Social media has become one of the most powerful tools for modern businesses. As a social media manager and marketer myself, I have decided to share valuable insights on why every business should be using one of the most popular social media platforms: Instagram.
Instagram is the platform that I run both the businesses I work for, as well as my own on. In the month of June (2018), it was estimated that Instagram "had reached 1 billion monthly active users" and is continuously growing by the day.
What Does Social Media Have To Offer?
Social media offers many benefits to business owners who are trying to reach their ideal customers and call attention to their business. The following platforms--Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram-- give businesses the opportunity to gain exposure, traffic and sales which is why "78% of small businesses use social media" and 33% of users identify new brands/services through social media today.
Instagram has such a powerful impact on revenue and sales today, that businesses could be missing out on thousands of dollars by not being associated with the platforms users.
If it wasn't for Instagram, I wouldn't be a product photographer. Almost all of my clients, are from Instagram and when a message comes through from my website, that traffic came from Instagram. Personally, Instagram is my favorite social media platform because I can showcase my work all in one place -- like a gallery -- and the app isn't complicated or frustrating to use which allows all age groups to be a user.
As well, as a social media manager, I am able to track the traffic coming in through social media and see first hand how it benefits and grows a business. I can not stress how important social media is for small businesses especially. If you are starting a new business, you want your name out there fast to get people in the doors. Instagram is your way in... if you have quality content ;)
Content. Content. Content.
Yes, Instagram can bring in business. Yes, it is the tool every business should have. But, no you can not throw a ton of low quality posts out there and expect a line out the door. People want to see quality, fun, interactive posts. If not, they're not going to be interested in the product or business. If people haven't tried the product or business, your Instagram has to sell it for them. With that being said, a business can't just throw any image out there. Yes, if you go on Instagram, you will see thousands of businesses just throwing out images because they believe in quantity over quality. But look. Look at their engagement. Look at their following. It's not all there. Now go to @HerbivoreBotanicals or @LilahBeauty. They have quality content and along with it, engagement & a strong following. You may look at their profiles and say they're not a good example because they have 10K-400K followers. But they started at the exact place any other business would: at the bottom. They started at the bottom and worked hard on building their social media platform through quality content and exposure-- which leads us into the next topic.
Instagram has the ability to expose a small-town business to the entire world. There are multiple ways a business can gain exposure; however, my best advice is going through the blogger industry and getting exposure from bloggers with a genuine following. I recommend working with a wide variety of locations. I would start locally and you can usually track local bloggers down by hashtags. For instance, I live in Santa Cruz, California and I usually incorporate #SantaCruzBlogger or #BayAreaBlogger to my posts so local or businesses around the same area as me can find my blog easily.
If you don't want to start locally, or maybe you already have, take a look at your Instagram Insights. There, under "Audience" you can find your followings Top 5 Locations. Use those locations to your advantage. Look for bloggers in those areas or maybe you want to expand outside those areas. It truly is up to you and it is your decision as a business owner on how to go about it, but at all costs, make sure who you're working is genuine. That means, make sure the numbers line up. Check their following. Now check their engagement. Do the numbers line up? A blogger should be getting about 10% engagement to their following. That means, if they have 10K followers, they should be getting around 1K likes, if not more. Comments are a little harder to look at. I would say if someone who has 500K followers gets 10-20 comments, they're not genuine. Like I said though, comments are a little harder to look at and decide from so I would base most of it off followers/likes, but definitely still take a look at the comments and make sure they're not bots. Once again, quality or quantity.
What Should I do If I Can't Run My Business' Instagram?
If you are serious about your business and you're looking to grow your sales and influence in your industry, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are people, like me, who are willing to give social media consultations, create the content or manage the platform and content for you. Social media can be a full-time position and unless you have the time to consistently post and share quality content, don't be afraid to reach out. Social media managers and marketers like me, are here for a reason.
Looking For a Social Media Manager?
Take a look at my services and don't be afraid to reach out! I work one-on-one with my clients to help determine whats best for their business and how Instagram and other social media platforms can benefit their business.
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