In April of 2012 Mark Zuckerberg CEO and Founder of Facebook purchased Instagram for a whopping $1 billion: $300 million in cash and $700 million in Facebook stock.
At the time critics were quick to scrutinize the deal. Many believed the photo-sharing app was massively overvalued. But look who’s laughing now. In January of 2017 Instagram enjoyed over 600 million active monthly users worldwide and in New Zealand over 800,000 monthly users.
B2C Businesses: Take Advantage
The best way to think of Instagram is to see it as a digital photo album. If you’re a restaurant owner, travel agent, wine retailer or artist you ought to be engaging regularly on Instagram with examples of your best visual shots.
Perhaps the most attractive part of the platform is the pure simplicity for the user. Profile pages have a simple bio with a link to your website where you can direct traffic and produce leads/sales.
Results can take time and effort. But the encouraging thing is that unlike Facebook you can reach potential customers organically without spending money on advertising.
Just by using the right Hashtags with your content you can reach people by location, interests, age and association.
Once you’ve found the right people you can engage with an online community, provide value to potential leads, and get viral brand recognition.
One of the biggest ways Instagram has changed the world of marketing is in the area of influencers.
As the name suggests, an influencer is someone who has influence with an established audience. The influence may be respect, love, inspiration or information-led.
Businesses who successfully engage with the right influencers can open up a world of opportunity. You can approach influencers for commission on sales, giveaways for brand awareness, or collaboration around content.
The key here is leverage and knowing which audience will be the most valuable to tap into.
To get the ball rolling, you can search out influencers in your local area and Direct Message them with a friendly pitch on how you could work together.
We are starting to see big results in this area for our clients.
Build a True Following
Like any social media platform it’s important to think about quality over quantity. There are cases of fake accounts on Instagram that will follow you and leave comments full of spam.
Delete or block these accounts and focus your attention on real people who will benefit from being in your community. Engagement is the real measure of success not the amount of followers – click throughs, likes, shares, comments and tags.
In direct response to Snapchat’s success, Instagram recently introduced video stories. The trend here is a move away from creating content to documenting the journey.
Stories enable you to document the day-to-day behind the scenes of your business through your smart phone. Customers want to know how you approach your business on a granular level and if they like what they see – good things can happen.
This snackable content is a hugely effective way to stay engaged with your followers.
Related: Social Media Vs Google Adwords
How to Advertise?
Facebook and Instagram are merging closer together with each passing day. Accounts are now linked up to allow your Facebook ads to be shown on Instagram with no extra cost or compromise in reach.
Alternatively, you can advertise directly from Instagram. However, the geo-targeting is not quite as effective as Facebook’s yet. Still, it’s a cheap and effective way to build awareness for your brand.