FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Instagram is arguably one of the most powerful and influential social media marketing spaces online right now.
If you’re a business owner who hasn’t tapped into this space, you’re likely losing potential customers to your competitors who are already plugged in.
Instagram is low-cost marketing with the potential of high-touch with potential clients because of its growing popularity.
The question isn’t “why use Instagram?” It’s “why are you not using Instagram?”
Perhaps a little background info will help get you on board.
Instagram: From Birth to Blow Up
Launched in 2010, and acquired by social media giant, Facebook, in 2012, the platform hit the one billion monthly active users mark in June of this year.
Eight years — that’s how long it took for them to be one of the most utilized social media platforms on the planet. Go ahead and say it because we’re all thinking it — whoa.
Of those one billion users, 105 million of them are based right here in the United States.
Here’s a little math just to put that number into perspective for you. From sea to shining sea (and over there in Hawaii too), we are home to only about 326 million of the planet’s humans. If 105 million of us spend some portion of our days scrolling through our Insta feeds, that basically boils down to about one — third of America’s entire population.
Based on what we know about the platform’s specific user demographics, usage veers younger. Eighty percent of their users are in the 18-54 year old demographic (Statista), and let’s not forget the younger generation. While they still love Snapchat best, they are pretty infatuated with Instagram too. In fact, 63% of teenagers, aged 13-17, use Instagram daily (Hootsuite).
And, by the way, they’re actually engaging. In other words, they are liking, swiping, clicking, and buying.
Instagram users are doing exactly what business owners want them to do when they encounter their content.
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
It’s like location in real estate, engagement is the single most important factor.
And when it comes to engagement, Facebook can’t compete.
Various changes on the Facebook platform, and an aging user demographic, has caused engagement on Facebook to drop significantly in recent years.
Instagram, as the new kid on the block with their fun features, creative content, and ease of use and discovery, experiences remarkably high engagement across the platform -particularly in comparison to Facebook. Studies have demonstrated that, “engagement with businesses on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook. And the average engagement per post has grown by 416%, compared to two years ago” (Entrepreneur).
Instagram itself reported that, as of March, 2017, over 120 million users had visited a website, asked for directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business on the platform (Instagram).
And while there is user overlap on Instagram and Facebook, users themselves will tell you that they use the two platforms differently.
Sure, we all love seeing our friends’ pictures, checking out what our favorite celebs and pro-athletes are up to, reading funny memes, and watching funny videos there just like we do on Facebook, but Instagram is about more than that.
Users say that Instagram is a great place to discover new products and engage with brands.
Eighty percent of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform, and 60% of users say that Instagram is a place where they discover products. In fact, check out those teenagers again, 53% of them say that Instagram is actually the best platform to tell them about new products (Spredfast).
And these people don’t just find out about them either, they actually buy them too -72% of users have purchased a product they saw on Instagram.
So, what does that mean for business owners with products and services to sell?
It means you need to figure out if Instagram can work for you.
How Instagram Helps Business Owners Do Business Better
This post is not meant to compel everyone reading to go out and sign themselves up for a business Instagram account immediately, but it is meant to help get you thinking about how the platform may be able to help you grow your business in a new way.
One of the things that Instagram does best for businesses, particularly smaller ones, is to help them reach new audiences with relative ease.
By creating quality, engaging content, you may be able to introduce your business to people right here in Frederick who have yet to hear about you and what it is that you do great, and with a relatively low threshold of entry.
Instagram and other social media platforms provide marketing opportunities that younger, smaller businesses may have not been able to access previously. You don’t need a large bank account, camera crew or a sound tech. You simply need a cellphone and a good idea to start marketing yourself on Instagram.
With a relatively modest ad budget, digital marketing strategy, and a few hours of time to devote to the process, and you could see some serious reach, engagement, and conversions coming your way in a short amount of time.
We’re not saying that Instagram is every business’s magic lamp, but you might want to rub it a little and see if a genie pops out.
Stay tuned for our ‘Instagram for Business’ training series coming your way in 2019.
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