Yes, I know. The sheer number of social networking sites can make you want to run away screaming.
Knowing which sites to be active on can feel utterly overwhelming and since most of us do not have the time to be active on all of them, choosing 2-3 that you are willing to commit to can be tricky.
So how do you know if Instagram is right for you? Keep reading, as I will outline 5 of the key benefits of using Instagram for your small business!
1. It gives your business some personality.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to using Instagram is giving a personal feel to your small business. While Facebook photos tend to be largely planned and scripted, images and videos shared on Instagram tend to be more fun, casual and spontaneous.
We know that people like to buy from businesses who they trust and a great way to build this trust is to show people there’s a real ‘face’ behind your brand. You are not just ‘Excel Accounting Services, Inc.’ on Instagram: You are Jill, the lady who shares cool pictures of her weekend sailing trips and of her adorable pug, in addition to all her ‘behind the scenes’ business photos.
Instagram allows you to share the day-to-day experiences of your business in an informal and casual way; perhaps better than any other social network.
2. It’s one of the best ways to reach the millenial market.
If your business caters to millenials (meaning those born from around 1980 to the early 1990’s), Instagram is one of the best ways you can connect with them. With a staggering 43% of 18-29 year old cell phone owners using the platform, images and videos are clearly an important medium to this demographic.
Add to this the fact that recent research shows that Instagram ties with Facebook as the 2nd most important social network for teens (behind Twitter), and you’ve clearly found a surefire way to reach the under 30 crowd.
3. There is less competition than on Facebook or Twitter.
Although I can’t promise you will find success for your small business on Instagram, I can tell you that you will likely have far less competition than on many other networks.
According to a 2013 American Express survey, only 2% of small businesses are currently using the platform; and this means those who are will likely find reaching their target market far easier than with Facebook or Twitter where the competition is much sitffer.
4. You can track the conversation happening about your business using hashtags.
Even if you never post one single photo on Instagram, having an Instagram account for the sole purpose of monitoring what is being said about your products, brand and industry is worthwhile.
Monitoring hashtags related to your business is a great way to hear what’s being posted:
- Getting feedback on product bugs, issues or problems
- Finding out which products are trending online
- Finding out what key online influencers are posting in relation to your product or business
- Responding to complaints, or acknowledging kudos
5. Once again, it’s about connection.
I know, I probably don’t need to say it at this point, but it’s SO important I will anyway: As with all social media, using Instagram isn’t about selling your product, but about connecting with your target market.
Of course you’re going to share content related to your business; but it has to be more than that. Use Instagram to get to know your audience, to hold contests, to entertain and pique curiosity, to show behind-the-scenes photos, to elicit sharing from your followers. Find relevant content to ‘like’ or comment on, and keep an eye on what your competitors are posting.
There are so many reasons I love Instagram, it’s impossible to list them all here. Just remember that when deciding which networks to use for your small business, the format must appeal to you and it must be where your target market is hanging out: Find one that meets both these criteria and you have got a winning combination!
So, are there any other key benefits I’m missing? Why do YOU use Instagram for your small business?