The Covid-19 pandemic has inherently changed the way that people shop. As most of us remained inside, we’ve turned online for the majority of our retail needs. Social media has fed those needs, providing us with places to buy clothes, groceries, and even random household items.
Now, this isn’t necessarily anything new. For years, social media has provided a fantastic platform for marketing. Studies show that 53.6% of the world’s population use social media, providing a wide and diverse audience for businesses.
Social media has shifted. It’s no longer just a way to connect with other people. It allows us to connect with businesses in a way that we couldn’t before. New social platforms such as Tiktok appear every day to fill gaps in the market. This constant development creates new and innovative ways to market to audiences and meet their needs.
But did you know that the social media platforms we are already familiar with are changing too?
How is Instagram Changing?
Instagram is a perfect example of changing social platforms.
Instagram was a revolutionary app in terms of the way people perceived social media. It began as a photo sharing app in 2010 and went on to change the way people presented themselves online.
The visual nature of the app opened the door for influencer marketing. It allowed users brand themselves through the way they aestheticized their lives. From the jump, this set Instagram up to be the best social media platform to connect businesses with their followers.
However, the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that the app would be ‘”trying to build new experiences primarily in four areas — creators, videos, shopping and messaging” as of late June 2021. The focus on video especially shows a lean towards capitalising on the popularity of video-sharing apps like Tiktok.
While there is a lot changing about Instagram, it is still primarily product focused. The shift to focusing on aspects like shopping and videos is beneficial to this.
These changes can, for example, make the customer experience with businesses more personal. It feels like more of a one-to-one connection, allowing small businesses to show more personality and ethos behind what they do.
Why Should I Market on Instagram?
According to eMarketer, Instagram is estimated to have 1.074 billion users worldwide in 2021. The potential audience for small businesses is huge. Instagram also has incredibly deep and high engagement. Despite a marked decrease over the last year, Instagram engagement stats by social media type show the engagement rates are still the highest on this platform.
This level of engagement serves to provide a great platform for direct feedback from your customers. Knowing your customers allows you to create a realistic customer model. This means you can tailor your marketing strategy accordingly to best address the needs of your audience.
The visual nature of Instagram is a huge draw for marketing. Images and videos are the most effective way of selling your products to customers. This is due to the fact that posts with images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. Visual content is easier for audiences to share and can increase your reach beyond a single platform.
Another useful tool for marketing on Instagram is the benefits of a business Instagram account. They give you access to multiple Instagram analytics, such as:
- Showing impressions and reach for posts
- Appropriate contact information, such as a physical business address, a phone number, and an email address
- Website and email click throughs
- Changes in followers and the detailed demographics of these followers
- The ability to advertise on Instagram
This makes it easier for businesses to identify what areas of their marketing strategy they need to focus on.
Tips to Increase Engagement
Post consistently. Retain and encourage engagement by posting about your business consistently. Your followers will begin to anticipate your posts and be more likely to engage with them. It will increase your visibility through the algorithm and be more likely to appear at the top of your followers’ feeds.
Create an authentic following. Don’t buy followers! Despite how beneficial it may seem; this doesn’t actually create engagement. It makes you look fake and out of touch. The Instagram algorithm can also actually identify a fake following, and this will negatively impact your account reach accordingly.
Use influencer and user generated content. Statistically, influencer marketing yields the best results on Instagram. Similarly, user generated content is more trusted by customers. Repost other people’s photos of your products, their reviews, or get them to engage in hashtag trends.
Tag the individuals and let product testimonies speak for themselves. Studies show that brand engagement increased an average of 28% when user-generated visuals and professional content are both used for promotion.
Utilise ‘carousels’. According to research by Hootsuite, image carousels pull 3x the engagement and 1.4x the reach of other post types. Carousels can be used in many waysYou can use them to show products in more detail or even show the making of the product in step-by-step. It can also be used to show fun elements of the business, such as fun packaging and any freebies it may include.
Watch your hashtags! There can be too much of a good thing. It is proven that engagement decreases for posts with six or more hashtags. The sweet spot for hashtags is around five or six, so make sure you use them wisely. Choose less saturated, relevant hashtags to draw customers towards your business.
As society exists more and more online, it makes sense to showcase your business to netizens. A whopping 90% of Instagram users follow a business profile. Therefore, by making yourself available online, there is a great chance for you to successfully expand your small business on the platform!
Consistency and being genuine is the key for succeeding on Instagram. This is especially true in terms of best utilising the algorithm in order to reach as many people as possible.
If you’re ready to get started marketing on Instagram and would like to learn how we can help with this, check out our services here at Floodmaker.
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