Instagram is Facebook for teenagers. At least, that is what I heard. Demographics seem to (at least partly) disagree. At Yoast, we don’t actively use Instagram for business at the moment, to be honest. With the increasing popularity of the platform, I heard they already topped Twitter’s user base, it made me wonder why we are not actively engaging in the Instagram community.
In this post, I will explain what I think Instagram for business is, who should or could use it and why we don’t use it much in our own social marketing efforts. Yet.
Why use Instagram for business
Business.instagram.com has some case studies you might want to read. As our business is different from the businesses highlighted, I did some more digging into the active brands on Instagram and roughly found four different kind of businesses on Instagram:
This seems to be obvious, but if you have a physical product, get your Instagram account now and start photographing. Like Pinterest marketing, Instagram for business will make your product sharable and visible on yet another social platform. Inform the community of new products or show off your spring collection in advance (sneak preview).
Great photography is part of your business
That seems like an odd one, but we all expect National Geographic to share nicer photos than Barney’s Car Repair. If your business consists of great photos already, please do share them on Instagram as well, as we really want to see these. Personally I think that any background information provided with great photos makes them come alive even more. When your main business is great articles and awesome photos, Instagram is definitely right for your business.
- National Geographic, 10.3 million followers
- GoPro, 3.8 million followers
- Australia, 1 million followers
By the way, if you are a photographer, also be sure to read this post about Photography SEO we did.
Community oriented brands
If your business has an active, outgoing community, be sure to use Instagram for business. If you can get that community involved, for instance using Instagram contests, you can easily grow your social following on Instagram even more. Larger brands like Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s leverage that community very well in Instagram.
- Starbucks, 3.5 million followers
- Ben & Jerry’s, 428 thousand followers
- Swatch, 254 thousand followers
Although most businesses won’t be able to relate to these, Instagram is used a lot by celebrities, of course. Justin Bieber gets 60K+ comments for just sticking his tongue out. But that’s not our business…
- Justin Bieber, 21.1 million followers
- Rihanna, 13.8 million followers
- Miley Cyrus, 13.9 million followers
Next to the obvious photographers, I am sure you can come up with more businesses that will do well on Instagram, but these are the four main groups I found. A number of weeks ago, Instagram announced they have over 300 million accounts at the moment. Regardless of how active these accounts are, with over 70 million photos and videos shared every day, that’s a lot. Period.
Using Instagram for business
The common thread of all Instagram business profiles seems to be either great photography or a mix of business (product photos) and fun (either funny images or happy employee pictures). I totally agree with Kevan Lee from Buffer, who mentions these important Instagram for business guidelines:
- Post consistently, but avoid being pushy.
- Show what others can do with your product, not just the product.
Keep in mind that Facebook, that acquired Instagram in 2012, still has a much larger user base. Sharing your Instagram efforts on Facebook as well seems to pay off as a result of that. Besides the easy ‘mixing’ of Facebook and Instagram for business purposes, Facebook also repeats the hashtags created on Instagram.
Hashtags in Instagram
These hashtags are very valuable. In fact, you can’t go wrong with these. In the same article, Kevan mentions a finding (after testing) by Max Woolfe: The more hashtags you use, the more likes your photo will get. The article states that: “Instagram photos which have the maximum of 30 #tags receive, on average, about three times as many Likes than photos with only a few tags.”
Now I don’t want to encourage you to add 30 hashtags to every image – I like less tags for better user experience – but it does seem to work. In the image based setup of the social platform, Instagram might be less easy to browse and relies a bit more on hashtags because of that. But that is just me thinking out loud. Bottom line: use hashtags.
Instagram for your consultancy business
Like Pinterest, Instagram is about visualisation of your company. Some brands and products are easy to promote via Instagram, others seem less likely to succeed in this. Do we use Instagram at Yoast? Hardly.
Although our target audience might be on Instagram, Facebook remains a very effective and perhaps easier to turn to platform to reach that audience (due to reach, experience, etc). But we do realize that the ease of posting on Instagram, Facebook developing the tool, growth of use and celebrities and big brands using it actively, Instagram for business could be / is the next big thing.
Thibault Davoult from Nitrogram wrote a very nice article: The 5 Biggest Misconceptions About Using Instagram for Business. I had all these arguments about why we don’t actively use Instagram and he basically killed all the arguments in that one post. Be sure to read it when you feel that your product, like ours, files under ‘unsexy’. The only remaining reason is that it isn’t in our regular social media system. Yet.
Convince me on how to incorporate Instagram in our social media strategy. Should consultancy companies, or software companies for that matter, fill their own Instagram feed and how? What kind of images would you be interested in from Yoast, for instance?
If you are a self-proclaimed Instagram for business guru, I trust you will have some insights for us. Looking forward to these!