How Instagram Can Connect Customers to Your Business
- December 6, 2017
- By Adam Preston
If you really want a good chuckle — and a healthy dose of “fake news” — just do a simple Google search of the state of today’s top social media platforms. Rumors abound on the longevity or health of each platform, and Instagram is the latest to be overrun with concern.
“Is Instagram Losing Popularity?”
“Is Instagram Dead?”
“Instagram is Losing Users by the Thousands”
Gossip aside, one thing we know is that more than 400 million people are on Instagram, and a recent study shows that Instagram will be used by 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. by 2020.
What makes it so popular? First, let’s take a look at some of the platform’s benefits:
1. Instagram allows you to network more efficiently.
Some folks will tell you that Instagram followers aren’t as easy to attract as Facebook fans, but they are easier to convert to loyal contacts once you get them.
If that’s true, so be it, but don’t let the slow pace to a large fan base discourage you from jumping headfirst into the Instagram pool.
To build your brand’s page, first convert it to a business profile (a few easy clicks in the settings tab). A business profile will allow you to track your progress and efficiently monitor what’s working and what’s not with some very useful analytics functions.
From there, build the page by connecting your account to your brand’s Facebook page. (Facebook thought enough of Instagram to buy it for $1 billion in 2014.)
Next, work diligently to build your fan base. The strength of a brand is all about its image. Some brands want everyone to flock to them with no reciprocity.
That’s a mistake. You’ll find yourself with more engaged users if you show that you truly care about them; that means following them back.
Engage them further by liking their posts and even commenting a time or two (when relevant). This puts a human face on your brand’s page and builds brand affinity way better than just slapping photos and videos up on your page a few times a day without ever checking in. Engaged followers will lead to more business leads, whether that’s customers are business partners.
2. Instagram helps you show (not so much tell) your story.
Instagram is popular because of its ease of use. It doesn’t require much thought or effort to post content, view content and interact with other like-minded individuals. It’s also (mostly) free of the political drama we see on other sites like Facebook and Twitter. This platform is purely visual. No real space here to rant about the elections or drone on and on with “expert” opinions on this, that and the other thing.
With Instagram, you tell your story with photos (and now videos). This story can be the here-and-now (like Twitter) or special upcoming events (Facebook). Savvy users are now using the enhanced video function to bring these story-telling efforts to life. Thankfully, and probably intentionally, Instagram forces users to keep it concise. That’s OK, because on Instagram, you have to wow the users at the very moment they scroll across your content. Another thing about Instagram’s video program is it allows you to not only edit videos within the platform, you can also run them through filters (similar to the super-cool photo filters Instagram is known for).
Showing your story not only excites your fan base, it helps you craft specific messages — fun, factual, informational, etc. The best brands use an all-encompassing content strategy that engages customers and at the same time gives them immediate access to customer service specialists.
3. Instagram helps build closer B2B relationships.
A common mistake among businesses is to get so caught up in the end result (sales) that they forget about the bigger picture. Social media is not “every man or woman for him or herself.” It takes a large community to build a business and keep it healthy. Don’t view your social media pages as a death match between you and your competitors. Use them as bridges to partnerships. Share each other’s content. Team up on themed events. Point out the strengths of your partners; even provide education on brand history.
The more content you provide and the more partisan you become, the more your fans will embrace your brand. You will attract more fans (and customers) if you are viewed as someone who unites, not divides, members from within your community.
If you’ve read this far, you have answered the question in this blog’s headline. Instagram is definitely worth your time, personally and professionally. However, just like any of the other major social media platforms, you can waste a lot of time if you don’t have a defined purpose or strategic approach. Harness the tools and strategies that are available at your fingertips, dedicate staff and resources to them, and always monitor the end results.
Done correctly, an Instagram page will strengthen your business by improving customer service and building brand loyalty.