If Facebook is the father of social media marketing for businesses, Instagram will be the mother of all social media marketing networks, in no time, thanks to its recent business tools update. These newly launched tools are sure to resonate with businesses across the world, consequently triggering traffic in tens of thousands on their web pages (more on this in a minute). So, it comes as no surprise that several businesses are intending to invest a lion’s share, almost 72%, on Instagram advertising in 2016.

  • Instagram – 72%
  • Facebook – 61%
  • Pinterest – 41%
  • Snapchat – 36%
  • Amazon – 34%

So, if you wish to milk social media for all its marketing worth in 2016, make sure you don’t miss out on this emerging visual powerhouse called Instagram.

Here, thump through some of the rudimentary facts besides the awesome *business profile* feature update which is sure to make Instagram the social media network of choice for both big and small businesses.

1. Worldwide Internet Users are Spending More Time on Instagram, besides  Facebook and Google+

You know what? Instagram has got 430 million users world over, making it the third most frequented social media platform today. Facebook with 1.6 billion users and Google + with 440 million users rank first and second.

Instagram’s image content is impressionable. So, there’s no escaping the fact that businesses, heavily relying on various image-centric networks for the promotion of their products, will be milking it for all its marketing worth. Specifically, the fashion houses with their need to keep posting interesting stuff on their upcoming designer wears.

2.  Facebook is Old and Overused, Instagram offers Ready-made Audience  

There are about 50 million small business pages on Facebook.  And about 41% of small businesses in the U.S. alone use Facebook.  So, it’s like crabs in the bucket scenario, with every business trying to outdo the other and trying to make a case out of it. With Facebook obsession at its peak, Instagram is only receiving a lukewarm response from businesses. In fact, according to a survey by emarketer, only 9% of the small businesses are using Instagram.

That said, such low user base should come as a good news for small businesses, partly because competition will be next-to-zero, and mostly because they’ll get the ready-made benefit of an audience for their products and services.

3. Fashion Brands Are Leveraging the Power of Visual  Content

For fashion brands – big and small — Instagram is the social media platform of choice. In fact, during fashion months, the usage goes up significantly. During the last season, from February 12, 2015, to March 12, 2015, fashion week images got 140 million likes and comments, according to Instagram.

“An image on Instagram can define your collection,” says Eva Chen, Instagram’s head of fashion partnerships.  Louis Vuitton has attracted more than 6.6 million followers on Instagram. Victoria Beckham: 6.6 million. Chanel: 6.3 million. While small businesses might be punching below their weight, big fashion brands are punching above their weight on Instagram. So, here’s a goldmine of opportunity for small businesses to make their presence felt on this highly image dominant site.

4. Visual Content Varieties Draws in More Users than Text

If anything, a content gets more eyeballs, not in spite of visuals, but because of the visuals.  And if a colored visual is used, it’s just an added bonus. According to a recent research, a visual with colors calls for  a double take.  People read content with colored visuals at least 80% of the time.

Further, any content paired with visuals helps people retain 65% of the information even after three days of reading it, while in the case of plain content, people tend to retain just 10%. All these stats go on to prove the potential power of Instagram.  Today, you can use different types of visual content, including infographics, image quotes, videos, short tutorials and things like that to make your visual content strong.

5. Easily Convert Visitors Into Customers, Thanks To The Recent Tools Added

The newly launched Instagram features, such as Business Profiles, Business Insights and the Promote Button (Action or Buy button) is sure to bring the audience and businesses close like never before

The Business Profile feature will be helping businesses who invariably wanted to differentiate their accounts from the regular accounts, and might come with a contact button helping visitors call text and email businesses.

Instagram

So, now if the visitor likes a designer wear, he or she can contact the business owner on an immediate basis via the profile page and make inquiries, or directly order the item.

Instagram insights for business will give valuable information in terms of who your followers are and which posts are doing better within the mobile app.

Instagram

The Promote Button feature allows businesses to select an already shared Instagram post and add a button to it encouraging potential customers to take action.

