With the advent of social media in the last ten years, advertising has continued to get smarter and more targeted – seriously, if I see one more thing in a Facebook ad that I happened to search for on Target or Amazon, I will deactivate my account. Not really, but I can attest that the constant push and pull from businesses selling my internet history to fill Facebook ad space gets exhausting. Not to mention how hard it is on my wallet.
With the incredibly wide range of industries we work with in at Webspec we recommend a few basic elements to start your digital marketing journey with, and a Facebook presence tends to be part of that. Facebook is arguably the most popular social media platform for advertising. Even though they started off as an exclusive social network with no room for sales or ads, they essentially invented the concept and sponsored content on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest trailed years behind. This might make it sound like they know what they’re doing and based off the number of purchases I’ve personally made from targeted Facebook ads I think that is, in fact, mostly true. However, it also means that Facebook is highly busy with marketing traffic and other social networks that are more focused on brands never would have come about if people weren’t looking for a little more guidance. Enter Instagram – the social media platform that jumped into the game in 2010 has been the fastest growing channel in the last few years and now has 400 million users worldwide.
You might be thinking, my industry doesn’t really fit in on Instagram, no one is going to find this useful for our brand, or my grandkids are the only ones who use Instagram, not my customers. Think again. Facebook is great and any social media platform you decide to use to market your business should provide value for you, however, don’t push Instagram out of the ring just yet. It might just be more profitable than you think.
Reasons to try Instagram in your digital marketing plan in 2016:
According to an infographic created by Selfstartr, 36% of marketers are currently using Instagram to promote their brand versus the 93% that use Facebook. Meaning there is still time to launch your brand presence on what users still find a refreshing change of pace for social media. This also means that there is still plenty of time for your brand to establish a strong presence, refine your look and feel, and grow your follower base so you can remain ahead of the digital marketing wave.
68% of Instagram users engage regularly with brands they follow compared to 32% of Facebook users. Engaged followers are worth on average $10 more per order and brand posts have 58 times more engagement per follower. More money and more engagement? Priceless. It’s a fresh way to visually display what you do.
Whether you design garage doors, paint houses, install security systems, or build websites, visually appealing to your users is one of the best ways to gain new customers and build trust with existing ones. Users on Instagram naturally come to the platform with the expectation to look at imagery; your followers are going to be much more likely to look at what you’re sharing here than anywhere else. On Instagram you can use visual content to immediately capture your audience’s attention, whereas Facebook’s content is a mixture of text, photos, statuses, and articles so it’s harder to decide where to focus.
According to data from Sprout Social, 53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram, 25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram, and 11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram. Depending on who you are trying to reach in your industry, Instagram engagement for your brand might not be as far out of reach as you think.
Facebook started out as a place to exclusively connect with friends who went to the same college. With that in mind, the Facebook we see today that is full of ads, suggested pages, and things your friends liked two weeks ago, is not one that was built on a foundation of brand promotion.
Because of it’s simplified and chronological layout, you have the potential to organically reach all of your followers with a single post rather than Facebook which only has a 6% organic reach and is cluttered with ads, status updates, and random page suggestions. Instagram grabs your users’ attention and puts all the focus on your brand and your products. Facebook tends to be a fly trap for miscellaneous content from other social networks.
Organically speaking, Instagram is the way to go.
Instagram’s UX is excellent for gaining your audience’s attention and keeping it there – if even for a split second. The design in such that you get one photo, which is the primary focus, and maybe a caption, so even if users are just looking for a taste of what their followers are doing, you have ample opportunity to connect with them each and every time you post. The great thing is there is little to no distraction from your brand’s content.
Another thing to think about is that Instagram’s design is much less overwhelming than Facebook’s; once the older audience members on Facebook catch on to this and realize how usable it is, experts are predicting a fairly large increase in that demographic’s presence on Instagram.
Instagram and Facebook, just like most other social media giants, play really nicely together. This makes it easy to use a solid foundation that you’ve created on Facebook and gain followers on Instagram. Get some really high quality images or video of your products, services, office, and employees, and entice your Facebook followers over to your Instagram feed.
Not that you would have to, but if you feel like trying out some paid ads on Instagram you now have that ability. Facebook practically requires you to boost a post or target an ad to actually connect with your followers, but Instagram seamlessly integrates them with the rest of your feed, making them much less obtrusive. With purchases on Instagram being about $10 higher on average than Facebook, why not test it out?
I’ll be honest, I’m in my twenties and I still don’t understand the purpose of a hashtag on Facebook. Twitter, yes; Facebook, no. Hashtags on Instagram, on the other hand, are visually displayed so it’s much easier to look at a topic and connect with others who are also interested in that.
While it is their largest user base currently, Instagram doesn’t just have to be for teenagers. Keep in mind, these users will eventually grow up and need your services, so you want to be there when they do. The thing to keep in mind about Instagram is the rapid growth, the expanding user base, the simplicity of the design, and the ability to connect with each and every follower you have every time you post. It’s a low cost, low effort way to start to build your brand and get ahead of the rest of the digital marketing world.
Is Instagram working well for your business? Let us know in the comments.