|At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app that allows its users to share pictures and videos with their friends, downloadable to smartphones for free / Photo by: Ink Drop via Shutterstock|
The term “social media” refers to websites and applications designed to let people share content with their friends wherever they may be in real-time. It came into light in late 2000 and everybody jumped on the wagon to get a bite of the new pastime and they stayed hooked ever since. The ability to share photos, opinions, and everything else online and in real-time has transformed the way people live and do business. As social media evolved, more media platforms were created. Instagram is one popular app especially loved by people to connect, socialize, and work through school and business.
At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app that allows its users to share pictures and videos with their friends, downloadable to smartphones for free. Its popularity comes from its picture editing functionality and its efficient marketing practicality. Founded in 2010 by Stanford University graduates Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the app is enjoyed today by 1 billion active users. Facebook acquired it in 2012.
Instagram As a Marketing Tool
Statistics show that worldwide, more than 25 million companies are using Instagram for business and more than 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day. Instagram has become “the new home for brands” where engagement is high, followers are brand-loyal, and real business goals are achievable. Here are the simple steps in using Instagram as a marketing tool to increase your brand’s reach and appeal:
- People turn to Instagram when searching for a brand or business so make your Instagram profile your new home page. Map out and plan profile to tell a story about the brand. The goal is to convert visitors into followers.
- Get to know your target audience and discern their content preferences. Look into their demographics (age, origin, location) and when they are most active.
- Maximize marketing efforts by interacting with the audience as often as possible. Respond to comments and use stickers and stories to get feedback. Interactions increase customer satisfaction and visibility. Be genuine to be able to build a network of loyal consumers.
Additionally, with its new features like tagging products, IGTV, Hashtag plus Profile Links in Bio, and shopping stories, Instagram marketing has lots of ways to convert followers into loyal customers. The following are a few tips to make the most of Instagram marketing.
|Statistics show that worldwide, more than 25 million companies are using Instagram for business and more than 200 million users visit at least one business profile every day / Photo by: GaudiLab via Shutterstock|
• Find the Instagram feature that can help market service or product efficiently. Choose the one that works best. For example, Instagram Stories is great in promoting products or services. Its 24-hour life span builds a sense of urgency that piques the interest of the target audience.
• Get creative. Use unique photos and videos to add a tad of spirit to your Instagram posts. A funny post usually makes users share the content with friends and peers, generating free publicity for the brand.
• Boost engagement by sharing user-generated content (UGC). This offers legitimacy to Instagram marketing, increasing user engagement and sales conversions. It makes the brand seem more humane and people-friendly.
• Use hashtags to promote the brand. Have a hashtag with your business name to distinguish your brand. Hashtags should be easy to remember to capture the attention of people. Always use it in every post.
2019 Instagram Updates
To better appreciate Instagram, the following are the most important new features launched in 2019 to help in strategizing marketing ideas for 2020.
February: One of the biggest new features from IGTV is it allows fans to turn on alerts that inform them when new episodes in a series they’re following are available for viewing. IGTV viewings increased when previews began to play in the feed.
March: Shopping through Instagram got easier when “Checkout on Instagram” was launched. This streamlined purchases made in the app.
May: Instagram kicked off their trial to hide the number of likes a post receives in Canada. A post’s total like count would be hidden from public view and would only be visible to the user.
June: The “paid partnership” tool made it possible to turn influencers’ posts into ads enabling them to reach a bigger audience.
July: The hidden likes trial was rolled out to six other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, and Japan. The focus was not anymore likes-driven but rather on the authenticity of the product.
September: The “Paid partnership with” tags were made available for IGTV content. Marketers use this platform to post long-form videos, giving them easy access to the channel. Likewise, posts on diets and cosmetic surgery are now restricted for users under 18.
October: The new product launch sticker could be added to the users’ Instagram Stories and would let them set a reminder and receive a notification when the product is available for purchase.
Jumping into the world of AR ads, Instagram launched a new tap-to-try-on-the-ad option that would allow users to test out products. This is being trialed in select brand partners (Nars, Ray-Ban, and Michael Kors) to maximize customer engagement and help them make a faster decision, thus increasing conversion.
Instagram has provided businesses with new, customizable Story templates (i.e. color, music, call-to-action effects) accessible via Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger in time for the holiday period.
|Instagram, as a visually striking platform, maybe the best means to promote a new brand or business / Photo by: wichayada suwanachun via Shutterstock|
It is easier to make an emotional connection with the target audience through high-quality images, videos, and other visuals. Instagram, as a visually striking platform, maybe the best means to promote a new brand or business.