Instagram has morphed from a trendy teen hangout to a serious social networking site with great promise for businesses. With 34% of US internet users now using Instagram, Instagram is second only to Facebook in terms of US audience penetration.
Instagram offers a unique opportunity to businesses looking to reach their target market with engaging visual content. This article will outline 10 reasons your brand needs to be on Instagram – or risk missing out on significant opportunities.
1. Internet users spend more time on Instagram than on any other network besides Facebook
According to research by comScore, US internet users spend approximately12 billion minutes on Instagram each month. Compared to Facebook’s 230 billion minutes, this is a drop in the bucket; but for businesses looking to dominate in a more niche, image-centric network, Instagram offers a huge opportunity.
2. It’s still early enough to establish a presence and dominate your niche
Getting noticed on Facebook can be a challenge for small businesses. With so many businesses using the platform, it can be difficult to get found via on-site search and to differentiate themselves from the competition.
However, the fact that only 9% of US small businesses are using Instagram provides an amazing opportunity for those who start building their audience now. Small business use of the platform has grown consistently between 2012 and today and shows no signs of slowing down. Businesses who get on board now will be able to establish their audience before the competition becomes too fierce to get a foothold.
3. Instagram gives you the unique ability to augment your brand with visual content
Visual content gives you the unique opportunity to decide how you want to showcase your brand. A huge advantage to sharing images on Instagram is the wide range of filters; using various filters you can give a different look or feel to your images, using them to convey your desired mood and message.
4. Instagram drives sales with high average orders
According to Shopify, Instagram referrals result in an average order value of $65; this is second only to Polyvore’s $66.75. While certainly most visits won’t end up resulting in a purchase, those that do will result in considerably higher revenue than other social networks; for instance, YouTube’s $37.63 average order value.
5. Visual content in social media continues to dominate in terms of engagement
More than ever before, social media users want to see brands posting visual content. In fact, according to research, visual content is currently the most important tactic businesses use for optimizing their social media content.
To keep your Instagram followers engaged, post images like infographics, image quotes, graphic coupons and behind-the-scenes images. For videos, try posting short tutorials or behind-the-scenes clips to elicit views and engagement.
6. Instagram doesn’t have a filtered feed
Unlike Facebook, which only shows your posts to a small portion of your audience, Instagram posts show up in the feeds of every single one of your followers.
This assures you that your valuable content will actually get seen; images are shown in chronological order, so as long as you’re posting regularly, your posts have a good chance of getting seen by your followers (at least by the ones who are on the platform when you post).
7. Instagram can serve as a content-creator for other social networks
Visual content isn’t just popular on Instagram. We know that images and videos are huge on Facebook and Twitter, and obviously on visual-centric networks like Pinterest and YouTube as well. While Instagram gives you the unique ability to easily create eye-catching images, you can always use these images as content for your other marketing channels: for instance your Facebook posts, Pinterest boards or blog.
Did you know you can even take photos using your Instagram app, and then save them to your phone for use on other networks? Simply set your phone to airplane mode, take an image, and it will automatically be saved to your photo roll for later use.
8. Instagram is ideal for on-the-go-sharing
More than any of the other big networks, Instagram is designed and intended to be used on mobile devices. This means sharing is quick and easy, regardless of when and where you’re posting from. This makes Instagram perfect for sharing candid and behind-the-scene shots, both of which can elicit significant engagement.
9. Instagram videos are great for getting shares on Facebook
According to research from Unruly, 9 out of 10 Instagram video shares happen on Facebook. This is great news for marketers looking to bridge the gap between Instagram and Facebook, driving traffic and shares between the two.
10. Instagram has some of the highest conversion rates among popular social networking sites
While direct sales usually aren’t the primary benefit of using social media, there’s no doubt that having high conversion rates is an unexpected bonus. According to Shopify, the rate at which Instagram visitors go on to make a purchase when visiting a site is 1.08%; this means that for every 100 visitors who find your site through Instagram, 1 will make a purchase. While this doesn’t exactly seem like an earth-shattering conversion rate, it’s still the 4th highest among social networking sites.