At this point in the game, we’re used to visiting brand websites and seeing their list of social media links. You’ll definitely see the Facebook and Twitter. It is possible that Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn will be there, too. Who’s missing far too often? Instagram.
It doesn’t take much to understand why Instagram has so much wind behind it’s sails. It naturally does the following three things that most other social platforms are trying desperately to do:
1. It’s built for mobile.
Mobile usage continues to grow rapidly, and–unlike most other major social platforms–Instagram is a mobile-first experience.
2. It’s built for photo and video sharing.
Facebook and Twitter have realized in recent years that photos and video are what drive their platforms. They’re what people want to share, and they’re what people want to see. This isn’t an aspect of Instagram; it’s the whole ball of wax.
3. It works well with others.
Instagram posts can be easily and seamlessly pushed out to Facebook and Twitter. So it isn’t that “Post X” is for Instagram while “Post Y” is for Twitter. It’s all just one piece of integrated, synergistic goodness. Not to mention, Instagram Direct allows you to interface even more directly with your customers via direct messages.
So what does this mean for your brand?
Alright, alright, you get it. People love Instagram, and it will only be getting bigger. So what? With its use of photos and short videos, Instagram allows your brand to do a few things:
1. Showcase what you do.
I don’t just mean showing boring stock photos. You can also show your stuff out in the wild. Show people wearing your shirt or eating in your restaurant or pushing your lawnmower.
2. Show some personality!
Give an inside look at your business. Make people want to work with you. Include photos from your holiday party. Add quick mini-interviews with your employees using the feature noted next.
3. More than just photos!
With a little work, you can create custom graphics for Instagram instead of only relying on photos. Just remember that people are primarily on Instagram for photos, and–like with all social media–you’ll turn people off if you spent too much time selling.
The things to watch out for:
Instagram is very different from other social platforms in a few key ways. These will be crucial to deciding if it’s the right platform for you.
1. You can’t fake the content.
Although you can occasionally create graphics (like the fireworks one from earlier), most of what you include needs to be original photo and video content. Most of it can’t be outsourced, because it needs to provide a genuinely inside look. Content curation doesn’t work very well with Instagram either.
Ask yourself if you can create generate enough photos to keep your page populated.
2. Instagram’s API isn’t agency-friendly.
Instagram does not allow you to upload content from a desktop device, and you can’t be loaded into multiple accounts at once. This renders social media management tools virtually useless when it comes to Instagram. This shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. It just requires some additional planning and resources.
3. You can’t include links.
If you’re just looking for increasing website traffic, Instagram is not for you. Nothing is linkable within Instagram. If you have a short and simple URL, you can include it, but people will need to manually add it once they’re in they’re browser.
Again, this isn’t a deal-breaker. Instagram’s value is in branding and telling your audience what you’re about; not just about pushing traffic somewhere.
Looking for some ideas and support for your Instagram plans? Raidious can help get your Instagram strategy up and running.