Getting started with Instagram – part 1

By diversifying your social media marketing efforts, you can reach new audiences and get even more exposure for your brand. Instagram is another big platform that many businesses are experiencing great success on. But is it right for you?

While Instagram is relatively small compared to Facebook, it still has tons of users and bags of potential. With 800 million monthly active users and 500 million daily users, Instagram could just be what your social media marketing game plan needs.

Purchased by Facebook back in 2012, Instagram is an Internet-based photo- and video-sharing application/service. Like Pinterest, Instagram is visual-centric, so if you want to be successful on it and attract lots of followers, you’re going to need gorgeous, high-quality images.

Is Instagram really right for your business?

First and foremost, there is no point in spending time and effort on a social media network if it’s not going to bring you a return on your investment. That’s why you need to have a really good idea of where your ideal customers are hanging out online.
For example, research shows us that the Instagram user base is predominantly female and 90% are under 35 years old. So, if your ideal customers are older men, Instagram probably isn’t the best place to invest your time.

This is why it’s absolutely vital you know who your ideal customer is before you begin any social media marketing activities.

Aside from the demographics, the other consideration when deciding if Instagram is right for your business is its aesthetic nature.
Stunning visuals and plenty of hashtags make Instagram great for building a brand voice, boosting awareness and driving engagement.

But did you know that Instagram has some limitations that you don’t find on most of the other social networks?
For example, you cannot put URLs (links) in Instagram posts or comments. Well, you can, but they aren’t clickable, which just makes them look a bit spammy. In fact, the only place Instagram allows a clickable link is in your bio section, making it the perfect place to add your business website or your latest blog post.

With no links in posts, you need to view Instagram as a platform that primarily helps your business connect with its customers and allows you to tell your brand story. Not one that’s going to drive significant amounts of traffic/referrals to your business website, landing page or blog.

Understand Instagram’s place in your marketing mix

Digital marketing (including social media marketing) is a part of your overall business marketing mix. Okay, so it’s a very significant part nowadays for many companies, but it’s still crucial that your digital marketing efforts complement your more traditional marketing campaigns and strategies.

Having mentioned that Instagram has a predominantly female audience; a huge proportion of its users are <35; and it’s completely reliant on gorgeous visuals, is it a potentially lucrative platform for your business?

Unfortunately, only you can answer that question. Social media experts can help you weigh up the options and suggest alternative social solutions that may be a better fit, but you are the ultimate decision maker.

While I said that you should never waste time on social media platforms that aren’t right for your business, there’s no better way to decide than actually test the platform for yourself.

Nothing’s stopping you creating an account and seeing how the platform functions before you make a decision on whether it should be part of your marketing mix. Just don’t spend days sussing it out. You’ll know very quickly if it’s right for you and your business.

In my next post in this series, I’ll be going over the basics associated with creating an Instagram account. I’ll be also sharing an overview of some of the platform’s more powerful features, such as Instagram Stories and Facebook ad/post integration.

Continue reading about Instagram marketing for small businesses here: Getting started with Instagram – part 2.