Why Instagram can help grow your business in 2015

In recent years, the growing popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have revolutionised how we communicate online, driving new forms of social interaction, dialogue, exchange and collaboration.

Last year, a US survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre uncovered that 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, which is a significant increase from 2013 when the figure was 42%.
Although Facebook still remains the most popular social media site, Instagram was found to be the fastest growing major social network amount US adults. According to the report, an estimated half of internet-using young adults aged 18-29 (53%) use Instagram and half of all Instagram users (49%) use the site daily.

In 2015, Instagram has 300 million monthly active users and an average of 70 million photo uploads a day.

Given the statistics, it is unsurprising that marketing professionals from international companies to local businesses all over the world are increasingly looking at creative ways to improve their brand’s social media presence across the various platforms. What is surprising is that despite being one of the fastest growing sites, Instagram is one of the most underutilised by marketers.

For those not familiar to the platform - this social network is wholly photo and video orientated, allowing users to post images and short videos only (no text updates, although hashtags are allowed and encouraged).

The photos and videos are posted like a Polaroid picture and the user can choose from various photo filters all in a simple and clean format, giving them freedom to easily customise photos and showcase their creativity with video content.

Visual Content is King

Instagram provides brands with a platform to tell their story through images and video. As a result, the platform has the highest user engagement rates with users of Instagram being 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. Studies have shown that a minute of video carries a message equivalent to 1.8 million words.

Rules for Success

While certain types of businesses (from video production companies to the food and beverage industries) may find it easier to gain a following on Instagram, it is possible for other brands to succeed on this platform. For example, NBA’s strategy to provide followers with pictures and videos from the game, teamed with exclusive behind the scenes footage has gained them over 9 million followers on Instagram.

It is even easier when a brand has a product to sell, as, for example, Starbucks, that has over 3 million followers. Starbucks constantly try to engage their audience and enrich their stream with user generated content featuring their product by using various hashtags, like #WhiteCupContest and #RedCupContest.

If you are unsure of how this social network could work for your business then think about the product or service you are offering. Does it have an interesting manufacturing process? Is there one question that customers ask regularly, which could be answered in a short video or photo? Post exclusive new products and always keep your content engaging to capture the interest of your followers and gain more.

Think about what makes your organisation different and highlight your strengths. If your office has a slide or other unique feature then share it with your followers and show how interesting and fun your company is behind the scenes. Include pictures of your employees working hard or on team days so that your customers and followers can better relate to your brand.

Making it Pay

Vogue magazine were the first to make their Instagram account shoppable by using a couple of third-party tools, and sure enough, other businesses have followed suit. This introduces an easy and convenient one-click purchase system to the platform like those available on Amazon or Facebook.

Instagram also has an advertising option and, while not yet available to everyone, it has already shown great results with the first UK ad campaigns that produced a high rate of ad recall. It is definitely something that forward-thinking marketers are looking at for their brands (if not now, then at least in the near future).

Instagram’s success is unlikely to fade going forward. Trends show that visual content marketing specifically is growing.

It’s time to practice taking those snaps.


Whether or not you tweet...

@Tweeting (touting) for business

Whether or not you tweet, Twitter is an online phenomenon all business people need to be clued up about – especially in the world of commerce where you're judged on your expertise. So, here's a useful little diagram that should get you right to the top of the Twitter learning curve – and in next to no time... http://visual.ly/how-use-twitter-business

What is a Podcast?

A podcast, or podcasting, refers to the activity in which people create a series of digital media files and broadcast it online though internet streaming or by making it available for easy download as an audio file. Podcasting has developed since its inception with people now operating podcasts within a video format, commonly known as a vodcast.

A blog (sometimes referred to as a weblog) relates to a form of website that is maintained by either an individual or a group or people that offer regular commentary, pictures and video content to their readers. The majority of blogs cover a specific category such as Gadgets. Generally speaking a blog is made up of text, images, video content and links to other blogs, related websites. 

Set up a profile!

This is the first thing you should do when you start a Twitter account. If you have the default Twitter profile photo, you are immediately identified as a newbie and people may suspect that your account is a bot account. Some people on Twitter do not even follow you without a profile picture. Photos are more memorable and engaging but you can use your business logo if you prefer: I do to keep my business account and personal account separate.

Making Money

Imagine sitting in your office, and posting “Just finished optimising a client’s website for higher Google listings” on Twitter. 2 minutes later you get a direct message saying “We need some help getting Google listings – can you help?” A few emails back and forth, a quick phone call and £3000 of business is done.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? It did to me.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Have you decided to make the leap and get onto Twitter in 2011?
Softly, softly or hardly, hardly?
How should I mix the personal and professional on Twitter?
Twitter: where’s it going? – Guest Blog By Jackie Barrie
Why should I use a hashtag in a conversation?
Why I love Twitter by a self confessed Twitterholic
A Twitter Interview with Karen Plane of Your Admin
Recruiters and recruitment companies on Twitter
The trouble with people who tweet is…
What should you use for your Twitter name or ‘handle’?