If you're a small business owner asking why Instagram is right for you, then you're in the right place. Let's unpack why you should use Instagram in this post. From storytelling tools to the engagement it brings – and even application to local businesses, we'll look at 7 ways you should get on Instagram for business.
BY DONNA MORITZ | UPDATED 22 NOVEMBER, 2019
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Have you discovered Instagram yet for your business? I can just about guarantee that you have considered it at some stage .. if you're not on there already. Put it this way, I'd be surprised if you were sitting here thinking “Insta-who?”.
Instagram is everywhere and its features are evolving on a daily basis. Features that, in my opinion, are perfect marketing tools for Small Business owners using social media to engage with their audience.
Which is why I've updated this post to share 7 “Current” Reasons why Instagram works for small business (and why I reckon it's worth you checking it out). Warning: Once you go Instagram, you will never go back!
7 (Updated) Reasons Why I Love Instagram for Small Business
1. Visual Tools
There is nothing better than a picture to tell a story or video to tell a story. Period. Back in the day, Instagram described itself as a “fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures”. Nothing much has changed.. and yet so much has. It's still a great way to share your life, but now we have video and all the things – not just photos!
In fact, when speaking, I often tell audiences that one of the hidden benefits of Instagram is that it is a content creation machine. It sits on your phone and gives you a wealth of ways to create visual content from within the Instagram toolbox itself, including:
- Photos and videos
- Camera integration and in-built camera tools
- Instagram Stories including all sorts of engagement stickers (location stickers, poll stickers, question stickers, and more).
- Ability to share GIFs straight from Giphy and GIF Stickers
- Drawing Tools
- Text tools
- Video features like filters, boomerang and more.
All in all, you can create just about anything without needing to leave the Instagram App. This makes Instagram a cost-effective, easy-to-use tool that any business owner can leverage for marketing.
This is why Instagram is a great option for business owners who have a small marketing budget. You can forget about fancy tools, apps or outsourcing and do a whole lot with the Instagram app.
Check out these tips for some of the creative ways you can use Instagram tools:
2. Instagram Stories
As I mentioned, Instagram Stories brings us one of the most effective forms of Storytelling on the internet. And the story format is not going away it seems. Check out what Mark Zuckerberg said about it:
The beauty of Instagram Stories is that it is a visual blogging or video medium all of its own genre. And users love it! In fact, 80% of users on Instagram follow businesses on Instagram Stories. So it's a great place for businesses to be in order to connect with their ideal customers.
And to top it off, 1/3 of the most viewed stories on Instagram are by businesses. So it's another reason why Instagram is great for businesses.
And of course, the awesome visual component of Instagram Stories leads to engagement, which leads me to Reason 3!
3. Social Engagement
This platform is not only about showcasing your awesome photos and videos and stories. Most of Instagram's features are designed to encourage your audience to engage with you.
Why? Because Instagram is ALL about engagement. You’ll hear all sorts of talk about gaming the algorithm and how to get eyeballs on your feed content, Instagram Stories or via IGTV. But the real key is to give your audience an opportunity to engage with you. If you do this, and you turn up consistently, you’re off and racing.
And here's the thing. Instagram wants your followers to get “hands-on” with your content and DO something with it. Not just scrolling passively or tapping “like”, but rather leaving comments, having conversations, swiping through slideshow images, answering your story poll, tapping hashtags, asking a question on Instagram Stories, or chatting with you in direct messages.
These are touch-points. When your users engage with any of this content, it tells Instagram that they like what you have to say. It tells Instagram that the person wants to hear more from you.
Then, Instagram will ensure that more of your story or posts will show up for that person in the future. You rank higher in their feeds.
In a world where we want to build relationships with customers and have them trust us, isn't it great to have a platform that encourages actual interaction with your potential customer? What shows up in somebody’s feed is determined by the posts and accounts that they engage with the most – so engagement is everything.
This is another reason why Instagram is great for small businesses. You can interact 1:1 and get to know your audience vs shouting content out to everyone.
4. Instagram is Fun, Like Netflix
Historically, taking a photo, adding a filter, making it look fabulous and then sharing it… was fun. But Instagram is so much more than that now, as you can see.
One of the reasons why Instagram is so much fun is that it taps into some of the more recent ways we love to consume content. Think Netflix … and serial content.
In the age of Netflix, we love anything that involves serial content or episodic content. We love to be able to ‘binge' on our favorite content or shows. We love to watch episode after episode, story after story. There are two ways you can leverage this on Instagram:
- Story Highlights – after creating stories, convert them into Story Highlights. This gives your viewers a chance to watch your stories under categories or in series. Once someone has finished watching one story, it flicks through to the next one. Instagram is designed to keep us watching!
- IGTV or Instagram TV – IGTV is like YouTube but in vertical format, IGTV is perfectly positioned to keep us watching. We can create content in series or encourage our viewers to come back for further episodes. Again, we are being encouraged to watch our content Netflix Style.
Red (the AIDS charity founded by Bono) do regular serial content on their Instagram account using Instagram Stories. For example, they run regular Tuesday Takeovers where they get one of their team members share a day in their life at Red.
They also use this format to answer questions using Instagram Story Question Stickers:
You can easily find replays of the episodes via the Instagram Story Highlights on Red's profile:
Serial Video Content or Episodic Content is a perfect opportunity for businesses to create content that consumers love to watch. It also creates a perfect opportunity for you to stand out. Go behind the scenes, share the lead up to a product launch, tell the story of your founders, your team… anything that you can roll out in episodes.
5. Vertical Content
If you haven't noticed yet, we hold our phones vertically. It's the way we use them and that has evolved into a lot (a lot) of vertical video content and images. In fact, most social platforms embrace vertical video in some format. This is why Instagram suits many businesses as it gives us a way to do this, quickly and easily.
We can create content, right from our phone without extra tools. Instagram is designed to leverage vertical video and images so that we can share them immediately to our feed, to IGTV or to Instagram Stories.
And I don't know about you, but as a busy business owner, there is nothing like a platform that lets you share spontaneously, and easily in the format that you're using (and your audience is using). Maybe now is the time to consider creating some vertical content on Instagram.
Try these ways to rethink vertical video and get creative with vertical content:
6. Location, Location, Location
Location features is a big reason why Instagram is perfect for business owners. If you tag your location on images and especially on Instagram Stories, it gives your content more opportunity to be seen.
In fact on Instagram Stories, the Location Sticker is one of the most powerful tools you can use. Add your location and Instagram will often show your story post in a wider story around that location.
Hot Tip: Use super specific locations. ie the actual event you are holding or the cafe you run or your office location, vs the wider city or suburb name. This will give you the chance to show up in both the city and business story
7. It's 1:1 vs 1:Many
In a time when it's super hard to get any engagement on Facebook, there's a reason why Instagram is a breath of fresh air. This platform is all about connecting with your customers and potential customers in a way that is very different from any other platform.
It's perfectly acceptable to jump into the DMs (Direct Messages) on Instagram and engage in meaningful ways. In fact, it's expected. This can not only help you engage with the right people, but also find out a LOT about who they are, what motivates them and the challenges they face.
And guess what? This means you can help them, and create marketing content that speaks to them, in better ways. It's just another reason why Instagram is a platform to consider for your business.
Bonus Reason: It's Fun
With new tools and features being added all the time, Instagram always keeps us on our toes with fun creative ideas. You'll never run out of ideas for creating content and the entire platform is designed to help you do so. It's just fun to use!
Over to You
So, there you have it. 7 Reasons Why Instagram is worth considering for marketing your business but especially engaging with your ideal customer. Why do you love Instagram? Let me know in the comments below.
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