Instagram. I’ve been talking about it a lot lately. What it is, how to use it, and so on and so forth, but then one day it dawned on me… While all this education is great, it doesn’t help if you aren’t sure WHY you should be using Instagram. So, here I am with my Top 5 reasons why your business should be on Instagram. Once you’re convinced, be sure to keep up with Lisa Perry Social for all the education you need on how to run your Instagram profile successfully!
1. It’s Where Your Audience (and Competition) Is
Social media marketing isn’t just about where you want to be. It’s about being where your target audience is. Sure, you might feel more comfortable with Facebook right now, but if you’re targeting the millennial age group, then you’re missing them by not being on Instagram. And plenty of parents and grandparents are heading over to Instagram to see pictures of those grandkids, so don't rule out that audience either. It's growing!
According to a recent report from Instagram, there are currently 1 billion users on the platform. That’s 1 billion chances to make an impression. Now, of course, small businesses won’t be targeting all 1 billion, but you can’t argue with that sample size! Plus, Instagram is home to over 25 million business profiles. In other words, if you’re not on it, your competitor probably is—and they’re probably stealing away some of your target audience.
2. It Expands Your Reach
Did you know that 80% of social media browsing takes place on mobile devices? However, it’s really no surprise. If you have kids, especially teenagers like me, you know how often they’re on their smartphones. This stat works heavily in Instagram’s favor because it’s one of the only mobile-specific platforms. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, it was created as an app for your phone, not a website. It was literally made with mobile browsing in mind. So, what does that mean for expanding your reach? Stay with me here… It’s all about hashtags.
Twitter may have “invented” our modern use of hashtags, but Instagram perfected them. Say you’re a small, family owned restaurant selling authentic Japanese ramen. You take a picture of your gorgeous bowl of traditional soup, you post it to your Instagram profile, and then what? Only the few followers you have saw it, so what was the point? Well, here’s the trick… Add some hashtags. #ramen #porkbelly #soyegg #japanesenoodles
Those simple additions describing your product just made a world of difference, because now whenever someone craving ramen looks up #ramen on Instagram, they’ll see YOU. One little word took you from a few of your own followers to whoever has a craving. Talk about expanding your reach!
Now, you might be thinking, “But Lisa, you just told me there are 1 billion people on Instagram! That’s too big a reach! How can I narrow it down to people who can actually come to my store?” I know. You’re absolutely right, and guess what, there’s a solution.
One way to narrow down that big reach is to add a location qualifier to your hashtag. If you’re a barber in Charlotte (commonly known by the letters CLT), try using #cltbarber rather than just #barber. Believe it or not, I actually know someone who moved to Charlotte looking for a new barber and searched #cltbarber on Instagram. Not on Google or Yelp or any of the sites you might expect. On Instagram! The barber he chose got new business solely because he showed up under #cltbarber.
If you’re not in a bigger city, however, try just tagging the city itself as a hashtag. That way if someone comes to Concord, NC and is looking for things to do, you’ll appear whenever they search #concordnc. Maybe they’ll see your delicious bowl of ramen or amazing barber skills and realize it’s exactly what they’re looking for!
3. It Helps You Engage and Connect
Instagram is the best place for you to prove to your audience that you’re not just some faceless business. You’re a real person, one who works hard and cares deeply about what you do. Show them that. Bring your personality into your profile with posts and IG Stories that take your followers behind the scenes of your business.
While you can (and should!) do some of this on Facebook as well, Instagram offers you more ways to connect with your audience than any other platform. Most of it comes through IG Stories—a “slideshow” (for lack of a better word) of temporary images that only last for 24 hours—and their built-in Engagement Stickers. These stickers allow you to directly interact with your followers by asking questions, taking polls, or even asking for donations. To learn more about how to use IG Stories to engage with your audience, check out Instagram Stories 101, a step-by-step video-based workshop featuring over 2 hours of education! It will give you the confidence to start using this powerful social tool.
4. It Allows You to Effectively Use Influencers
Influencers?! Yes, influencers. But no, I don’t mean one like a Kardashian or a YouTube celebrity. I mean local people or non-competing businesses in your city or community who carry a lot of influence with the public. Maybe they already have a lot of followers of their own or maybe their presence alone is enough to boost your business. Either way, Instagram is the platform of influencers.
According to Hubspot data, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase online if the product or service comes recommended by others.
Basically, people trust influencers because they’re not the person behind the business. I'll share a true story. It is really tough to think of yourself as an influencer, but I believe that I am a bit of one in my community—partly because I embraced social media early and I love to share what I'm up to, but also because I am a small business owner who loves shining a spotlight on other small businesses that I enjoy. Last year, I discovered a new Mexican Bakery that had HUGE pastries at a very reasonable price. I shared it on social media. Later that day, I heard from two friends who ran into each other there and happened to say they heard about it from a friend's social media post. Turns out, it was mine. TWO PEOPLE went to a bakery the same day because a tiny micro-influencer shared. THAT is powerful.
There are so many options for using influencers on Instagram, but it will take some work on your part to engage some. The simplest would be to ask them to post about your business. If they mention you, you can repost it to your Instagram Story. Another way would be to feature them on your Instagram and vice versa (mention them so they can share it on their Story). For community-based micro-influencers, this form of tagging is essential to help expand your reach (hmm, sounds familiar) and sell your products.
5. It’s an E-Magazine for Your Business
Instagram is the picture platform. It’s the place where people go to be the most creative with their photos, graphics, videos, and essentially anything visual. Here is where you can create a beautiful representation of what your business is about all at a glance.
Facebook is post after post and Twitter is tweet after tweet, but Instagram compiles all your posts into one profile page—that’s your e-magazine. It allows people who may have discovered you through #cltbarber to see what you’re all about without taking them off the platform. Take some time to make sure it looks great! Don't just throw up random photos or graphics of ads. It takes some time and patience to figure out your brand, but you can do it! All you have to do is study and put in the time... Then it just becomes FUN!
If you want to learn more about how to Take Your Instagram Game to the Next Level, join me for a free webinar on November 13, 2019 at 12PM. Yes, you heard that right. It’s completely FREE to you. Even if you can’t make it right at that time, anyone who registers will get a recording and slide deck. Sounds like there’s no reason not to sign up!
Thank you for your genuine interest! My video course series will motivate, educate, and maybe even entertain you a little bit. I'll let you know when they are ready!