Instagram is a popular social networking site with over 400 million monthly active users. Used for sharing visual content, Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in 2010. The network was bought out by Facebook 2 years later for a hefty sum of $1 billion.
With 40 million photos posted daily on Instagram it is easy to see how it is one of the most popular social networking sites of the decade. However, is it really useful for your brand? We’re here to sift through the positives and negatives of using Instagram for a business so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you should be Insta-active.
Pro – Much like Twitter, Instagram is simple to use and uses hashtags to drum up attention and build followers to an account.
Con – Unlike Twitter, you cannot stumble upon an Instagram account. Users must actively search for your username or hashtags that you have used in order to find you.
Pro – You can link your Instagram account to Facebook and Twitter meaning that your existing fan-base and contacts can find you easily.
Con – Instagram photos cannot be used for SEO purposes, your account can rank in a Google search but each individual image cannot rank.
Pro – Instagram is used for visual content only, which is proven to be the most popular form of content among consumers.
Con – Consumers are put off by businesses who spam images of their products, so content must be balanced equally.
Pro – With over 75 million daily users it can be a great tool to connect with potential consumers, if used correctly.
What’s Popular on Instagram?
Of the top 14 brands followed on Instagram, 9 belong to the retail industry. Despite beliefs that Instagram is only used to publish pictures of food, only 1 of the top 14 qualifies as a coffee shop/restaurant. However, the top 5 industries proven to be doing the most epic things with their Instagram accounts are: Fast Food, Retail, Construction, Science and Cosmetics. Additionally, the most liked pictures on Instagram include celebrities, animals and travel pictures. With the most used hashtag on Instagram being #selfie, with 34,924,648 (and counting) posts containing the hashtag.
Who uses Instagram?
Interestingly, 68% of Instagram users are female and 90% of users are aged 35 or under. 40% of Instagram’s global users live in the US, with Japan and Brazil making up the top 3 countries with the most active users. Instagram is also the most popular social networking site amongst teens. 67% of the world’s biggest brands use Instagram and it is estimated that 88.9% of companies are using Instagram for marketing purposes.
Why should you use Instagram?
Instagram will give your business another platform to connect and establish a relationship with consumers. If you are a business that relies heavily on the visual representation of products or your services this is a great way to show off to consumers. You need to have a strong quality of image available but you can always use popular Instagram filters to make images look more appealing. You can also develop a strong brand identity through Instagram so that users recognise your image on their feed – to do this you must post regularly and of consistent quality.
Separate side bar: How to set up an Instagram account:
- Go to the Instagram app on your phone or log on to the Instagram website on a desktop and click sign up.
- Choose a username, this should be your company name or a variation of your company name – many people choose to make this the same as their Twitter handle if available.
- Add a profile photo (this should be the brand logo if being used for business), a short bio and a link to your website on your profile.
- Sync your account to Facebook so that your regular followers are alerted that you have set up an account.
- Post your first photo using popular hashtags that are related to your industry and to the photo you have posted – add a filter if necessary and watch the likes roll in.
Separate side bar: Top tips to be aware of when using Instagram:
- Adding a Location to an Instagram post results in 79% higher engagement.
- The average photo receives an average of 37 interactions while videos fall just behind with an average of 24 interactions.
- Brands that post frequently during business hours gain an average of 16.31 interactions. However, during weekends photos only get about 15 interactions.
- There is no conclusive best day of the week to post on Instagram, but people tend to post most on Thursday. (Typically using the hashtags #TBT or #ThrowBackThursday)
- The most popular hashtags that generate new followers include #Love #Cute #Follow #FollowMe #PhotoOfTheDay and #TagForLikes (Visit hashtagify.me to find the top hashtags for each industry).
Separate side bar/highlighted fact: Top 5 Instagram filters:
- Earlybird – best for when your summer glow isn’t quite there yet, and your selfies need a boost.
- Mayfair – best for anything. When in doubt, Mayfair.
- Amaro – best for blue-eyed selfies, or any dark photo that needs to be lightened up.
- Rise – best for making skin look soft and smooth, or for adding that refreshing “morning” look to your coffee art.
- Valencia – best for photos with dull, fine colours, like light pinks and other pastels.