As a business owner, you’re always looking for new benefits of Instagram for your business, like bring in new customers and gaining exposure for your company. Well, at least we hope you are.
The thing is, many marketing methods that worked so well in the past have quickly gone the way of the dodo. After all, when was the last time you looked something up in the Yellow Pages?
We understand that for some companies—especially small businesses or startups with a limited budget—redirecting some of your efforts to Instagram can seem scary. In reality, however, as long as you actually make a real effort so that your posts don’t blow chunks, using Instagram for business can bring about some big-time benefits. Let’s take a look.
1) Build an Engaged Community
There’s no point beating around the bush here. There’s a reason the number of companies who use Instagram for business is expected to pass Twitter this year, and that’s because more and more marketers are figuring out that Instagram is the go-to place to build an actively engaged social media community.
Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers supporting Instagram’s engagement levels are impressive. In fact, studies have found that Instagram posts receive up to eight times as much engagement as posts on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Better yet, when it comes to driving traffic to your website, visitors from Instagram have also been found to be more engaged with site content, spending more time interacting with Web materials they discovered through the platform.
2) Let Your Customers do the Work For You
Instagram’s highly engaged communities want to do more than merely favorite or comment on posts—they want to get in on the action as well! Many businesses have found great success by tapping in to user-generated content.
After all, Instagram users are constantly uploading their own images, and if you play your cards right, those images can promote your brand. For example, the Instagram account for Applebee’s is made up entirely of user-generated photos of their meals. By incentivizing and featuring select user photos on their own account, Applebee’s ensures that hundreds of branded posts are generated by their #Fantographers each week.
Whether you host a hashtag competition or offer a free drink to customers who post while eating at your restaurant, encouraging user-generated content gives you a free marketing tool that simultaneously builds online enthusiasm for your brand.
3) Better Use of Resources
Some companies may feel reluctant to dive into the world of Instagram marketing simply because they don’t want to create yet another channel they need to focus on. The thing is, you don’t always need to create entirely separate campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, and other marketing channels.
Many businesses have streamlined their digital marketing operations by repurposing Instagram photos for other uses. Whether you need a high-quality image for your latest blog post or a Facebook ad, repurposing your Instagram content can help you save time and money. Adding Instagram to your marketing strategy can actually make your overall content production easier and more efficient.
4) Cross-Channel Promotion
Customers who visit your website—or even your brick-and-mortar store—won’t always be ready to buy your products. But more often than not, they will potentially be interested in coming back to make a purchase later. Even small steps that introduce potential customers to your Instagram content can have a significant long-term impact on your business.
For example, featuring some of your Instagram content on your website would provide site visitors the chance to connect with you on social media. While they may not have made a purchase during their initial visit to your site, continued exposure to your products and services through Instagram makes it much more likely that they’ll come back to make a purchase at some future date. Or your Instagram content could help turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
And of course, many users will discover your website through your Instagram account in the first place.
5) More Than Products
Many of the most successful businesses on Instagram understand that they can’t just try to directly sell their products and call it a day. The most successful Instagram influencers showcase images that are unique, uplifting, exciting, and aspirational. They create a meaningful persona that other users want to engage with.
So what does this mean for your business? For starters, don’t worry if your product or service isn’t visually appealing on its own. You can get creative and find other ways to engage with your target audience, such as highlighting your company culture, special events, or the service your team members provide to the community. By using engaging images to build a unique persona, you’ll find an audience.
As you cultivate engaging images in an authentic manner, you’ll build trust among those who view your posts, which will ultimately generate higher levels of engagement, spur the creation of user-generated content, and spread positive word-of-mouth for your brand.
Instagram is already the second-most popular social media platform among American internet users, and its numbers are only expected to grow in the coming year. Don’t let yourself fall behind the competition—start using Instagram today so you can knock your digital marketing out of the park!