Using Instagram for your business

Picture This: Using Instagram for your Business

Written by Simon Geraghty.

Why use Instagram as part of your content marketing?

Using Instagram for your business is a great way to showcase your products to the world. We are seeing the rise of both a more visual and mobile centered internet with the success of social media platforms such as PinterestTumblr, the proliferation of Infographics and of apps like Instagram. Consider the following:

  • 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual
  • Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text
  • 40% of people said they respond better to visual information than text
  • 54% of internet users have posted original photos or videos to websites
  • 47% share photos or videos they found elsewhere online

With images outranking words for customer engagement it turns out a picture IS worth a thousand words!

Why should you use Instagram for your business?

  1. Instagram gives you the opportunity to tell your story, showcase and even demo your products using pictures and videos.
  2. It is a great opportunity to encourage customers to take their own pictures of your products, there is even an Instagram themed hotel now!
  3. It offers you the opportunity to give a snapshot of the personality and people behind your business.
  4.  The Instagram API also allows these images and videos to be displayed on your website or blog, have a look at the footer in the recently launched Steamline Luggage website.

What is Instagram? 

Instagram is a simple, well designed app that offers users the instant gratification of being able to take a photo, crop it, edit it and share it to their social networks.  The free app also gives you a variety of filters and treatments that were previously only available to owners of photo editing software such as photoshop.

By simply applying a filter, the Instagram app can turn average camera phone shots into a muted colour homage to the 1970’s (Filter = 1977) or a vibrant colour popping masterpiece (Filter = Hefe). Part of Instagram’s incredible growth is that it allows the mobile phone wielding photographer to feel like a budding William Eggleston or Anton Corbijn as they snap pictures of their shoes, brunch or self(ies)!

The Instagram story

Developed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram launched its first app with 25,000 beta users on the 6th of October 2010. Within a week of launch it had already racked up almost 200,000 users.

They wanted to do to mobile phone photography what Polaroid did to traditional print photography, allow users to instantly access and share their photos. (Note: Instagram does not require you to blow on your smartphone!)

The company hit the headlines globally in April 2012 when Facebook bought it for a jaw dropping $1bn. In June 2013 Instagram, in response to Vine, further enhanced their product by giving users the ability to record and share 15 second video clips.

As of September 2013 there were 150 million users.

So who are these 150m Instagram users?

  • Young internet users are Instagram’s main demographic, 28% of US internet users aged 18-29 use instagram
  • 34% of Instagram users are aged 18 -24, while 54% of its users are aged between 12-24
  • Female users outnumber males, 55% to 45%
  • 15% of Irish adults aged 15+ have an Instagram account
  • Recent research has stated that US businesses that used Instagram saw revenue increases between 1.5 to 3.5%

As with any social media platform your business uses, if you decide to use Instagram for your business try to inspire your followers as well as simply promote your own goods and services.

Instagram lends itself to:

  • showcasing your products
  • showcasing your premises
  • showcasing your staff (with their permission)
  • lifestyle shots
  • running promotions

A note of caution, while the app is easily integrated with Facebook, given Instagram is  owned by them, Instagrams are no longer displayed within Twitter’s newsfeed. Twitter users need to click through the Instagram site to see their creations. We hope that this is just a temporary blip and will be rectified by Twitter and Instagram in the future.

Before you start using Instagram for your business:

  1. Invest in a smartphone with a good camera, 5- 8 Megapixel is more than enough, and download the Instagram app (available for both Android and iPhone, it has also recently been introduced for Windows Phones).
  2. Go to the Instagram for Business Blog for news, tips, and examples of outer brands using the platform.
  3. Come back and read our step by step instagram setup guide on our blog!

In the meantime, Justsocial.com produced a useful infographic on Instagram back in the summer, while the user base has grown to 150m the other headline statistics still stand:

Instagram Impact - Instagram for your business

Sources:

Lead image for sale here: http://popchartlab.com/products/a-visual-compendium-of-cameras
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Photos-and-videos.aspx
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Social-media-users/Social-Networking-Site-Users/Demo-portrait.aspx
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx
http://www.billiondollargraphics.com/infographics.html
http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2013/12/05/sumall-annual-report-finds-instagram-best-social-media-service-businesses/#!o2fu2
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324577304579059230069305894
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10355980/How-Instagram-took-over-the-world-in-just-three-years.html
http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/social-media-2013-1197860-Nov2013/

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