It’s March 2015, and I have only 313 Instagram followers. No big deal. It’s not like Instagram drives that much traffic, right?
Wrong! Absolutely, 100 percent, undeniably wrong.
What I discovered changed the game for me and my online publication, HDFMagazine.com. Heck, it changed my entire perspective on social media marketing. In six short months I’ve amassed just under 60K followers and an engagement rate that’s nearly unheard of.
On top of that, my followers consist of international athletes, celebrities, musicians, entrepreneurs, speakers, marketers, coaches, authors, influencers, television stars, movie producers, Olympians and more.
So, what happened in those months that propelled a growth rate of almost 3K followers per week, and what did I discover about the power of marketing with Instagram?
Instagram offers the ability to feature a piece of content that is easily digestible and simple to interact with. Posts on Facebook are surrounded by lots of distractions — ads, friends updates, trending content, group page updates, likes and so on. But on Instagram, users consume one piece of content at a time. So if you are good at creating or curating engaging content, you will catch users’ eyes immediately and be given a few moments to earn their engagement.
Do this and they will follow you. Do this consistently and they will empower you. Do this for several months, and they will spread your message and your brand throughout the digital ecosphere. Couple that with collaboration with other Instagram influencers — sharing each other’s networks and content — and you have the makings of a serious growth trajectory.
Instagram by the Numbers
Let me give you a few facts about Instagram before I give you five reasons it needs to be part of your marketing plan.
- According to September stats, there are more than 400 million people on Instagram.
- eMarketer predicts that Instagram advertising will be worth $2.8 billion in sales by 2017, surpassing Google and Twitter in U.S. mobile display ad revenue.
- Shopify reports that Instagram referrals result in an average order value of $65, which is second only to Polyvore’s $66.75. You realize this is higher than Facebook and Pinterest, right?
- The average branded post from an Instagram influencer reaches about 70 percent of the influencer’s followers, according to theAmplify and reported in Advertising Age.
You need to make Instagram part of your marketing plan. Here are five more reasons why:
#1: It builds community
When you build a following, they become so much more to your bottom line. They are your customers, your market research, your brand ambassadors and your fans. They will be there with you on the journey of your company, your brand and its product offerings.
#2: Instagram drives an insane amount of traffic
Whether they’re your following or curious visitors, they all want to know who you are, especially as you become an influential account. Placing a link in your bio to your site is a start, but every now and then, post a photo with a CALL-TO-ACTION (Click Link In Bio, Article Link in Bio, URL In Bio, Webiste Link in Bio, etc.) on it.
Additionally, within the caption you can tell your audience to do the same. Most people think because a URL in the caption is not clickable, that people won’t click on it in your bio. That’s simply not true. If the dynamics of the Instagram user experience have taught me anything, it’s that people follow simple instructions.
QUICK STRATEGY TIP: Expand your reach by having other Instagram accounts host your URL link in their bio as well.
For example, when I do an article launch, I not only promote it from my Instagram account, but the person I interviewed does as well. He or she will post a photo or two, write it in their caption and leave a link in their bio. Many of them have vast followings, and this gives my account and articles exposure to more networks.
I’ve also become friends with other Instagram influencers, and they’ll leave up a URL for an article or product I’m promoting. Of course, that’s not always easy to do, but I’ve fostered those relationships and we have a mutually benefiting relationship.
#3: Average consumer price of $65+
With the amount of traffic referenced in number 2, this should excite you — that, and the fact that Instagram users have money to spend. According to Pew Research Center, 52 percent of adult Instagram users make more than $50,000 a year.
#4: Content is easier to digest for your audience
As I mentioned earlier, Instagram has fewer distractions than other social media platforms. Users focus their attention on one post at a time, making it easier to grab their attention and develop a relationship with them — and the relationship develops their affinity for your brand.
#5: You become an influencer, not just a brand
Brands have reach on social media, but Instagram in particular facilitates engagement. In fact, last year Forrester dubbed the site “the king of social engagement,” noting that top brands’ Instagram posts had a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent, 58 times more than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter.
The Bottom Line
Whether you post as your brand or you leverage influencers, Instagram needs to be a part of your brand’s marketing initiatives. It’s visual storytelling of who you are, what you are, what value you bring and what you have to offer.