Instagram has been one of the hottest growing social media platforms over the past few years, with over 800 million users in 2018. There are over 25 million Instagram business profiles as well, and that number is growing rapidly.
"So what exactly is Instagram?"
Initially created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram is a social media platform that allows you to share photos and videos directly from your mobile device. Once you publish a post, it will appear on your profile. The post will also appear in the news feeds of other users who are following you.
Instagram is very similar to Facebook in many ways. In fact, Facebook actually purchased Instagram in 2012! Both platforms have news feeds made up of people and businesses that you follow and allow you to like and comment on other users' posts. Instagram doesn't have a "friends" feature like Facebook though; it just allows you to "follow" other users and businesses.
Instagram allows you to caption your posts and add hashtags to help other users discover your photo or video. You can also choose from a variety of built-in filters to apply to your photos to increase their aesthetic appeal.
"Interesting...so who exactly uses Instagram?"
Instagram is meant to inspire people by sharing visual content. The platform is a perfect place for artists, photographers, fashion designers, and people in creative industries to showcase their work and find inspiration.
Businesses in creative/artistic industries benefit the most from Instagram compared to other platforms like Facebook or Twitter. We like to think of Instagram as the halfway point between Facebook and Pinterest.
"Okay that's cool and all, but how can my business benefit from using Instagram?"
More and more people are migrating to Instagram every day, especially younger generations in urban locations: a hot demographic for many businesses. Instagram allows your company to share new products, company events, deals/promotions, and visually tell your story.
Instagram also provides an excellent place to engage with customers and fans. Your business can answer customer questions and deliver valuable content to your target audience.
"That sounds great! What are some ideas on how to use Instagram's features to help my business?"
1) Run a contest or giveaway
Instagram is a perfect place to host a giveaway for your fans! These types of posts generally lead to high amounts of engagement and are a superb way to promote your brand.
2) Use Instagram Stories
Instagram rolled out their Instagram Stories feature in 2016, allowing you to post stories similar to Snapchat. Creating stories is a unique way for your company to show its human side and brings customers "behind the scenes."
3) Pin Story Highlights to the top of your profile
Instagram added the Story Highlights feature in 2017, allowing you to save your favorite stories. These stories appear at the top of your profile. You can use this feature to pin your best video content to the top of your page - an excellent first impression to new visitors!
4) Utilize Instagram ads/sponsored posts
Instagram has an algorithm that is pretty similar to Facebook's. Businesses on both platforms have seen a decrease in the amount of reach/engagements on their posts. Don't worry, Instagram ads have come to save the day. You can run targeted ad campaigns on Instagram to reach your niche audience. You can gain new followers, promote new products, and even drive people to your website!
We expect Instagram to remain a powerful social media platform over the next few years. We recommend considering Instagram as part of your social media strategy, especially if you have visual content that will inspire your audience. Are you using Instagram for your business?
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