Originally published 03-02-2018. Updated 5-30-2022.
Instagram has come a long way since it launched in 2010 with pictures of cute pets, amazing food, and selfies galore. What started as a fun way to share photos has evolved into a marketing powerhouse for business.
These days, consumers tend to judge a business's credibility based on its presence on (or absence from) social media. The addition of analytic advancements that track ROI, shoppable posts, Instagram Stories, and even the launch of IGTV has made Instagram worth the time and the effort that it takes to create marketing success.
Today we’re focusing on an incredibly popular and powerful platform where many businesses are enjoying numerous benefits. Let’s give it up for Facebook’s younger, faster-growing, and arguably prettier sister, Instagram.
Take a look at the following proven, professional benefits of being on this platform and decide: Is my business ready for “The Gram?”
In terms of overall popularity, Facebook still wears the pants in the social media world. But social media is ever-evolving and statistics prove that Instagram’s users are indeed much more engaged and impressionable than Facebook’s.
What does this mean exactly? Recent reports indicate that Instagram has 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. Studies also show that Facebook users tend to shy away from advertisements much more frequently than Instagram users: 32% of Facebook users regularly engage with brands, while 68% of Instagram users do. These high engagement rates make Instagram an absolute haven for businesses looking to engage consumers.
Newsfeeds on Instagram are often comparable to art galleries. It’s no secret that this social platform is filled with an abundance of colorful, high-quality, fun, and visually appealing photos and videos. Businesses can jump on the creative bandwagon by using Instagram to promote their products and services, show behind-the-scenes glimpses of their company’s daily workings, and give followers exclusive tastes of their company culture. Rather than sharing primarily memes and curated content from other sources, Instagram values originality. Followers know this and appreciate IG for this reason. It enables a business to truly tell a story about their products and services, giving the public a behind-the-scenes look not found elsewhere.
There are different options for sharing information on Instagram: posts, stories, live, reels and IGTV.
Instagram posts are simply posts that show up on the IG feeds of your followers. They remain there until a follower chooses to delete them.
An Instagram story is a unique feature that allows users to post customizable photos or videos that vanish after 24 hours. These stories are prominently displayed atop a user’s main newsfeed. Stories offer even more creative elements, such as drawing and writing tools, augmented reality filter options, and the ability to include locations, hashtags, and mentions of other users. More recently, Instagram has added the ability to have “featured stories.” These can be hosted on a business profile and are able to be viewed once the initial 24-hour period ends. There are limitless business benefits to Instagram stories! They are great places to showcase behind-the-scenes “footage,” as well as fun, timely content that is sure to get noticed.
Instagram live is recorded in real-time and shared with your followers. Great for engaging your audience, viewers have the ability to like and comment as the live feed is happening. Instagram shares information here for how to set up a live stream and best practices for success.
Instagram reels are shorter-form video, usually about 15-seconds, and it allows you to be creative by uploading music, sound effects, and more. Instagram shares a step-by-step process for creating and posting a Reel to your business account.
Launched in 2018, IGTV is the Instagram version of YouTube. Videos are a maximum of 10 minutes for regular users unless you have a verified business account with at least 10,000 followers. If so, your video can be up to 60 minutes long.
Similar to Facebook, business accounts on Instagram have the option of paying to promote their content. This practice is very beneficial, especially considering the above statistics that demonstrate how receptive Instagram’s audience is to these types of advertisements. Another benefit to advertising on Instagram is that the ads are capable of being highly targeted based on a user’s location, age, gender, or interests. Businesses can also include links in their promoted posts, enabling users to click to learn more about them.
You can also set up Instagram Shop for a retail business wanting to sell products. Relatively simple to set up, you create your business in Instagram Commerce Manager, and customers can have the option of making purchases directly in the app.
In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion. This purchase came with multiple benefits for businesses seeking to juggle these two platforms. As we mentioned above, the concept of Instagram and Facebook ads is very similar in nature. Because these mediums are under the same ownership, businesses are now able to run the same advertisement on Facebook and Instagram at the same time, adding seamless, easily-attainable integration. This means that any time a business runs an ad on either of these platforms, it can automatically double its reach!
DISCLAIMER: We do not believe in simply simul-posting the exact same content on both platforms. The problem with doing so is that FB is not IG and IG is not FB. They are similar, but they are not the same. The rules of engagement for each are different enough that you shouldn't copy and paste the same content on both platforms and expect them to excel. For example, Instagram hashtags are a way of life but not so much on Facebook. On Facebook, you can embed links while on IG, you have to send a reader to your profile. Long story short, you can post the same content, but you'll want to craft your post for FB differently than you would for IG.
Measuring success on Instagram is quite simple. Of course, businesses can monitor their follower counts and overall engagement activities, like views and clicks. But taking it a step further, built-in analytic reports help businesses easily interpret the results of their Instagram advertising campaigns. Useful analytics like these help businesses quickly identify which types of Instagram posts work best, setting them up for sustained success.
Today’s post has simply scratched the surface of the business benefits of being on Instagram. Hopefully, this list helps your business decide if adding this social platform (or becoming more active on it) is an option that is worth your time. You can always contact us for more information and you can find our full list of social media services here.