Instagram

 6. Instagram Boasts of Highest Conversion Rates Among all Social Media Networks

Instagram is not meant to convert leads into sales.  However, its ablility to generate high conversion rates, is turning out to be its biggest plus point.  As per Shopify’s research, for every 100 visitors that visits your site via Instagram, one definitely ends up making a purchase. And this conversion rate is considered to be the 4th best among all social networking sites.

7. Instagram Content Can Be Posted Across Social Networks

Besides Instagram, there are several other social media sites that feed on visual content. Say, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and more.  Businesses can upload the same Instagram images for all these images-centric networks, thereby, save their labor and energy for other creative pursuits.

8.  Gets You Connected with Other Brands

The best way to learn what your competitors and other brands are doing is by following them on Instagram. For this, you can use a tool called Webstagram or Populagram or IconoSquare for figuring out competitor brands and pertinent hashtags that relate to your brand. Webstagram can also be used to know about popular photos and filters.

9. Gets You Connected with More People 

Spending more time on Instagram means more exposure, more followers and, more importantly, trainloads of marketing insights.

Check out, not just what people in your industry are doing, but try to dope out what the general audience is also doing, in addition to your competitors. In short, find out what sort of pictures they are likely to like and comment. What sort of audience are they likely to engage and follow?

Furthermore, bet on it to find people in your demographic. Initiate engagement with them through likes and comments. If they are interested they’d follow back with likes and comments, which will, in turn, generate value for your business in the long run. Plain and simple.

10. Using Hashtags Attracts Wider Audience  

Hashtags are not just a Twitter’s province anymore. Instagrammers can even use it while posting interesting comments on other’s photos, or when organizing events or contests.

Acting as keywords, it will help users locate pictures, asap. For instance, if you are planning to post recent photos of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference 2016, you can tag these photos as #WWDC2016 or you can comment on them using these hashtags. On the other hand, it also helps organizers to know the total number of entries for a particular event or post.

11. Showcasing Instagram Photos At Live Events Gets You Additional Exposure

Putting your Instagram account on display during various company events and all is one of the best ways to drive more traffic and engagement on your Instagram account.  So whether it’s an exhibition, conference, a family wedding or a friendly rugby game, gain more followers and user engagement by advertising all your social media channels, and this includes Instagram. Further, it’s one of the best ways to source user generated content.

12. 41% of Instagrammers Could be Enticed Through Giveaways and Bonuses

If you are really keen to increase your fan following on Instagram, flood your  feed with special offers, incentives, bonuses and things like that. Followers will automatically increase to take advantage of these offers.

13.  More Exposure via Sponsored Posts and Reviews

Instagramming by itself is good for businesses because it drives traffic and offers some of the best conversion rates for your business. However, you can take it a notch higher, by planning sponsored posts in your niche. For this, you will have to find out larger accounts in your domain who are doing good for themselves. Say, for instance, you are running a small time fashion clothing line, then you need to target larger accounts of fashion bloggers. If you are already following them, then request them to provide you with cost per post. It depends on their fan following, but more or less it will be around $20-$50 per post.

14. Scheduling Posts To Make Sure Only the Best Content is Posted

Nope, you aren’t supposed to post every day on Instagram. Instead, get a detailed account of posts that are doing good, and those that are not, by using a tool called Iconosquare.  The Iconosquare report will also tell you the best times of the day and best days in the week to post.

15: Leverage Instagram Videos to Post Memorable Moments

Instagram’s 15-second, editable videos can be used to create product reviews,  share news on important milestones, upcoming events, brand building objectives and so on. You can then post these videos on your company’s Facebook pages to reach 1.6 billion users or on your blog or website for promotional purposes.

Rounding Up   

These are some of the several good reasons why businesses, specifically the smaller ones, should target Instagram for their marketing purposes. As time goes by, I am sure, Facebook, who indeed owns the Instagram brand, will be whipping up several more business-friendly features, like the Business Profile feature, which will give other social media networks a run for their money. If any other amazing Instagram feature crosses your mind, do jog your fingers a little and add them in the comment box below.

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