you can add filters to add vignettes to highlight the object.
Clearer personality: Today’s consumers are mostly millennials, who are tech-savvy. They want to know more about the product they want to buy and the brand they want to be loyal to. Hence, most brands now connect with their target audience over social media channels to have personalized interactions with each consumer. Every brand has a story to tell, and a personality to maintain. No matter which industry you work in, chances are your audience wants to see and know more about you. Leverage the power of videos and images to give them exactly what they want.
User generated content: Instagram allows you to use the content that your audience has created. You can use hashtags, tags, and contests to encourage your consumers to submit photos and videos to you. User-generated content (UGC) earns more engagement than brand-promoted content.
Marketer-friendly: Instagram allows marketers to do influencer marketing. It means that you can leverage the popularity of individuals who have an influence over the target audience in your niche market by asking them to be a part of your brand’s campaign to increase followers for Instagram, sales, or engagement.
Trackable analytics: While Instagram’s own analytics features might not be just as ready as its competitors’ are, there are many analytics tools that you can use. These tools help you to find out when your audience is the most active, the best posting times, engagement rates, the number of followers you gained, your most popular posts and what not. You can make adjustments to your marketing strategies based on what’s working and what’s not.
Increased traffic: One of the primary purposes of being on a social media channel is to drive traffic to your own website, blog, etc. Note that on Instagram, you cannot hyperlink comments or captions. This platform allows you to include a link to your site in your bio, and you can change this link as many times as you want. You can use this link to direct traffic to your home page, your blog tab, a contest page, an opt-in form, or another page that you like.
Quick tips for smart marketing
Taking your brand to Instagram can increase your reach significantly. That is why you should take a look at some easy tips to get the best of this awesome platform.
Instagram has a Business Blog. It provides you with quick tips, recommendations, examples, trends, etc. Acquaint yourself with the channel’s guidelines to gain the maximum spotlight.
Maintain a healthy balance of business and fun images to keep your followers hooked and to steer clear of monotony.
Post photos of your employees, celebrations in the office, and behind-the-scene footages to connect with your audience.
Cultivate a following by connecting your Instagram handle with your blog/Facebook account. Follow others and like their posts to get follow back.
Do hashtag research regularly to stay relevant. Use different hashtags on each post. Keep a tab on how many hashtags you are using in one post.
Use Instagram’s 15-second, filter-enabled, editable video functionality to gain more traction.
Run photo contests to encourage your followers to engage with the brand more.
Reward your followers once in awhile to show that you care for them too.
The factors and tips mentioned above should get you a good start on the platform. So, dig out your phone and start snapping pictures. Instagram offers you ample chances to create exciting engagement with your audience; so grab them! And remember to have fun!
Maria Jones is a social media marketer with more than six years of experience. Her articles on social media trends and marketing tips are popular in digital marketing arena.