Social media marketing might be fairly new, but it’s not difficult to prove it generates some form of ROI. Digital engagement can lift your brand visibility, generate leads and ultimately evolve into a measurable corporate asset. That’s why companies of all shapes and sizes have flocked to the big players like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are literally billions of potential followers to be gained – and if your small business is able to reach just one percent of those would-be customers, the financial benefits are staggering.
But believe it or not, there are actually much better places to engage with your target audience.
Most businesses don’t put a lot of time or effort into Instagram. In fact, a majority of businesses have probably never even considered joining up. The rapidly growing site is aesthetically based, and revolves solely around imagery. So, if your company hasn’t got any hard products to take pretty pictures of, it sounds like an utter waste of time. But you should think twice before shunning Instagram – here’s three reasons why:
1. Instagram offers better engagement
According to researchers, 71 percent of online adults are plugged into Facebook. By comparison, just 26 percent of web users claim membership on Instagram. Yet that modest group of Instagram users are actually far more likely to monitor and share your content. For every one million Facebook fans a company has collected, each post earns around 700 likes, comments or shares. Tweets garner around 300 interactions per one million followers. Instagram delivers an engagement rate of 4.21 percent per follower – meaning the site delivers 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.
Why is engagement so ridiculously high on Instagram? Chances are it’s because the site is a relatively fresh avenue that most brands have yet to explore. It’s only been around for four years, and global brands are only just beginning to recognise its true potential. Microsoft only joined Instagram in November. In turn, it’s fair to assume that users are far more engaged with content on the site because it isn’t riddled with corporate plugs. That being said, it’s also a matter of demographics.
2. Young adults love it
Only a quarter of the web users are active on Instagram – but the truth is, those users are far younger and more tech-savvy than just about any other social media audience on the web. In fact, over half of 18-to-29-year-olds are regularly logging onto Instagram. Meanwhile, around 62 percent of 11-to-16-year-olds use the site. Only a third of those Instagram users regularly troll Twitter, and less than a quarter use Facebook.
What does this tell us? In essence, that mainstream social media has become tainted by a growing user base of untrendy Baby Boomers. Even online, teens and twenty-something want to be where their parents are not. Bearing that in mind, a business model that relies upon the patronage of young adults would do well to place a bit more emphasis on sites like Instagram. This particular market is also far more likely to be accessing your content on the go; therefore, your mobile marketing leads will increase dramatically if you’re plugged into Instagram. That doesn’t mean you can afford to discount activity on older sites like Facebook or LinkedIn. Yet when it comes to social media, you’ve got to follow the herd.
3. Instagram users are shopaholics
Most Facebook users join the site in order to keep tabs on family and reconnect with friends. On Instagram, it’s all about content. Seventy percent of Instagram users say they regularly search for brand content on the site, and just over sixty percent of users admit that they follow a company profile solely because they already love the brand. In turn, Instagram is a ridiculously easy way to consolidate and quantify your company’s brand loyalty. It’s also a great place to earn new followers.
According to researchers at Iconosquare, 41 percent of Instagram users say they would be willing to follow a brand in order to enter a giveaway contest or receive special discounts. That sort of engagement is invaluable to a content marketer, and can generate serious leads using very low-cost incentives.
At the end of the day, Instagram is still an image-based sharing platform – and so your company has got to produce some interesting, original content to try and take advantage of the site’s highly active user base. But in this era of user-generated content, you don’t have to be piling up studio-quality work in order to engage your target audience. Keep it fresh, keep it simple and keep it quirky. So long as you’re providing some form of value to the Instagram community, research suggests that users will flock to your cause.