Within my close business network I have a lot of business owners, not only is this great because they are some of the most entrepreneurial and energetic people I know, but also because they are the type of people who are inclined to help each other…they love to see other people win.
In my ever lasting quest to help those close to me I have been having endless conversations recently around whether small or start-up businesses can and should leverage social media platforms, or more specifically Instagram, to their benefit.
My answer 99% of the time: “Hell yeah”
What platform for small businesses?
Many business owners understand the benefits of using social media for their business, increasing engagement, reach and brand recognition amongst hoards of their potential customers. Yet the investment into social media marketing can be vast and occasionally pointless if you just take a scatter gun approach, putting some effort in every platform out there.
More beneficial is to find the best one or two platforms on social and focus on building an audience there. Once you have built a reasonable sized following/level of engagement on these platforms you can always cross link to other platforms and build further.
But picking the right platform for your business can be a bit of a pain in the ass, fundamentally you need to consider two things:
- Where is your target audiences attention?
- Where will your business be best represented?
But why Instagram?
The youth of today
Recent trends have seen younger users moving their attention from the more traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to new platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. These platforms have a buzzing community and high engagement from audiences, which in larger part, are under 35 years of age.
This is primarily due to the platforms focus on engaging visual content over traditional text based social.
Instagram is all about the image. You may be forgiven for thinking this platform appeals to the vainest amongst society, and you are probably correct. Using the platform effectively means pushing out beautiful content that is going to catch people’s eye. This is especially useful for product based marketers who are able to include their products in popular native-type content on the site such as travel, health and fitness etc.
Two great examples of businesses that have built themselves effectively through Instagram content:
This may seem counter intuitive, but due to the fact that Instagram is slightly more difficult to market on than other platforms makes it better to market on. This is primarily down to the lack of ability to post links in captions with images.
This lack of direct linking in captions means posts on the platform tends to be less ‘salesy’ in their approach. This means that communities on the platform often feel less like they are being sold to and are more open to messaging.
As you have probably been able to tell from the rest of my blog, I think influencer marketing is one, of not THE most powerful marketing tool out there at the moment. Instagram is arguably becoming the top platform for influencers to build their networks and interact with brands in a beneficial way.
If you are in a B2C company and plan on undertaking influencer marketing you NEED to be on Instagram.
How do I start?
Interestingly most of the conversations I have had with business owners have been around the very basics of starting an Instagram account. Have a quick browse through the platform and you will pretty easily see hoards of business Instagrams that are getting the very fundamentals wrong….poor bios and profile pictures, not setting up their accounts right, posting the wrong sort of content and so on.
Massive success on Instagram can be down to any number of clever and consistent tactics being employed, yet these tactics used on top of poor foundations are guaranteed to fail.
I have written a FREE ebook covering off the most important elements of starting up your business Instagram.