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Instagram: The Potential Benefit for Your Social Media Strategy

Dec 15th 2014

If you’ve been asking yourself whether this image-based social media platform will benefit your brand, read on for an overview and analysis of marketing on Instagram.

Quietly taking over the social scene in an unforeseeable way, Instagram’s reach and influence since its launch in 2010 makes me wonder (as a consumer and as a social media marketing specialist) how a business can see the benefits from setting up an Instagram account. With the social media world becoming more and more visual, and active users of the app growing by the day, Instagram has certainly proved itself worth looking into for brands and marketers alike.

The Positive Side of Signing Up For Instagram

Social media is increasingly becoming more visual. Facebook posts with images tend to get more reach, blogs with more visual content generate more traffic, and seemingly every year a new app or social forum becomes popularized if it involves strictly visual content (i.e. Snapchat). Seeing as best practices for social media marketing dictate including visual content and imagery; why not use Instagram as well? After all, it’s image driven, leads to increased engagement (up to 58 times more per user than Facebook), and can be connected to your other social sites to help generate content on all platforms—instantly beneficial interactivity is created.

Some other benefits of the app include driving awareness, expanding reach, and making your company appear more relevant in the social realm. More than that, with Instagram you have exponential opportunity for branding while building a company’s personality and unique voice with customers. The number of companies that use Instagram are significantly lower than that of ones on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, but businesses that are active on Instagram and use it well can seem young, engaging, and--more importantly--like a real person.

Instagram becomes a peek behind the curtain. In addition to adding a humanizing element, behind the scenes photos, company announcements, and exclusive content shared on Instagram provides the opportunity to subtly advertise products and services and visually show them in action. If you do it right, this medium for sharing your message can seem honest or more real to the consumer. The days of one-way promotions are behind us, increasing engagement and providing new ways to engage with your customers is a huge plus to consider.

When Might Be Better to Hold Off on Instagram

Part of the beauty of the app may also be why a business might decide other areas of the social media digital landscape are more beneficial. Sharing visual content leads to a more dynamic and engaged community for a brand to work with, however, keeping up with the speed of Instagram to achieve this might simply be too difficult.

Best practices for using the app center on timely action. Stay relevant. Be ahead of the curve. From personal experience, when I've been charged with running an Instagram campaign, all posts are uploaded live, in the moment, with a library of back-up posts just in case. From a marketing perspective, organizing enough relevant content ahead of time could be very challenging for some brands. In the same vein, trying to mimic the brand’s identity and voice in the unique, intimate world of Instagram, while not impossible, can be difficult. 

It should also be noted that Instagram may not reach all demographics evenly—it currently has a very specific audience. Young adults or "millennials" are where you will be getting most of your positive results from. If this is not who you want to target, Instagram may be too much of a niche market. If you're not ready to invest the time necessary to successfully launch and maintain an Instagram campaign and organically build your audience among Instagram's most active users, don't spread yourself too thin across multiple platforms. 

Is Instagram Worth It for Your Brand?

It may not be easy to take the plunge, but personally, I believe it's worth it. Social media is important; more so every year. Due to the nature of the beast, there is a lot of work that goes into launching a brand on a new social platform, but I believe the pros of Instagram outweigh the cons and should be tackled. More users are joining each day, and more frequently than on other social sites. Despite perceived difficulties around creating a backlog of visual content, the benefits are worth it. I don't believe Instagram is going anywhere in 2015, and your brand should consider taking advantage of this unique social marketing opportunity.

Looking for a partner with the knowledge and skills to help your brand use Instagram to its fullest potential? Contact our team of social media marketers and strategists today to discuss whether Instagram is the right fit for your brand.

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