Why Instagram Should Be the Next BIG THING In Your Business
You can’t deny it, mobile technology has changed the way you express yourself and communicate with others. You’ve gone from talking to texting; from photos to emojis, hashtags, selfies and videos.
Using images to record our lives and the world around us is nothing new. If you go to Lascaux in southern France you will see examples of cave paintings telling stories of herds of horses, bison and rhinos that are over 30,000 years old.
So, even though the world has gotten bigger and more complex, visual storytelling has always been there, but and visual communication is growing and has become a language again – just like 30,000 years ago.
This is the strength of Instagram; it’s ability to tell our customers the story of our business, our products and our services.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a made-for-mobile platform for visual storytelling. This means it was not designed to work on a desktop, but is a purely mobile medium. It’s a place where we can share our photos and videos; everything from the mundane to the epic. More importantly, for business, it’s where we can visually communicate and promote our business, our goods and our services.
If you think you don’t need to bother and that your customers are not out there on Instagram, think again.
Instagram is a global phenomenon (over 80% of its users are outside the USA) and in less than 6 years it has more than 500 million active users.
We Live in the Era of the Smartphone
Our smartphones come with a camera and a network of people. This gives us the ability to capture and share moments in real time through images, instead of text.
And that’s what people are doing – more than 95 million photos and videos are posted to Instagram EVERY DAY.
So You Think It’s Just About Celebrities Taking Selfies?
It’s true, a lot of celebrities are on Instagram. It’s also true that 26% of the people who use Instagram regularly are following celebrities. However, there are far more people who use it for other reasons that have a real impact on business. For example:
MUSIC – people that follow music artists and bands spend nearly twice as much per year on music than those who don’t use Instagram.
BEAUTY – 64% of retail beauty buyers find inspirations for beauty looks and new products on Instagram.
SPORT – people use Instagram to discuss sporting events. In 2016 there were over 133 million interactions around the Rio Olympics.
MAJOR MOMENTS – businesses are piggy-backing on key events like the Oscars, Fashion Weeks and celebration days, such as Valentine’s Day, to promote their products and services.
SPECIAL INTERESTS – more than half of the Instagram community have said that they use it to follow accounts related to their personal passions and interests, everything from DIY to cookery, from shoes to knitting.
Instagram has a growing number of tools that make your uploads look great and more interesting.
Filters: the different filters available on Instagram allow you to be stylish and creative with your images and your videos. They allow you to turn quite an ordinary snapshot into something truly engaging and eye catching.
Stories: lets you create short-term content that appears in a slideshow format in a bar above the feed. The Stories you create will disappear after 24 hours.
Hyperlapse: allows you to create stunningly smooth time-lapse videos.
Boomerang: (my favourite!) takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward.
Instagram for Business
From the very beginning, people started engaging with, and buying from, businesses they discovered on Instagram. More than 50% of Instagram users follow at least one business, 60% learn about products and services and 75% have visited the website of a business they discovered on the platform
Businesses are using a mixture of advertising and organic reach to demonstrate their uniqueness, create a loyal community / customer-base and to differentiate their products and services by telling their business story.
Three great examples are:
Brand Recognition: Wool & The Gang
Wool and the Gang sell yarns as well as knitting, crochet and macramé kits. Their quirky Instagram account has amassed 131 thousand followers and helped to build their international brand recognition. While their customer / ardent knotter hashtag, #shareyourknits, has over 63 thousand posts.
Virtual Shop Window: Illyria Pottery
Illyria Pottery is a pottery shop in Oxford owned by Katie Coston. Katie uses Instagram to connect with her 18½ thousand followers and her customers around the world. She shows them how she creates her products and gives them a glimpse into her shop.
Driving Sales: Hiut Denim
Do you know that Cardigan in Wales used to be the Denim capital of the UK? The Dewhirst factory there used to employ over 400 people (in a town of only 4,000 inhabitants). But in 2002 the factory closed when the Demin production was moved to Morocco.
In 2010 David Height reopened the factory when he founded Hiut Denim. His aim is to bring back the 400 jobs that were lost, as well as bringing Denim back to Cardigan.
With nearly 11 thousand Instagram followers, Hiut Denim is using the platform to tell the story of its products, its manufacturing process and the people who make the jeans.
That’s great for a brand story, but what about business? They have been so successful in what they are doing that, after posting an image of a limited run of a particular style of jeans on Instagram, they totally sold out of the product in 24-hours.
Instagram is an excellent tool for marketing your business. It doesn’t require any costly equipment, just the use of a simple device that the vast majority of us carry around with us every day. If you haven’t used it yet, why not give it a go – and do let me know how you get on.
PS: Don’t forget the #30MinsMarketing Tweetchat on 21st February where we will be answering all your questions on how to use Instagram Hashtags.