Instagram is a Facebook-owned photo-based social media site with over 500 million active monthly users. While the platform might not have as many regular users as Facebook, in recent months it has overtaken Twitter in user volume, and its demographic skews significantly younger than Facebook, with the average American Insta account belonging to someone under 34.
Unlike other platforms, Instagram’s photo-based content can prove limiting to some businesses, but for those who make it work, the rewards can be significant. Accounts as diverse as National Geographic (61 million followers) and FedEx (52 thousand followers) are harnessing the power of photos to change how their interact with their customers.
Instagram loves business accounts. It has a handy starting guide to Instagram for business. Instagram also offers insights into performance and user data, as well as the ability to boost or promote posts.
Like most other social media platforms, Instagram makes use of hashtags to curate posts and attract audiences. Some tags are universal, but it’s always worthwhile looking for platform-specific tags wherever possible. #[x]ofInstagram is usually popular, for example a kennel service might use #DogsOfInstagram, rather than plain #Dogs. Instagram offers some hashtag inspiration, and there are plenty of guides to finding the best hashtags.
The most important part of any Instagram account is the content. On Facebook an account has the ability to share nothing but memes. On Twitter, interaction is limited to 140 characters. Instagram’s success is dependent on an account’s ability to post regular, appealing photographs.
No, you don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but the ability to take a decent photo is a must. Instagram’s filters and editing software help users create a professional-looking post. Then there are photo editing apps that make simple changes to ordinary snaps to make them look even more dramatic.
The main consideration, however, is what to photograph. Accounts like GoPro seem an obvious fit for this platform (and with 10.4 million followers, they’re proving the point). However even unlikely businesses such as the TSA are reaping rewards. This is because Instagram is less about magazine-perfect layouts and more about telling a story. It’s Twitter for your camera phone. Don’t be afraid of being informal and showing the human side of your brand. You’ll reap the benefit in followers.
Instagram isn’t a one-platform-fits-all social media network. However if your business can present itself through photos, its expanding user base and engaged audiences make it an absolutely must.
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