Is Instagram for Business Underutilized?
Although changing, many businesses are still not using Instagram. There is a stigma associated with it that suggests it’s a platform only for teenagers. It’s true you are likely to find plenty of teenagers on the platform, the truth is, the company has made changes to expand its audience. As this audience expands, so does its marketing potential.
This is what Instagram management wants. If they didn’t, they would not have opened up the platform for selling in December 2016. It’s not enough to simply post a bunch of pictures that suggest buying your product. You will need to interact with people in a way that gets them to feel connected with you. Then, they will gladly share with friends and family.
This kind of sharing can go quite viral, too. The first step is to create an account. You can sign up online. Previously, the company only allowed signups via smart devices but has seemed to have changed that. You can connect your Facebook account. It’s possible they will add other social media channels to connect with if they haven’t already.
When you connect, start following people. If you used a social media account, it would start to make connections for you. When you find connections you want to follow, simply hit the button. It’s important to keep the social in social media. Instagram is no different. Even though the company is allowing more of a business-centric presence, it doesn’t mean blasting information about your company is going to work.
People want to make connections and they want to share valuable information. Having said this, make sure your content stays focused on your brand. This may seem like a contradiction to what was said in the previous paragraph, but it is not. You need to determine a balance between staying branded and connecting socially.
The best of both worlds is when followers become brand ambassadors on behalf of your company. This happens more than people realize.
You can nudge the process of getting brand ambassadors by seeking out people who would love to try your products. You can give them out for free or deep discount them. If you decide to give out free products, make sure any reviews people make on your behalf have proper disclosures.
Currently, there is still an advantage of few businesses using Instagram but that gap is closing quickly. This isn’t to say that as more businesses sign up you still can’t use the platform. It just won’t be as easy as it is now.
Is Instagram Good for All Businesses?
It’s easy to share photos of food that you serve in your restaurant. And who is going to complain about the latest fashion images when shown on a beautiful model? If your business is homemade crafts, you’ve got an in with Instagram. But, does this mean that every business is geared towards using Instagram as part of their marketing strategy?
It’s possible for just about any business to use Instagram. But, some businesses may need to be more strategic about how they approach it. For instance, you don’t want to display actuarial tables when you sell insurance. This isn’t going to get too many people to share your content and may end up with unfollows anytime you take this approach.
If your business doesn’t lend well to a direct approach, you may have to think of alternative methods to get your message out on Instagram. For the insurance example, show pictures of disasters and how you or your company were there to help the people who experienced them.
Try to get followers to relay experiences they had in dealing with their own situations. If they allow it, share those images on your website. They will be sure to share them when you do this. The more you get others involved, the easier it will be to get people to share. Also, the higher the influence of the people sharing, the greater the reach.
This is not to say you should limit your reach to just influential people. But, do try to find as many of them as you can. Instagram is a new medium for businesses but that is changing. You may be able to find other insurance companies and what they have posted (or whatever your business happens to be).
When viewing other companies in your market, pay attention to the type of engagement that is occurring. Hone in on that for your own campaigns but be sure not to copy them. Consider partnering with other businesses that are related to yours.
In the business world, this is known as vertical markets. Brainstorm with these other businesses to see how to best use Instagram to help everyone in the partnership. It’s important never to lose sight of the fact that Instagram is a social platform. Be less willing to sell and more willing to reach out and help others. Find ways to give valuable content that makes it easy for followers to share it.
Check back tomorrow for Issue 5 (final issue) of Instagram For Business.