It has almost become mandatory to kick off anything Instagram related with those magical numbers. Everyone knows that they surpassed 400 million, thank you!
The real question is – how?
With a simple option that allows you to filter your photography and make it even more appealing, Instagram won us over.
We had filters already, and we had no fuss.
It won us over by allowing us to share snippets of our day in a second.
Well…we had Facebook.
So, it must have been something else? Otherwise, one could hardly explain what Instagram has become.
And it has become not only a platform you go back to so many times during the day to feast your eyes, but definitely the most precious and effective way if you are looking for ways to grow your online business.
Instagram’s user base
One might think that it all comes down to a huge user base Instagram has built. The thing is that such a huge number of users does not simply happen.
It is one more fact that confirms you can be sure that there is a true value behind this social media platform.
And if you haven’t been able to test it by now, you missed out.
It’s never too late though.
As a matter of fact, one of the reasons we are writing this is to try and persuade you not to wait any longer, but to learn how everything works and start building your own follower base today.
Especially if you are into eCommerce.
There are loads of reasons – according to Hubspot, 8 out of 10 SMBs use social media for their business to drive growth.
And it makes sense – your customers are already there, and billions of them.
What is more important – they love interacting with brands on this social platform, more than anything.
According to Hootstuite, staggering 85 percent of top brands are relying on Instagram.
That is the only number that truly has meaning for store owners.
And not only that – quality over quantity always prevails. And Instagram has it: average engagement rate is bigger than 4 percent!
That means that it is even bigger than on Facebook and Twitter respectively.
This is where we should find reasons why, this trendy app grew into the biggest meeting place of: brands and consumers.
Which is something you will have to exploit when it comes to your online store.
Statistics surrounding Instagram are amazing, but that is only one of the reasons why you should invest time and figure out how to show up with style!
Again, you might claim that things went a little bit overboard with all the small tips and hacks on how to publish across different social media channels.
And we might partially agree.
But that does not mean that you can afford to ignore them. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram will also show you that you need to be careful, strict and concise when defining:
- what is it that you are publishing?
- when should you publish it?
- who will you target?
- what are the best practices?
Understanding the platform before publishing
According to Forbes, social media users are 58 times more likely to interact with brands on Instagram than they do on Facebook, and 120 times more than on Twitter.
However, there are couple of facts you need to know before creating your Instagram profile.
Instagram was made and it will always be based on great photography. If you are into eCommerce, this will work great for you, since you probably placed loads of effort into your product photography.
And not only that, it is important to know how things work from a more technical perspective as well as get introduced to community guidelines.
If you are just beggining, have in mind that:
- Getting started is easy – sign up, add your profile photo (your logo prefferably) and start taking amazing photographs!
- There is no difference whatsoever between individual and business users. Until recently, you had to have two separate accounts if you were to manage multiple accounts. With latest changes introduced, you can easily switch between accounts and post incredible images.
- Possibility to upload images of certain size only, was influenced by Instagram’s wish to stand out from other photo sharing applications by being consistent. As you already know, it caused a lot of frustration on the user side. Good move or no, Instagram changed this policy, and allowed users to post images of what ever size they wish.
- Latest changes introduced from Instagram’s team, were related to video – you are no longer constrained to 15 seconds. You can make videos that are up to 60 seconds long!
- Instagram does not allow clickable URL’s anywhere but in the profile bio. Meaning – if you wish to promote certain product or product line, you will have to either get yourself a sponsored post, or simply change your bio every time you need a fresh link.
- You can use Instagram on desktop, but posting and editing options will not be available.
Provide valuable content
And when you add the fact that, according to Smart Insights – “Mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).”
But, most important – three out of five were converted to customers. And back to beggining – you need to be out there.
It is crucial to stay true to your brand at all times. Use guidelines that you and your team defined regarding dominant colours, other visuals you are using in your day to day promotional activities and create unique style.
Data might help you on this one – Instagram users definitely prefer minimalistic background, as it helps them to focus, but on the other hand, they enjoy loads of things going on.
Following the same clean design pattern – users definitely love engaging with images with light background as oppose to dark one.
Every rule has exceptions of course, and that is why it is crucial to build your own style on Instagram.
Linda is nailing her Instagram feed and successfully promoting her blog by not following any rules or statistics. Dark background prevails, there is always a lot going on and her entire feed is far from minimal.
Which brings us to conclusion that the only thing relevant is to stick to what represents your brand and always be consistent!
Similar to every other social media platform you are using to promote your online store, your Instagram account will have the biggest impact if you keep it fresh and relevant at all times.
You will determine your dynamics as you start using it for your promotional activities.
The important thing to know is that products replaced lifestyle as the category that get the most engagement. The reason is simple – Instagram users will follow brands knowing that they will be shown product after product.
Also, users are aware that they will be exposed to promotional activities too.
Which is another reason they are happy to engage.
Target your audience
Your audience is all over Instagram. Even though data suggests that teenagers are the majority occupying Instagram at a large number, have in mind that if you are just beggining you need to reach your audience using all means possible.
Pair up with someone that has similar target audience and you can reach out to an incredible amount of users. Options are limitless – you can always ask someone with same target audience to swap profiles for a day, give you a shout out or simply organize contest/giveaway that will attract more users your way.
Make sure your target audience is precisely defined for every social media platform you are managing for your business, but have in mind that Instagram is different than Facebook when it comes to targeting specific group.
Great tip is to target your audience by adding location to your posts.
Instagram users often search by location, and if you have brick and mortar store along with your online store, and allow click and collect for example, you can do an amazing job promoting that option via Instagram.
Hashtags are there to be exploited. Come up with your own and promote it until it gets memorised by those following. Encourage them to share under the same hashtag and you will most certainly, if consistent, ensure increase of your brand’s visibility.
Creativity is limitless
You should always strive to nurture your unique style. Not only when it comes to Instagram, but across all relevant social media you are using to market your online store.
Make sure you do not share images that are not related, not to your store, but to your brand.
Consistency is highly appreciated among Instagram users.
It is, for that reason, essential for you to develop your unique, recognizable style and never wonder away from it.
How? Here are few examples:
SmartyPants Vitamins are rocking their Instagram profile. Not only they post impeccable images, they are sharing content that every one of their followers will find useful and inspirational.
We love what the team behind Work Hard Anywhere did an amazing job with their Instagram profile.
Instagram is fun, and you should have fun using it when promoting your online store. Remember, there are rules, but the ones that matter are the ones you and your team agreed upon when you have set up outlines of your brand’s visual identity.
That is something that users will appreciate, follow and engage with. Keep it consistent and showcase your product (or service) in the most creative way you can think of.
Host giveaways, collaborate with other users, and give people a reason to follow. Investing in Instagram ads is always a good idea, especially when you have in mind it is practically the only way to drive traffic to your online store from Instagram.
Not to worry, start building your brand, engage with users and slowly use it to grow your sales.