Right now, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms globally, with more than 400 million active users. Engagement wise - Instagram is blowing engagement stats (per platform) out of the water, with an average engagement level (remember engagement is the key to a great social media presence) of around 56 percent.
Unlike Facebook - which seems to be a natural fit for any brand looking for extra profile and consumer loyalty, some businesses haven't quite grasped how to use Instagram as a marketing tool, or even more so - if Instagram is the right fit for their business.
Posting images is easy but driving traffic back to a brands website is a different animal entirely - especially on Instagram. However times are-a-changing and when Facebook buys Instagram like they did during 2012, you know change is on the way.
Facebook's biggest revenue earner lies in business advertising - so naturally we're starting to see the changes that will turn Instagram's popularity into a money generating advertising machine like Facebook.
The trick is in understanding how you can make Instagram work for your brand now, ahead of the surge that is undoubetdly about to come - as it did for Facebook.
Thanks to new business tools that Instagram announced on it's blog this month, brands will now have access to features not available to regular accounts. Below we give a teensy snap-shot at these new tools, which will shortly become available.
Hint: It's time to soak this in punters - and get planning on whether you'll use Instagram or not as part of your brands social media burger going forward.
If you want users to easily identify your Instagram account as belonging to a brand, the Business Profiles feature is one you will want to take advantage of. In addition to giving customers directions to your business with a single button tap, you can also assign a contact call to action - just like Facebook. Choices are a text message, phone call or email.
While the posts will look identical to those coming from regular accounts, the actual profile page will be the only element that will change. This new change fills a major void that has been frustrating brand marketers from the beginning: how to seamlessly take interest sparked on Instagram and quickly convert that into an action.
Now, if consumers happen to see something that they like on a clothing boutique Instagram page, they can contact the business with a single tap and inquire about an item or make a purchase. YAY! You will also need to switch to a business profile in order to gain access to the two additional features below.
Following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook, Instagram will now offer business users analytical data that shows how their content is performing. You will be able to see reach and impressions data, as well as data about the demographics of location and age for each of your posts.
The data won't be available via the Instagram app - you will need a business Facebook page linked to your Instagram account in order to access the information (of course, right).
Analyzing your users' demographic and behavioural data will allow you to create Instagram content those users are more likely to engage with.
While the first two features above won't cost businesses any money, those with a healthy advertising budget can use the new 'Promote' feature to instantly boost top performing posts via paid ads.
Instagram will also offer suggestions regarding which posts should be promoted; you can then use the data from the Insights feature to identify your true top-performing posts, based on your target market. You can customise the targeting options and have full control over how much or how little you want to spend to promote your content.
Promoted content will further allow you to include a call to action in the post, triggering a phone call or driving traffic to a particular page on your website.
Because Facebook and Instagram now live side-by-side in terms of marketing and cross-promotion in our opinion, it would be a wise move to get your business established on Instagram now, before these new options are released later this year.
If you're feeling lost about how Instagram can make a positive impact on your brands marketing, that's where we come in. Flick us a line and give us the run-down on your business. We'll be happy to have a chat with you about Instagram and your social media marketing strategy.