11 Sep What do you mean “We’re not on Instagram”?
Since Mark Zuckerberg invited 250 of the top advertising and marketing executives to Facebook around ten years ago, companies have been heavily involved in social media. At the time, Facebook’s turnover was about $150m a year (which they now make in less than two days) and people were concerned that making money via Facebook would be too difficult. Zuckerberg’s pitch worked, and everybody from Coca-Cola to Blockbuster Video signed up.
Since then we’ve seen multiple social networks launch, most notably Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+; it’s entirely unsurprising that a lot of companies don’t feel like they can maintain a presence on every social network and actually get something out of it. It seems, however, that a lot of companies are writing off Instagram as ‘not worth it’ without thinking about how worth it it could be!
Firstly, don’t misunderstand Instagram’s audience. 90% of users are under 35, nearly half of all users follow brands and one-third of US teens state it’s their ‘most important’ social network. Users who aren’t encumbered by mortgages and have either young families or no children have greater levels of disposable income – and they’re happy to buy via mobile, shortening the gaps in the decision making process for purchases.
If you also consider how your potential customers use Instagram, it makes for interesting reading. Engagement with brands is around 10 times higher than Facebook and 84 times higher than on Twitter; essentially users are looking for brands that give them something interesting, rewarding or stimulating and are much happier to reward something they find pleasing.
For those of you concerned about Instagram being another ‘social media upstart’ then that kind of thinking is very 2011. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for a cool $1bn, as Instagram was rapidly eating into Facebook’s userbase. It’s also the only social media platform whose numbers are seeing significant growth thanks to an increase in new users via the improvements in smartphone camera technology. Even Instagram’s closest competitor, Snapchat, has failed to sufficiently monetize its product, losing over $500m in 2016.
Your message also stands a better chance of getting through on Instagram – compare 700 million Instagram users posting and reviewing exclusively photographs, compared with 2 billion Facebook users sharing memes, videos, personal updates, political opinion pieces and those never ending Candy Crush requests, and you’ll find Instagram a lot less overcrowded. Just by making use of good content, you’ll find your posts could be a lot more successful.
Obviously Instagram isn’t of use for everybody; firstly, you need a physical product to sell. If you’re a brewery, you can show shots of your beer, the brewing process, people enjoying themselves with your product, the bottling line… the list is almost endless. If you’re an insurance company, you can’t use insurance documents in the same way and would have to be much more creative in finding visual output!
Even if you think that your product appeals to a more ‘mature’ audience than appears on Instagram, it’s worth remembering that the demographics are changing. At one point, Instagram users were almost exclusively young women, but there’s been a surge of male users – and the 20-something women who first downloaded Instagram at its launch in 2010 have matured into their thirties. Having your brand with a well-established presence on Instagram ready for the ageing social media user could be an incredibly shrewd bit of planning for the future!