Businesses look at Instagram, and all social media, as a double-edged sword. It can be a very attractive platform to engage your audience, promote your brand, and help convert customers, but it’s also capable of bringing the fury of the entire Internet down on you if you’re not careful about what you post. That unpredictability gives buttoned-down businesses pause when they consider using social media platforms like Instagram for business, but it shouldn’t. Instagram is as useful as you want to make it for increasing customer engagement, and its simple interface makes it easy to deliver a steady stream of content that you and your company can be proud of.
The whole idea behind Instagram is a quick and easy interface for posting a steady stream of content. If you’re got a vision in your mind’s eye of cropping pictures in Photoshop on a desktop computer and then typing your content into a WYSIWYG editor, you might dread starting another time sink information stream for your business. Instagram’s not like that. It’s optimized for instant smartphone photography, with quick and easy cropping, filters, and a dab of text if you want. You can even upload videos, so you can look at Instagram as more of a replacement for other plodding media platforms than a new bucket of extra work.
It Can Be The One Site To Rule Them All
It’s getting tiresome to look after handfuls of the media platforms that you’re using to push your marketing strategy out to the world. If the idea of adding another fills you with dread, you should still consider Instagram. Instagram plays well with others, and you can gang-post your content via your Instagram account to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, and a handful of other sites if you like. Instead of adding time and expense to your social media strategy, you can streamline it with Instagram. Facebook purchased Instagram, so you can expect them to be especially well-integrated going forward.
You Can Go Past Nationwide
If you’re like a lot of businesses, your customer base is limited only by your marketing budget. If you’re trying to speak to an audience that reaches past the United States, Instagram is a terrific way to expand your reach. Over 65 percent of Instagram users live outside the United States. Instagram is uniquely positioned to overcome any language barrier that might be a problem with text-heavy sites. Pictures are universal.
You Can Get Your Customers Into The Act
The explosion of Internet sites that attract user reviews and commentary make it harder than ever to deal directly with your customers. The days of customers emailing attaboys directly to their favorite businesses are mostly over. Customers have become standalone marketing personalities in their own right, and have a tendency to treat their opinions as to their own, and like to have control over them. You can get over this hurdle by featuring pictures of your customers on your Instagram feed. If you feature particular customers that embody your target audience, you can improve your connection with your entire audience through them. Running contests is easy on Instagram, and featuring winners makes you a hero to the winners and your subscribers.
You Can Connect On A Personal Level
Research shows that people will click on a link with a person’s face next to it more often than one that does not. That phenomenon is a very powerful reason to use Instagram to tell your story. Pictures of you, your staff, your stores or offices, your customers, or anything else that shows off the personality of your business is bound to hold people’s interest much more readily than big blocks of text on About pages. People love inside info about what goes on at a business, so there’s no need to limit yourself to the front of the counter, either. Photos of real people doing real things will deepen customer engagement. Website developers advise people to put so-called trust badges on their websites to give people a feeling of security when looking at an ecommerce site. Pictures of real people at your business deliver ten times the effect that any BBB badge ever could.
It’s your turn!
Are you currently on Instagram? Do you use it primarily for business or for social engagement? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings about this. Please feel free to leave your comments below!