Instagram for Marketing: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I always feel lucky to have been part of the Facebook family, during such an exciting time in the company’s history and not least during the time when Insta became part of the FB family! So it’s super interesting for me to see from a slight distance how Insta has grown up so quickly and become such a MASSIVE player in the Social media landscape!
But let’s give a balanced view, in this blog, let’s talk about what business should be using Insta, and if so, how do you get the best from it.
- Instagram has always been really well aligned with anything that is visually beautiful, many might say it was originially a photography site, and much of that heritage is still intact. So if your product or service is one that has the potential to be represented beautifully, then you need to be here.
- If your business is aiming to reach 18-35 yr olds – male and/or female, you should absolutely be on Instagram. Those folks are on Facebook , but more passively so, some MIGHT be on Twitter, some MIGHT be on Snapchat, but my money is on Instagram for these folks.
- You can get better organic reach and engagement levels on Instagram than you can on Facebook or Twitter right now – this might change, but at time of writing Instagram gives better reach than most others.
- Using Hashtags and tagging others is an easy and free way to reach people who many not already know your brnad – use them wisely!
- Stories has transformed Instagram – yes I know it wasn’t an original feature of the platform, but arguably, it means that now you have the best of all worlds on Insta – long-lasting content (posts), short-life content (stories), Highlights (Stories you want to make last longer than 24hrs)
- The targeting capability on Instagram is so sophisticated because it’s all built on the Facebook ads platform – it means that it’s got the most sophisticated targeting features of any of the social platforms, but also remember you can now put those ads in front of people on their Insta feed, or in Stories – so many options!
So I’m reluctant to call anything bad, but let’s talk about the challenges for businesses/marketers, and how you can overcome them:
- Instagram is mobile first (this is actually a good thing since that’s how your customers are using the platform), but this creates the challenge that you can only post directly to Instagram from mobile (not desktop). SOLUTION: You can, of course, use a third party tool, Like Buffer or Hootsuite or Agora Pulse, which does allow you to post and schedule all your content from your desktop, through a single account, so no need to worry about having to post from your mobile!
- Instagram doesn’t allow you to link from a standard post to your website.SOLUTION:
- Link in the bio – don’t forget to update the link in the bio to your most pertinent, or latest content, and mention in your post, so your community are reminded to click on the link in the bio.
- Swipe up in stories – If you have 10,000 followers or more , you can provide people the option to click on a link when they Swipe Up on your stories.
- Advertising on Instagrm – if you run ads on Instagram, your ad can link to your website.
- No sharing – There was no “share” button on the original Instagram interface (in the same way you can share on Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Retweet on Twitter).
- You can now share from your feed to your story.This only works, if the person who posted the content originally has a public account, and they’ve allowed sharing of their posts.
- If you want to share a post into your main Instagram (non-stories) feed, then you can use a third party app such as RePost or ReGram which allow you to effectively share a post from another Instagram account, and it attributes credit to the account where the content originated.
- Instagram needs to be visually appealing, so while the quality of the photography is important, it’s also useful to consider what makes a photograph interesting? Can we get closer up? Can we look at the item from a different/unique angle.
- I would also strongly recommend you should aim to show people in your photography. People like People!! Sounds obvious – right. It’s the people in your business who make your business, whether they are employees or customers, or suppliers or partners. it’s super important to be able to bring the human face to your business using social media
Haha Joking – nothing ugly is allowed near Instagram – everything should be as beautiful as possible!!
That being said, if you do have behind the scenes content which is not quite pretty enough to make the grade for your Instagram feed, you could share the update on your stories!! Instagram stories is a great place to share that content that’s a little more raw, a little more behind the scenes, and really authentic!
Remember in any business people really like dealing with PEOPLE, and your Instagram stories are a fantastic way for your customers (or potential) customers to get to know the real you, which can help your customers to trust you, and feel more aligned to your company values.