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Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses

We’re going through such an extraordinary time in the history of social media. With Facebook changing their algorithms to give family and friends’ posts priority, not to mention recent data breaches, it’s giving businesses pause for thought.

As with anything new that has an impact on society, social media is still finding its feet, and although Facebook is going through a period of change, it will still be a valuable marketing tool for some time to come we believe.

However, we also see the advantages of other social media channels, such as Twitter and, of course, the fast-growing photo-sharing app, Instagram, which has been a key tool for certain businesses for a long time now.

When we talk about Instagram to our clients or with other businesses, we often get a response that their company isn’t visual enough for the platform, or that it’s not relevant to their audience.

There is a perception that Instagram is for more visual or consumer-facing businesses, such as fashion, furniture or food, but this isn’t the case.

We look at how this app is becoming a very important marketing channel and how it can work for all kinds of business.

Instagram. The stats

Instagram launched in 2010 and managed to hit 1 million users in the first three months. Now it has over 800 million users, with over 600 million using it every day. It now outstrips Twitter, (330 million active daily users) Pinterest (175 million active monthly users) and Linkedin (500 million) for user numbers.

33% of Internet users aged between 30 – 49 use Instagram, so it’s definitely not an app that is just used by a younger demographic. Having said that, 32% of teenagers feel that Instagram is the most important social media channel. Basically, Instagram is a force to be reckoned with and not going anywhere fast.

Top facts and figures

 There are 25 million businesses on Instagram

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There are over 4.2 billion likes, per day

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95 million photos are uploaded, per day

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40 billion photos have been shared to date

How to use Instagram for B2B

So here we come to our response to the feeling that b2b businesses aren’t visual enough for Instagram, or that it’s not the right platform for them.

Instagram is for everybody. If you do a search, you can find every type of business in the UK from vets, dentists and plumbers, right through to service businesses such as accountants and solicitors. People are keen to see businesses on this platform.

In fact, 80% of users follow a business on Instagram. In total, the platform has 25 million+ business profiles worldwide with 200 million+ people visiting a business profile at least once a day. Not only that, but a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. Not bad eh?

Instagram’s secret recipe

The secret to business success on Instagram is storytelling. It gives you the chance to show your company’s personality and show your followers the faces behind the name. This helps to build trust, a key element in influencing purchasing decisions.

You can get a feel for how individual posts fit into the overall narrative of a brand by looking at the most-liked Instagram posts of all time. They include Kylie Jenner, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Selena Gomez (drinking a Coke), Kim Kardashian, more Taylor Swift, more Kylie Jenner etc. etc. The posts form a snapshot of a longer story arc which fans just love to follow and be part of.

stormi webster ??

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

This Intagram post is the most liked of all time. See how it tells a heartwarming story that fits into a wider story arc.

Getting the visuals right

Images are a big concern for businesses as a bad photo can impact your likes and follows. Instagram was the first to solve that problem with its range of filters to help give your images a more professional edge.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give your visuals any thought, however. A good-looking page on social takes time, and this is no less the case with Instagram. Posts do take a bit longer, but it’s worth having a great-looking feed to get those likes and follows growing.

Consider how you’d like to be seen by current and future clients or customers and then look at the photography you’d like to create to match that image. It’s worth knowing that there is an increasing number of photographers that specialise in doing shoots for Instagram.

To get the best imagery, it’s worth taking time to think about your Instagram strategy, and is also a good opportunity to think about your brand personality.

Ads on Instagram

If you’re looking to boost your profile via advertising, then currently, Instagram offers a range of ads from a straightforward photo, through to carousels and videos. Right now, there are over two million advertisers and, as with anything on this platform, it’s likely to increase.

If you’re unsure of how to create a strong ad, Instagram does most of the work by providing a range of useful tutorials to help you. If you’re on a budget, then there are other tools such as Stories to help you connect with your audience and raise your profile.

In order to make an impact and ensure you’re getting the most out of your advertising, it’s also important to post consistently. So decide on the story you want to tell your Instagrammers and make sure there is a similar look and feel, or thread, to each post.

Getting started

As with all social media, the best way to get to know Instagram is by joining up and playing around with it. Take a look at what other businesses are doing and use those that are doing it well as a benchmark for your own organisation.

GDPR and the Facebook data breaches mean that users are changing their views on social, but fundamentally, there’s a lot of good quality, ethical work going on out there. Quite simply, it just means we need to do it even better and have a bit of positive fun while we’re at it.

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Winner, Kingston Business Excellence Awards 2018, Customer Service category