I've been advocating the use of Instagram for a while now and I keep getting asked the same question: Why should we be using Instagram? Since I think I'm starting to sound like someone hit "replay" every time I answer that question, I thought I should write a post about it.
For some people and businesses, Instagram may not be the most advantageous platform. And if you only have time to manage a couple social media sites, you may not be able to justify adding another one. And that's ok. Instagram may not be for you right now. But, I still recommend you read this post and consider the benefits of using this site. It may be something you want to join in the future.
So, here are my ten reasons for why you should be using Instagram.
It's Not Just the Shiny New Toy
It seems like there's always a new shiny toy on the horizon. Another platform that is hyped up to be the next big thing. Well, Instagram isn't new anymore. Instagram launched publicly in October 2010 and has steadily grown in membership since then. This platform is tried and tested. It's getting bigger and better and if growth is any indication, it will be around for a long time to come.
It's Where the "Kids" Are
Of course there are plenty of platforms that the "kids" (the younger, millennial generation) frequent. But many of them use Instagram. Why? Because their parents and grandparents aren't on there like they are on Facebook. And guess where the kids used to be? Facebook. It's an evolution. The younger generations find the sites and make them popular. Slowly, everyone else catches on and they become mainstream for other generations as well. Instagram will likely be (it really is already starting to be) the new popular platform.
It's All About Photos
Why write a long-winded post when you can post a picture? Rather than respond to the question "what are you doing?", why not post a picture of exactly what you're doing? Isn't that so much easier and more informative? Pictures convey so much more to the audience. They convey emotions, ideas, sentiments, thoughts, and reality. These are things that you lose through text. Photos bring your audience into your world so intimately that they actually start to believe they are a part of it.
You can also think about photos purely from an interaction standpoint. Think about your Facebook feed. Which posts do you tend to stop and look at more closely? Those with text or those with photos? I know I am all about the photos. Most of the time, I skim text but I stop and look at photos. So if your entire feed is photos, you are capitalizing on this phenomenon of photo domination.
Show Your Personality
People love to connect with people. Photos are such a great way to portray who you are as a person, or who the people are behind your brand. Spontaneous photos of your employees or personal photos or your life are a strong way to connect with your audience. Is your brand young and funky? Or is it more refined and sophisticated? Either way, your photos can portray this personality quicker and more effectively than any text post ever could.
It's (Unintentionally) Marketer Friendly
I don't think the heads behind Instagram planned to make their services and features cater towards marketers. But they did. It's almost the opposite of Facebook when you think about how easy it is to get in front of your audience. First of all, there's no Edgerank. Yes, you actually see every photo of every person you follow (assuming you scroll down far enough or check often enough). So, as a brand, there is no need to worry about which posts will get the most views. They all show up 100% in your audience's feeds.
The launch of the new video functions is also extremely marketer friendly because now, not only can you connect with photos, but you can actually talk to your audience! Or you can show actual footage of your operations. And the best part about it is that the videos play automatically in the feed! Your audience will instantly see your video. For more of my thoughts on how important this is to you, read my previous post about the new video features.
Ads Are On the Horizon
While Instagram is still free and more or less user focused, this will inevitably change in the near future. There is plenty of talk within the social media world about Instagram offering ads. I'm assuming this feature will work much like Facebook's or Twitter's promoted posts. Whether the post would appear at the top of the feed or within the feed I'm sure is up for discussion. But this option will be available in the future. And I can guarantee you that tons of businesses will be jumping on the Instagram bandwagon when this happens. However, if you are already active on the site and have a strong community of followers, you won't need to worry about the ads nearly as much. You'll already have the market share of your audience's attention.
Track Your Analytics
One of the reasons many people shy away from Instagram for business is that they feel they can't track their activity. While there is no feature within Instagram to do this, there is a site that will do it for you. I am seriously in love with this site and the information it provides. Do a search for Statigram and you'll find the site that does everything for you! I'm not going to go into much detail here as I will have a future post breaking down the features of this site. But trust me, if you use Instagram for business, bookmark this site to track your data.
Drive Traffic to Your Site
Yes, believe it or not, you can actually drive traffic to your site from Instagram. It may not be as easy as Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Google+, or even Facebook for that matter, but it can be done. The advantage those other sites have is that you can post links to your site right in your comments. On Instagram, you can post a link to your site in the comments but it doesn't post as a hyperlink. Unfortunately, this does make it more difficult - and I hope Instagram changes this in the future.
However, you can post your website link in your bio. I recommend you choose this link carefully since it's the only one you can advertise. Choose the page you most commonly want to direct people to. Then, what I recommend is advertising in your post comments that people visit your website (for more information, to view a blog post, to see more photos, to learn more about a product, etc.) and let them know that the link to your site is in your bio. It is an extra step they have to take, but it works. I know because I have seen results of driving traffic to my blog from Instagram.
It's For All Types of Businesses
Many people often assume that photos work best for product based businesses. But this isn't necessarily true. Even if your business is B2B, there are still plenty of opportunities to share photos. And your photos don't just have to be about "work". Include photos of your team working, photos of travel destinations when meeting with clients, photos of your office, photos of projects you're working on, photos of the flowers outside your office. The options really are limitless on Instagram. Have fun with it and make your photos a reflection of that!
It's Just Plain Fun!
So, even if none of the above reasons were enough to justify joining Instagram, I would recommend it just because it's fun. It's honestly one of most fun sites I use. It's not necessarily the most educational (I turn to Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn for great content), but sometimes you just want to have fun on social media. For me, this is that site. Now, granted, I love taking photos and I love photography so I might get more out of this site than people who don't take photos. But even then, I know a number of people who, even though they don't post a lot of photos, say that Instagram is one of their favorite sites.
I sincerely hope that this inspires you to come on over and join Instagram. It's a great site, and even if you only use it for your personal use, I highly recommend you get used to the platform. You will be seeing more of it in the future!
If you are on Instagram, what are the reasons you love the site? Please leave a comment below with why you enjoy using the site.
I hope you'll join me on Instagram. I look forward to connecting with you! Please find me at jennherman31.