Blog, Marketing

Hey, it’s us with another update about social media: Instagram to be specific.

Yes, you’re right: social media platforms get updated all the time. But this time it’s different. This time, Instagram means business.

Since being acquired by Facebook all the way back in 2012, there has been talk of how and if Instagram follow Facebook’s commercial trajectory.

And the image-based platform is certainly not 100% there yet, but that’s precisely the reason it’s time to ask yourself again, “Is Instagram right for my business?”

 

SIGNS THAT INSTAGRAM MEANS BUSINESS

  • Storytime: On August 2nd, a lot of people had the following question, “Is Instagram going to get away with this?”. For those who missed it, they launched a “Stories” feature that is a near carbon copy of Snapchat’s “Stories” feature. In the same way as Snapchat’s, it allows users to catalogue moments instantly to the top of Instagram feeds, instead of sending them out as posts to be scrolled through. It’s a more direct and personalised approach to moment sharing: new territory for Instagram. When we say “new territory”, we mean “Snapchat’s territory”. 

The benefits to brands: Snapchat has always been a challenge for brands: it requires an intensely engaged process of content production. As such, it’s virtually un-outsource-able as a platform: a huge roadblock to busy small businesses. As Instagram offers a combination of polished pictures and instant, informal content, you can maintain a mix that is more manageable for your brand. The best of both worlds!

New(s) Feed: Instagram’s feed used to be chronological, meaning you barely ever saw the same content twice. That’s changing, with the roll-out of an “interest”-based feed. Basically, Instagram will serve up what it thinks you like first and foremost, much like Facebook does. Ads are also set to arrive in the mix too.

The benefits to brands: Top of feed, top of mind! And a second impression? Worth its weight in  And we don’t need to explain to you the benefits of advertising in-feed, now do we? Disclaimer, though, these new changes may initially reduce Instagram’s traditionally high engagement as the post-commercial cringe occurs. But, as users become accustomed to this kind of content, we predict it will recover just fine.

  • Influencer Crackdown: The Federal Trade Commission of the United States has announced a crackdown on un-signposted influencer sponsorships this month, with a focus on Snapchat and Instagram.  Watch out for #sponsoredpost #paid

The benefits to brands: This sounds bad, but what it really means is that people are starting to take notice of the influencer figure that been such a part of Instagram as a commercial platform, and adding validity to the network’s potential as a marketing device. It’s the signifier that tells you things are about to turn big business.

 

SIGNS THAT INSTAGRAM’S FOR YOU:

When it comes to marketing, every brand needs storytelling. But does every brand need Instagram’s personal brand of visual storytelling? Honestly, the answer is “no”. So here’s our quick quiz to determine whether you need to get photo ready…

  1. Show off? Does your brand have something visual to sell? if you can show your audience a product, that’s a dead-giveaway that you’ll work well on Instagram.Notice we say “visible”, not “tangible”, because if you’re a travel company, you can sell a view from a tropical island, even though you can’t touch a view. It’s all about that image: literally
  2. Dedicated? Do you have someone with the time to work on your social media? A lot of businesses struggle to maintain their digital presences, which makes them seem very lacklustre to consumers. Most small businesses need a digital agency to tend to their Instagram and Facebook presences, so that they stay on track.
  3. Strategic? Do you have a social media strategy?: Many brands don’t know where they’re going with their social media… Which results in sporadic and off-brand posting. Again, it makes you look bad, as if you don’t have it together. A digital agency can work with your brand to get a strategy running in no time, including examples of how to run it yourself, when (and how!) to post, and a content schedule.

 

So, did you get one or more yes for the quiz? Then it’s time to get ‘gramming. The benefits speak for themselves. So let your brand do the same: there’s a story waiting to be told, and an audience waiting to hear it!