Social Media 101: Instagram

March 5, 2018

 Our first blog post on Facebook in our Social Media 101 series had great feedback, so thank you!  We are continuing with the next post in the series today, and we'll be focusing on Instagram.  Again, we'll be going through an overview of the platform, why you should or should not be using it for your business, and best practices for using it successfully.  Welcome to the world of Instagram!

 

OVERVIEW:

 

-Instagram is a mobile photography app that was started in 2010 and acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.

-Instagram has 800 million active monthly users

-25 million businesses are on Instagram

-68% of Instagram users are female

-32% of all Americans are on Instagram (over 100 million American users)

-71% of US adults age 18-24 use Instagram

-60% of Instagram users check the platform every day, and 38% check it "several times a day"

-71% of US businesses used Instagram in 2017

-80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on Instagram

-Over 100 million photos and videos are posted every day

-Instagram Stories has 300 million active users every day (compared to Snapchat alone that has 173 million active users every day)

 

WHO SHOULD BE USING INSTAGRAM AND WHY:

 

 Though Instagram is not as big as Facebook (yet), Instagram has one statistic that sets it apart from other social media platforms.  Instagram is growing 5 times faster than any other social network in the US.  So if your customer is not on Instagram yet, it is only a matter of time! 71% of 18-24 year olds are on Instagram.  54% of 25-29 year olds.  28% of 30-49 year olds.  100 million Americans are on Instagram every day, and 60 million of them are on "several times a day," and the average user is on Instagram for 25 minutes every day. That means, Instagram is giving you several times a day, totaling at least a half an hour, to get out in front of your potential customers.

 

The demographics of Instagram users are changing, as they are with all other social networks.  The majority of the users right now are young, but they grow older every year, and continue to use Instagram.  And in fact, the average account grows by 16% each month.  And it's not just true for personal accounts.  In 2016, 50% of brands and businesses used Instagram, and it's up to 71% in 2018.  And it's not just that more brands and businesses are utilizing Instagram, but more users and potential customers are interacting with the brands too.  80% of users follow at least one business, and 200 million Instagrammers visit a business profile every day.  Over 50% of businesses are using Instagram Stories, and one-third of the most viewed stories on Instagram are made by businesses!  Brands are uploading to Instagram twice as often as Snapchat, likely because Instagram provides a broader audience.  And all of the effort that brands are putting into Instagram are paying off.  60% of users find new products on Instagram, and 75% of users take action after visiting a post, such as visiting your WEBSITE. And on top of that, Instagram users are 70% more likely to make mobile purchases.  72% have purchased a product they saw on Instagram.  So why not get out in front of them!

 

The bottom line is that I truly believe there is a place on Instagram for just about any and very business.  But if you operate a product based business, especially B2C (business to consumer), Instagram is a no-brainer.  That being said, there is still definitely a place for service-based businesses, you just have to get a bit more creative with image creation.

 

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM SUCCESSFULLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS:

 

Just like Facebook, this could be an entire blog series in and of itself!  But again, in sticking with the basics, there are four major things you need to do to use Facebook successfully for your business.

 

1. Post consistently and thoroughly

It takes more than simply adding a picture and caption and hitting post.  Though images get 36% more engagement than videos do on Instagram, post a variety of images and videos.  And that will probably be changing in the years to come as well.  Time spent watching videos on Instagram is up 80% year over year, and four times as many videos are being produced every day on Instagram compared to 2016.  Instagram stories have also been wildly successful, and shouldn't be left out of your posting schedule!  Top brands post on average, 4.9 times a week on Instagram, which is twice as active as in 2015.  And if you're posting high quality images, videos, memes, and other content 5 times a week, you're off to a good start.  Here are some other statistics and suggestions on posting:

 

-Posts with location tags get 79% more engagement

-65% top performing posts feature a product placement

-Images with faces get 38% more likes 

-User generated content has 4.5% higher conversion rate

-Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the best days for engagement

-Tuesday at 2pm is said to be the best time to post

-Instagram stories are a great place to get more personal and show the human side of your brand.  Use stories to show more casual, behind the scenes content, and your feed for a more curated feel.

-Instagram stories will also increase the amount of time spent on Instagram. So if you want to increase the amount of time your followers are spending on Instagram, consider adding more stories.

 

2. Engage with your Followers and with Other Brands and Users

Instagram is notorious for having the highest engagement rate of any social media platform (4.3% on average, compared to Facebook's 0.85%), so why not take advantage of it!  What it boils down to, is that Instagram users are much more likely to like, or share, or comment on your post than other social media platforms. This presents you more opportunities to build rapport, communicate with them, and establish a good brand identity, and work towards a potential sale.  You can engage with followers in many different ways.  Reply to comments they leave on your posts!  Tag people or other brands in your posts.  Ask them questions or poll them in stories!  Share their questions for you when you answer them in your stories.  Share user generated content and credit them and tag them in your post.  It's important on every platform to interact with your followers and fans, but most important on Instagram, since they are much more likely to interact further with you as well.

 

3. Utilize Hashtags

Hashtags help Instagram users discover content and accounts to follow.  The right hashtag or combination of hashtags will expose your brand to large and targeted audiences.  By making yourself more discoverable on Instagram, you have a better chance of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement.  70% of hashtags are branded on Instagram, meaning brands have identified a specific hashtag that they use for their specific brand or business.  And having campaign or brand-specific hashtags can be very helpful when tracking post performance.  Posts with just one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without hashtags.  And you can use up to 30 per post!

 

4. Consider Instagram Ads

70% of your Instagram posts do not get seen by your followers.  ARRRRRGGGH!!  Like with Facebook, there are two things you can do.  You can set a consistent posting schedule, use hashtags, tag people, brands, and other accounts, and use location tags to ensure your content gets out and in front of your target audience.  Or, you can pay for it.  There are 2 million monthly advertisers on Instagram, and Instagram is expected to generate $5 billion in ad revenue in 2018.  Businesses that are not at least testing advertising on Instagram are missing the boat.  As competition increases, so will the cost of clicks and engagement.  The good thing is, if you are already paying for Facebook ads, those same ads can also be displayed on Instagram.  You can also do Instagram-specific advertising, but you can kill two birds with one stone through the Facebook Ad Manager.  With ads, your reach and engagement is almost guaranteed to increase, since your content will be exposed to many more users, and that many more potential customers.

 

I hope this helps explain the basics of Instagram, and why it is an extremely important social media platform for business!  Consider following the Magnolia Marketing Group Instagram page, and join our closed Facebook group, Bloom with Magnolia Marketing, for more tips, best practices, and support and inspiration in your small business journey.

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