Instagram Is Necessary to Your Business Success! (Or Is It?)
When I wrote about Instagram back in 2015, I said “just have fun with it.” But Instagram has changed quite a bit since those early days and you might be wondering if we’re still having fun. Let’s review:
Marketing on Instagram was in its infancy when I first shared some basic tips, so it’s definitely time for an update. What’s still true is that you need to have a plan before you begin and you should prepare yourself for some testing and tracking. Of course, that’s easier to do than it was back then because Instagram launched tools for business users in 2016. Now let’s look at what else has changed.
2015 - It’s not all about selling.
2022 – It is definitely all about selling, just not overtly.
People aren’t on Instagram to be sold to. Not back then and not now. That said, people buy on Instagram more than ever because it appeals to their emotions and makes fulfillment easy. The customer journey has to feel fluid, a natural occurrence from a positive social experience. In order to make that happen, you need to post content that your audience will engage with consistently. Engagement is crucial because Instagram uses an algorithm now that wasn’t around in 2015. They found that with the original chronological listing, “people were missing 70% of all their posts in Feed.” The algorithm’s intent is to show a user what they have liked in the past, so you want your business posts to be really high on that list.
2015 - Fill out the bio and link your social channels.
2022 – Also check out link in bio tools.
You can link your Instagram account to other social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok and of course Facebook has only increased the inter-connection with Instagram since they bought it. Cross-posting is great for audience-building.
This bio information is what a new visitor sees when they view your account for the first time. It is still really important to fill out your description fully and with personality, so be sure to take your time with it and refresh on a regular basis. Instagram has only ever allowed one link from your account, so many link in bio tools have been developed that help you work around that limitation. You should definitely look into those if you're selling on Instagram.
2015 - Use #hashtags to your advantage.
2022 – Use #hashtags the way your audience does.
Images need hashtags for searchability. This is more important than ever. What hashtags are most useful for your images will need some serious research because if you use them incorrectly, they will not help with search and may actually work against you.
2015 - Find a sweet spot for posting.
2022 – Timing doesn’t matter, relevance does.
Because of the algorithm, when you post isn’t as important as what you post. You don’t want to be that annoying brand who just floods people’s newsfeeds with post after post, but you also don’t want people to forget about you. Frequency definitely is driven by your audience’s reactions, which means testing.
2015 - Have fun!
2022 – Have a goal!
Not every business needs to be on Instagram. Ask yourself if your target audience is truly active on Instagram. What about your competitors? Are they successful with Instagram marketing?
If after some research you are convinced that marketing with Instagram will help you meet your overall business goals, then go for it! Be prepared to spend some time and money to do it right. For some people, thinking graphically is natural and if they’re already on-the-spot for recording and sharing interesting images of products, services, and other business news, that's a huge advantage. But it’s not for everyone and that’s okay, too, because there are lots of other marketing options.
If you aren’t sure which marketing option is best for your business, the Sprocket Websites team can help you find tools that will work best with your budget. Just give us a call and we’ll talk it over with you!
Photo by Ivan Samko
This article is an update to “The Basics: Marketing on Instagram” dated 3/2/2015.