Instagram has done it again. Earlier this year, it launched an algorithm that (somewhat controversially) placed the most individually relevant content at the beginning of each user’s feed. Now, Instagram has introduced a suite of business services to further solidify its standing as a legitimate and in-demand advertising business platform. Regardless of whether you’re a micro-business or a corporate Goliath, the need and opportunity within Instagram is significant.
According to Instagram, about one-half of users now follow a business on the platform and even more—around 60 percent—say they’ve learned about products on Instagram.
Instagram is a growing community, and users now rely on it as a source of new products, businesses and inspiration for their various needs. As the trends have shown, social posts that include pictures or videos are exponentially more popular compared to text or link-based posts, so it comes as no surprise that businesses would want access to this platform.
With the constant updates to various social media platforms, it can be hard to keep up, so we’ve distilled Instagram’s business offerings and summarized how to use them for the optimum benefit to your business. Read on for a guide to Instagram for businesses:
Instagram created profiles specifically for businesses. Companies that have Facebook pages can easily set up business profiles on Instagram. Specific criteria are required to register for a business profile, and the Facebook for Business credentials match those criteria.
What’s so wonderful about a business profile? Its format offers several bonus buttons, which allow users to easily contact and connect with the business, all from the profile page.
There is a contact button that, when tapped, pulls up the options to call, send an email or get directions to the business.
By selecting the Get Directions button, your business location shows up on a map, so the consumer can navigate to your business or find its proximity to them.
Categories have also been added to the business profiles. Categorization is a quick way to inform users of your industry and help them make a decision about your business’ relevancy to their search.
All three features showcase your business in a professional way that confirms that it is a valid business, provides an efficient way for users to process your information and, most important, to contact you at the click of a button.
The account insights, or analytics, offered by Instagram are similar to Facebook insights. They report critical information about post engagement and follower demographics so that businesses can develop more applicable posts for their audiences.
Business profiles include follower demographic analytics, which track the location, gender and age of followers. Location information provides users’ time zones so that brands can post during peak times based on where their audience lives. The gender and age information further breaks down your followers’ demographics in order to show who makes up your active audience.
Again, these kinds of analytics allow businesses to make decisions about content types and messaging based on age brackets and gender categories. An engaging post for a 55-year-old man looks and sounds very different than a compelling post for a 25-year-old woman. These metrics can guide your overall content strategy and assist your business in reaching your social media goals.
Another valuable metric is impressions per post. Businesses can see which posts were the most popular and engaging over a seven- and 30-day period, as well as click on individual posts to see the specific impression numbers. This data is an important factor when developing new content, as it signals to specific trends and preferences. From this information, businesses can distribute the most enticing posts, pictures and videos to their audiences.
In fact, when a business finds a high-performing post, it can swiftly convert that content into an ad within the mobile application. The business can designate the desired audience based on demographic data and the length of the ad run. If you’re uncertain of the target audience, audience suggestions are available during this process, as well. Target audience profiles can also be saved for quick reference without starting from scratch each time the business produces an ad.
What does this mean for your small business?
This is fantastic news for small businesses. With these integrations, small businesses can now better compete for customers and followers because ad creation is so simple. The insights present vital reports about their audience and post engagement, so they can tweak campaigns and create new ads on the fly. This is a major opportunity for small businesses to grow their audiences and convert viewers into customers without much additional effort on their end.
The way I envision this is that there are a lot of businesses on the platform that may be new to advertising, or not advertising yet, and this is a straightforward, easy way to start advertising on the platform.
Whether you’re a novice or seasoned advertiser, you can benefit from Instagram’s business tools.
These offerings also stimulate increased brand equity for small businesses. Before now, Instagram was primarily a beautiful picture gallery for businesses, and those images generated followers, but not necessarily brand awareness. Now, people are drawn to your page because of your visual posts, but then are able to evaluate and assess your business by accessing the contact options and visiting your website, all from your business profile.
Making your basic business information easily accessible to viewers reinforces your level of authenticity and credibility. Having an Instagram business profile has the potential to drive traffic to your site, promote engagement and generate sales.
There’s no doubt that Instagram will roll out further improvements and features in the near future, given how rapidly the platform is positioning itself in the digital marketing and advertising space. We can’t wait to see how small businesses take advantage of this new advertising outlet and claim more market share through Instagram.