According to a recent report by Business Insider, Instagram is second only to Facebook when it comes to audience engagement. Last year, this increasingly popular photo-sharing platform also beat Twitter in terms of time spent on site for desktop and smartphone users combined.
The amazing statistics don’t end there. Instagram currently has 200 million monthly active users and more than 20 billion photos have been shared to date. With 13 per cent of Internet users visiting Instagram, the possibilities and potential for brands is immense.
But it isn’t just cold hard numbers that make this social network so appealing, as there are a myriad of additional boons and benefits to being on Instagram too.
Capitalise on the rise of mobile activity
Our online browsing trends are undergoing a revolution and in some parts of the world, Internet activity on mobile has overtaken desktop computers. This doesn’t mean to say that laptops and PCs are going to disappear, but it looks like we will adopt smartphones and tablets as our preferred devices for going online.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that 89 per cent of mobile media activity is through apps. Optimised websites with responsive designs are crucial for some businesses, but native apps are leading the way. Instagram is a fantastic example of a social network that has prioritised mobile, as opposed to the often inferior offerings from Facebook and Twitter.
When you combine the progressive popularity of smartphones and tablets with Instagram’s straightforward yet stellar app, the commercial prospects for any brand become apparent.
Boost the success of other social networks
Many people wondered what would happen to Instagram after Facebook’s $1 billion cash and stock acquisition in 2012. But one thing is for sure, posting images on Instagram can help businesses overcome their dwindling organic reach on Facebook.
Scores of businesses have noticed that ever since Facebook changed its NewsFeed algorithm, more and more fans aren’t seeing their posts. Facebook stands by its claim that this is to deliver more high quality and relevant content to users, but critics and commentators believe it is simply a way for the social network to make more money through promoted posts and on-site advertising.
Whether this is the case or not, all of your Instagram images will appear on your fans’ NewsFeed. So if you’ve got something important to say or simply want to reach out to customers by organic means on Facebook, then use Instagram, as 100 per cent of posts will be seen.
You can also share Instagram images on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and foursquare, thus enhancing and improving your social media reach further.
Increase online presence
If you have a SEO strategy, more often than not it will include some sort of content marketing campaign too. But while feature articles on your own website and guest posts on external blogs are prevalent and prevailing techniques, publishing content on social media is incredibly important too.
Although Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that signals from social media sites are not part of its ranking algorithm, he does reveal that if something occurs on these networks and they’re able to crawl it, then it will appear in search results.
Therefore, the use of hashtags on Instagram becomes crucial and can actually increase your online presence. Don’t go over the top with hashtags, as this can overwhelm or confuse your followers and look quite messy too. But relevant descriptions with appropriate keywords can be hugely beneficial.
Attract, retain and interact with customers
Another advantage of hashtags is that they can be used to target a particular audience. If a group of users is searching for words and phrases that relate to your business or product offering, then you know they are specifically interested in what you have to offer.
Once you’ve connected with your target market, Instagram gives you the ability to build and maintain relationships too. From replying to comments on your own photos to interacting with images posted by clients or consumers, it is incredibly easy to interact with others on Instagram’s intuitive mobile app.
If you search for hashtags relating to your business and like photos that customers have tagged you in, a solid reputation can be built. As per a social media expert from Group Digital, your audience will appreciate the time you’ve taken to acknowledge their activity and feel reassured there is a human being behind the brand.
So if you haven’t considered using Instagram before, it is probably time to change your way of thinking.