There are few people who haven’t heard of Instagram or know its value as a mobile photo sharing app. Some of you may have even used Instagram to take and share a few photos of your own. Instagram has wound its way into our lives as a fun photo sharing tool for personal use. However, Instagram’s power as a social media networking tool for business should not be underestimated.
Instagram has grown in leaps and bounds since it was first introduced in 2010. In the past year alone its user base has increased over 50%. At the end of 2014, Instagram surpassed Twitter with over 300 million active users and over 70 million photos and videos shared daily.*
From a business perspective Instagram is a great marketing tool. One advantage that Instagram has over Facebook is that it does not follow a complicated algorithm of what shows up in followers’ newsfeeds. When you post a photo or video to Instagram, you can feel confident that your followers will see it. Perhaps this is part of the reason Instagram has become one of the most engaging social media platforms for brands today.
A recent study of brand engagement amongst Instagram, Facebook and Twitter resulted in Instagram showing engagement rates far above the rest. Instagram received engagement rates of 4.21% which when compared to Facebook and Twitter’s engagement rates of .07% and .03% respectively, clearly demonstrated it as the winner.**
If you are a business looking to increase engagement with your clients and prospects then Instagram is worth your consideration. This is particularly true if your business relies heavily on photos and videos to sell products and services.
One such industry currently enjoying the benefits of Instagram is Real Estate. With Instagram realtors can highlight special features and even virtual tours of a home in a very organic and genuine way. For instance who wouldn’t be intrigued to check out a home with a special feature like this?
For a great example of a real estate company who is using Instagram effectively, check out CalgaryRealEstate. Not only do they regularly post compelling photos but they also make great use of Instagram’s video function by sharing tours of listed properties.
Of course sending out great videos and photos of listed properties means very little unless you can actually target it to the right market. What makes Instagram great for targeting is its effective use of hashtags. Unlike Facebook which can be hit and miss with hashtags, Instagram relies heavily on hashtags for search. As a result hashtag usage on Instagram is very effective, if not necessary.
When used to tag your product or service, hashtags make your posts easy to find by users who are performing relevant searches. In addition to products and services, hashtags can also be used to target specific areas in which your listings reside (#CrystalLake). They can also be used to target special features of a property listing eg. #VaultedCeiling.
If you have the Instagram app on your mobile phone, search the hashtag #GrandePrairieRealEstate. You will find the results bring up posts from a local realtor in Grande Prairie, AB. By simply typing in a few words in the search field, this realtor’s photos of listings are directly in the hands of interested users.
Another way in which Instagram can effectively target your posts is through its photo map tool. With Instagram’s photo map tool you can geo-tag your photos. Geo-tagging your photos places them on a map which users can then use to browse your photos in a very location specific way. This is great for highlighting property listings in a specific area.
Instagram also integrates seamlessly with other social media platforms to automatically post your Instagram content to both Twitter and Facebook. This allows for a more robust social media content strategy. The added benefit of cross-posting to Facebook is that since it owns Instagram, content shared from Instagram is more likely to appear in your friends/followers newsfeeds then content shared from outside of Facebook’s properties.
If you currently have a social media strategy for your company we encourage you to give Instagram a try. We’re not suggesting you implement it as a replacement to Twitter or Facebook but as a delightful addition to your social media marketing efforts. If positioned right it will allow your users to get a more personal, behind-the-scenes look at your company and will also give you a bit of an edge over competitors that have yet to adopt this medium.