Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has revolutionized the world of social media. From there until now, its loyal users have closely followed its evolution from a simple photo-sharing app to the massive platform it is today. In this guide to digital marketing on Instagram, we'll walk you through all the reasons you should be on Instagram.
Plus, we'll give you some useful tips for building your Instagram strategy, setting goals, and delivering results.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a photo and video sharing service originally created for smartphones.
Since its inception in 2010, the platform has risen in popularity, especially among millennials.
Instagram marketing is how brands use Instagram to connect with their target audience and market their offerings.
It has recently gained popularity as an exciting method for brands to showcase their cultures, recruit new employees, engage with customers, and showcase products in a new light.
Similar to Facebook and Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed.
Users can interact with each other by following, being followed, private messages and commenting or liking photos or videos.
The in-app filters and editing options that Instagram offers make the app unique because it was the first app to offer in-app editing to that extent.
Instagram allows users to upload photos and videos to their profile and edit them with various options.
Instagram hosts dozens of unique filters that users can add to their photos.
These preset filters make various changes to your photos, including adding light, giving the image a warm or cool tone, increasing or decreasing the saturation, and more.
Additionally, users can edit images directly on the platform instead of using a third-party photo editor.
If they don't like a particular filter, they can use Instagram's editing feature to individually change contrast, brightness, structure, warmth, saturation, sharpness and more.
Digital Marketing on Instagram: How to Use Instagram for Business
Now that we know what Instagram is, we have to ask: why should we use it?
There are dozens of social media platforms for marketers to choose from, with each offering different features, opportunities and nuances.
For marketers, it's about understanding where your audience lives and what platform will best allow you to reach them.
With the growing popularity of Instagram marketing in recent years, the value is clear. If the features listed above didn't convince you of Instagram's appeal, it could: The photo-sharing app recently celebrated 1 billion monthly active users.
More importantly, these users are incredibly engaged, with over 60% logging in every day.
And that's not all. In this section, we'll discuss the many other reasons marketers are turning to Instagram to reach old and new audiences.
Instagram's high engagement levels
More than 60% of Instagram users log in every day. Do you know what that means? Your customers may already be using Instagram to get in touch with you or to talk about your business without you even knowing about it!
In fact, 75% of Instagram users take action after seeing a business post. That is, they might look for the product, tell a friend about it, or even buy your product or service.
If you've gone through your Instagram feed recently, you've seen at least one post of a tasty meal from the trendy restaurant that just opened up your street.
In fact, you've probably seen a lot more than just a post like this. It's a fact – people love sharing their best life on Instagram.
If you work in a sophisticated, trendy restaurant or stylish boutique, chances are your offer has already been the subject of a customer's Instagram post! Find more engagement opportunities by interacting with customers who have tagged you, and don't forget to tag people on Instagram posts you share too.
These are great opportunities to engage with your customers, but they can be missed if you're not on the platform they're happening on.
As Instagram has over 1 billion active users, it's no wonder why people are taking advantage of the advertising opportunity the platform offers.
Did you know that 2,2% of Instagram users interact with an ad? This outperforms all social networks, with Facebook coming in second at 0,22%.
Whether you're a small business or a large company, learning to advertise on Instagram will be nothing but beneficial when you're trying to broaden your audience.
Instagram reaches new audiences through hashtags
When you add a hashtag to your post, it creates a link that takes you to each post that was shared with that hashtag.
That's why it's essential to leverage hashtags to increase your ROI for the platform.
You don't want to overdo it (between five and 10 hashtags in a given post is a good rule of thumb), but taking advantage of popular and related hashtags will make your brand easier to discover.
Something as simple as leveraging trending hashtags can be an effective aspect of your Instagram marketing strategy.
Create content for your other marketing channels
If you're a free-time social media marketer, you understand the struggle to keep content across all of your various social media channels up-to-date, relevant, and compelling.
This can be even more difficult when it comes to providing images for your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
As marketers, we know that social media users love a visual post.
In fact, they regularly see more engagement than text-only posts.
However, we don't want to put a stock photo with every Facebook status or include an image in a tweet just to have an image.
What is so unique and valuable about Instagram is that it allows you to simultaneously create content for your other marketing channels. You can save images and reuse them later, or link your Instagram account to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and share them directly.
Instagram Digital Marketing Demographics
While almost anyone can be found on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform is especially popular with millennials.
Almost 60% of fans aged 18 to 29 use Instagram, which is why trendy stores and restaurants do so well.
If millennials aren't your target audience, don't walk away from Instagram just yet. Since its launch, the platform has continued to gain popularity among older age groups.
In fact, 33% of those aged 30-49 and 18% of those aged 50-64 are active on the platform – two numbers that iterate the idea that the platform really is for everyone.
Instagram also sees users from various local demographics. Unsurprisingly, 39% of adults living in urban areas use Instagram. However, the platform is also home to 31% of adults living in rural areas and 28% of adults living in suburban areas.
When selecting your content, keep one thing in front of your mind: Does my audience want to see this?
If the answer is no, then you don't have to totally abandon the idea! Just tweak and adapt until it's a frame your audience is interested in.
Digital Marketing on Instagram: How to Measure Instagram Results
Measuring success with your social media campaigns is especially important as success looks different on each platform.
In the next few topics, we'll highlight some key Instagram metrics that will help you determine if your strategy is working toward your goals or falling apart.
Follower growth rate
Boasting lots of followers on Instagram can be a great indicator of your organization's success on the platform. If that number doesn't continue to grow, you may not be expanding your reach as much as you'd like to be.
On a similar note, most people might think that if you don't have a lot of followers, you're not doing well.
This may be true in some cases, but if you have a high growth rate, you can be well on your way to success. That's why tracking your growth rate is as important as your actual number of followers.
Your follower growth rate is a percentage that you can calculate by dividing how many new followers you get over a period (say a month) by how many followers you had at the beginning of that period.
Getting a ton of likes per post is flattering, of course, but when it comes to Instagram, comments are key.
Comments indicate engagement, which is the main objective. Anyone can double-tap a photo, but it takes time to think and type a comment.
If a follower is willing to spend that time in your organization, then congratulations! Its content resonated with them.
More importantly, Instagram's algorithm recognizes comments as a stronger engagement than likes.
And because Instagram's algorithm ranks posts in your feed based on engagement levels, receiving more comments will lead to your post being higher in your followers' feeds.
Engagements by Instagram Follower
As we mentioned above, followers are an important metric, but they're not the end of your entire Instagram marketing strategy.
If you have a lot of followers but not a ton of likes or comments on your posts, you could be in trouble.
That's why we look at the metric that tells your engagement relative to the size of your audience – engagements per follower.
To calculate your commitments per follower, divide the number of likes or comments on a post by the number of followers you had at the time of the post.
Digital Marketing on Instagram: Engaging Instagram Stories
This metric is a little more complicated as there are a few ways you can look at this number. Whenever you post stories on Instagram, be sure to check how many people are seeing.
If you post more than one then it's also important to see how many people are clicking all the way. If 100 people see the first slide of your Instagram story, but only 10 people click through to the end, there's probably something you can improve next time.
Also, you can see how many followers are interacting when you post survey-like questions. But also how many questions will be asked when you give your followers the opportunity.
You can look at these appointments based on your total number of followers, or based on the total amount of people who see your stories.
Digital Marketing on Instagram: Not on Instagram yet? What are you waiting for?
I hope this guide has made you better informed about Instagram and its myriad of marketing opportunities.
This is just one of many types of marketing. Don't forget about other social media platforms!
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