It's not exactly a secret that I'm a "little" obsessed with Instagram and its power as a marketing vehicle. Whenever I'm invited to speak about Instagram marketing, one of the first things I do is explain to the audience why I love Instagram so much.
And more and more people want to understand how and why to use this platform. A recent study by Social Media Examiner found that 71% of marketers want to learn more about Instagram marketing. The same study also found that Instagram had the largest growth in adoption by marketers from 2016 to 2017 - jumping from 44% to 54% of marketers using the platform now in 2017. That 10% increase was larger than any other platform's growth in that same period.
So, in today's blog post, I want to summarize for you why Instagram is so awesome and why you should care about it too. It's not just because it's a popular platform, but for a variety of reasons that it's a very powerful tool, that I love it.
Here are five of those key reasons!
It's a Powerhouse
Ok, yes, Instagram is here to stay. It's a powerhouse in the world of social media, and with Facebook financially and otherwise behind the platform, it's not going anywhere anytime soon. The innovations and updates just keep coming and they aren't slowing down!
As of writing this post, Instagram has 700 million monthly active users. That technically puts it as the second largest social media platform, behind only Facebook. If you don't count YouTube as a social media site. If you do, well then, it's third. But either way, that officially makes Instagram a legit player and worth your consideration as a marketing platform.
And, for the record, it's not just the "youngins" who are on Instagram. While, yes, it is a preferred platform among those under 35, it's worth noting that 33% of all internet users (not just US, but globally) aged 30-49 use Instagram. In case you need that differently, that's one third of all people on the internet aged 30-49. For the 50-64 age bracket, 18% of them use Instagram. And, for the 65+ demographic, 8% of them use Instagram. (Source: Pew) That means that, believe it or not, your audience is actually on Instagram!
It's About a Community
I always tell this story, because it's true, and it drives home the reality of using Instagram to build your community. I literally have some of my best friends in the world, some of the best colleagues in the world, and the best mentors in the world - thanks to Instagram. 100% true story. I have met so many wonderful people through Instagram. Some I have met as a result of my Instagram presence (through speaking, blogging, etc.) BUT many of these amazing people I met on Instagram first. We built relationships that are so genuine and honest, it's kinda mind blowing.
But these are people I consider to be my dearest friends. People who I collaborate on projects with for clients. People who refer me business and I refer them business. People who have transformed my business. Oh, and new clients! All because of this one platform.
And if you ask around, plenty of people will tell you the same thing. Because Instagram is really all about a community.
It's about real interactions, getting to know other people in the same space, building relationships, and having conversations. It's not just a random like or drive-by comment. Well, ok, there are plenty of those too. But, when you find those people who are genuinely interested in connections, those opportunities to forge relationships are boundless.
Instagram tends to be one of the most active platforms for interactions. From likes, to comments, to direct messages from Stories, and building trust, Instagram is highly interactive. People are there to engage and they do. When you hone in on that, and build your community around that engagement and interaction, that's where you get a real community, vested in your business and your brand.
Instagram is all about the pictures (or videos). Whether in your regular gallery or in Stories, Instagram is all visual. Sure you can add a text overlay and you have the whole caption to talk about whatever it is you have to say. But if you don't catch them with the image, none of the text in the world will matter. That's why it's so important to think strategically about your images and the story you are telling.
Visual marketing has been the buzz word for at least 3 or 4 years now. Everyone knows they should be focusing on their visual content. Duh. Why? Because it's emotional. It's instantly connecting with your audience.
A good visual conveys the right message to your audience in a split second. They don't have to read the whole paragraph (or page) to get it. They see it and connect immediately. That is incredibly powerful.
And when Instagram is based entirely on visual content to connect with your audience (before they read your captions), you have the ability to craft amazing storytelling into your whole brand. You can create trust, value, experience, loyalty, and more - all from a well orchestrated series of posts.
The Best Website Traffic
Yes, you read that right. Instagram provides the highest quality website traffic over any other social media platform.
Note that I did not say the "most". I said the "best".
Quality over quantity is important to differentiate with Instagram traffic.
As you know, there is only one clickable link on Instagram and that is in your bio on your main profile. You cannot post links in your captions or posts and send traffic to your website. Well, technically, now you can in Stories. But, on regular Instagram posts, you can't.
So, when you only have one place to drop a link, you have to work to get people to that link. You have to include a call-to-action in your caption - which people have to have stopped and read. Then, based on your CTA, they click over to your bio, see the link, and click on it to get to your website. (Side note: make sure that link goes to the exact page you told them about, not just your home page!) So, if they've done all these things (read your caption, clicked on your profile photo, clicked on the link in your bio), they've already take multiple steps to get to your website.
That means that once they're there - they actually want to be there! This isn't junk traffic where they clicked on the link by accident, or though they were going to another site, or got confused about the link. They worked to get there. That means your bounce rate is virtually ZERO.
Like I said, the best quality you can ask for.
Not necessarily the most traffic. In fact, it may be the site that generates the least traffic for you. But, as I have mentioned above, I have landed real, paying clients directly from Instagram. So, I'll take the high quality option any day!
Most Marketers Don't Get It
Instagram confuses the crap out of a lot of marketers. Even if they love Instagram as a user, they flounder as a marketer. Because, for many of the reasons mentioned above, Instagram doesn't work like most marketing tactics. It's not salesy - and if you use it that way, you will fall flat on your face. It's not for link dropping. It's not for post and forget it behaviors. It's not for people who just want to share other people's content all day and call it a strategy.
No, Instagram forces you to work at it. To show up, be engaged, create valuable content, and creatively generate that quality traffic we talked about.
So, most brands end up sucking at Instagram.
Why is that good? Well, obviously I don't want people to suck at it. But you're here, reading this, which means you want to be better. And if everyone else is sucking, and if you put in the work and do it well, you will stand out as a brand that people want to connect with. That makes it an advantage for you.
But you do have to commit to it and understand the platform. You need to understand the nuances, behaviors, and etiquette on Instagram. You need to know what content works and why. You need to know if your audience wants videos or photos. Or Instagram Stories or regular posts - or both! You need to set your own goals and reasons for using Instagram so that you can create a content strategy that supports that endstate for you.
This may sound like a lot, but that's where I come in! I love helping business owners and marketers just like you figure out Instagram marketing. Obviously, my blog is FULL of content to help you (over 150 blog posts, actually!). But I also offer a variety of one-on-one services to help you. And I have a super helpful membership program dedicated to Instagram marketing education. Check all of these options out and if you have any questions about how I can help you, just let me know!