What is Instagram and why is it so important?
According to a January 2015 article on Recode, the Pew Research Internet Project announced that month that Instagram was the fastest growing social network of 2014. Not only that, but its meteoric rise during the year was the biggest jump in users seen in any social media network ever… and that includes the most popular ones like Facebook and Twitter.
The research found that 26% of the adult population was now using Instagram, and that more than half of those ages 18 to 29 were using it. And this is just users in the United States. According to a report by research firm L2, the US accounts for only about 40% of users worldwide.
While Facebook is still the most-used social network with about 70% of the US population using it, the study says that while Instagram shot upward, Facebook saw little or no growth.
Instagram is a visual content social media network that’s a powerful tool for brand building and reaching new customers. It harnesses the power of both social media and visual content. Brands can use Instagram to stand out from their competition and build strong, long-lasting relationships with their customers.
What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media site like Facebook and Twitter. What makes it unique is that it’s image-based. Instead of making posts or tweets, you share images and videos. Your friends and followers can share, comment on, and interact with this visual media.
Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is enormously popular.
Instagram is a goldmine for brands. In fact, brands account for 40% of the top 1,000 most-shared videos on Instagram. Engagement is the key to branding, and a 2013 study by research firm L2 found that Instagram offers 25% more engagement than other social media channels.
A large part of the success of Instagram is due to the fact that people naturally connect more with visual media than with text. Even on Facebook and other social media sites, visual content outperforms text-based content. Images are immediate. Visual content can be taken in at a glance. The connection we feel with an image or video is visceral and emotional. This is why visual content is so powerful, and that powerful emotional appeal can be taken advantage of for the benefit of your brand.
Why Use Instagram?
Instagram offers you a way to show rather than just tell. You can show your customers the positive or human side of your business. Take the example of Virgin Mobile, which uses the site to post pictures showing the fun side of their company.
You can use Instagram to show off your valued employees or the inside aspects of your company. This is a way to spread your company culture, humanize your business, and make it more fun. Furthermore, this can attract more of the same valuable employees who already understand your corporate culture before they’re even hired.
As the statistics above state, Instagram is not only popular but also highly engaging for users. It’s a perfect venue for direct interaction between a brand and its customers.
Instagram can be used to update your customers on the latest news about your company or things that interest them. It can be a kind of news feed that disseminates information that’s interesting, entertaining, new, or exciting.
Every bit of visual content shared on Instagram gives you an opportunity to create a personal connection with your customers.
The visual nature of Instagram even breaks down language barriers. With around 60% of Instagram’s users outside of the United States, it offers opportunities for expanding brand awareness beyond borders.
Although it’s not for all businesses, most businesses have some type of visual content they can share. Obviously, a restaurant, tourist organization, or design company have visual content to share. But if you get creative, any type of business can find good visuals.
The first step is to get an Instagram account set up. Use the site for a while and you’ll get a feel for how it works. Follow your competitors and favorite brands to see how they use it and what kind of response their activities get from their customers.