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Can businesses get a piece of Instagram; the King of social engagement?

Posted by: Daniel Robinson
08/11/2016

Instagram was released to the world in 2010 and has gradually climbed to the top of the social media marketing hall of fame. There are 400 million active monthly users on Instagram, and the picture sharing site has now overtaken Twitter. Although an American brand, 70% of its users actually come from outside of the U.S, who have shared over 30 billion photos to date with 70 million alone shared per day. Within 6 years users have shared over 4 times more photos than there are human beings on earth! 

The app generated $595 million of revenue in 2015 and that figure is estimated to reach $2.81 billion by 2017; a substantial increase of 400% in 2 years. In 2019 it is predicted to reach 111.6 million Americans, representing 55.8% of social networks and over 4 in 10 internet users.

Businesses need to start paying attention to Instagram and begin to view it as more than just a photo sharing app. It isn’t a direct sales market, but the focus instead should be around how it could add value to the business. Did you know that customers and clients are now more likely to look you up on the platform beforehand, as a “try before you buy” scenario. It can help turn passive shoppers into confident customers and it allows consumers to soak up your marketing messages without the sales pitch. Further, Instagram enables you to establish a relationship and culture among your followers. Although mainly popular among a certain demographic, these are the next generation of buyers and it is particularly appealing to businesses with young clientele because Instagram or ‘Insta’ gives you the opportunity to reach out to them.

Can socially-active employees expand your social reach? The answer is yes! Getting your recruiting team to post work-related content regularly and tag shared photos of team dinners/company trips can engage followers. Include hash tags to widen your discoverability, and to avoid your content getting lost in the fast moving flow of data that’s constantly being uploaded. Hash tagging is seen as a rather annoying and pointless tool to those who don’t know its purpose, but it is there to link communities or pages by a key word and this stops the post getting lost. There is also such as thing as too much hash tagging and engagement trends are shown to decrease if there are more than 5 hash tags on a single post.

Businesses could consider using Instagram as a hiring tool. Ask yourself this, are you already using other social media platforms/networks to recruit? Is it worth investing time and money into this process? Instagram has generally proven to be a more effective hiring tool when it is used in conjunction with other social media platforms. According to a study by Buffer, photos that have been uploaded via Instagram and then tweeted had 150% more re-tweets and 89% more favourites. This also happened when pictures were uploaded to Facebook, with 53% more likes than an average post. This type of hiring is especially useful when recruiting for creative and marketing teams because potential candidates tend to be very active on social media platforms.

What can be taken from this is that businesses should at the very least consider Instagram as a business tool. It has taken the social networking world by storm and is very popular among younger generations. For example, it could be used as a great hiring tool for recent graduates and this is the sort of generation that are going to be keen users of the app and easily accessed through it. Look around you, people are always on their phones and there is nothing easier than scrolling through photos, the point is that you don’t have to be a great photographer but instead be smart with what your uploading, just make it eye catching to allow people access to your business.

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