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Social Media – we have been talking about it continously in various contexts over the last years but can companies do authentic marketing with social media platforms? Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have established themselves to be important parts of many people’s everyday-life. Especially Instagram is still growing in popularity and becoming more meaningful. Many brands and businesses have been focusing on the app’s potential, over 500.000 advertisers are on Instagram. The question is: why is Instagram so popular and why should brands focus on this platform.
Instagram is the world’s second favorite social network. The content that is shared there is distributed to a sheer endless amount of users: over 500 million people use Instagram worldwide, 300 million of which use the app daily. Concerning the motives for using the app, the app’s relevance for commercial input is continuously growing. 47% of Instagram users state they use the app to find new products and therefore the app guides their own shopping experiences. Additionally, Instagram is helpful in growing your own brand’s presence. 45% of users stated they are more likely to remember brands who are active on social media platforms like Instagram, as opposed to brands who rely on traditional media or advertising campaigns. This means, Instagram will allow you to target a wide audience while establishing a long-term brand awareness.
What is special about Instagram is the cost-benefit ratio. The effort you will put into your Instagram account is a lot smaller than the effort you would need for offline advertising campaigns. Still, Instagram accounts generate large successes. For example by integrating user-generated content into your own marketing channels. The integration of User Generated Content ensures authentic marketing. User-generated content is real, inspiring and completely authentic.
While advertising can fail due to missing your target-group, Instagram users engage with brands on their own. 62% of users state they follow brands on Instagram, simply because they like them. This results in a larger possibility to reach your target-group with content you share on Instagram. Publishing content on Instagram will allow you to communicate with a group that is already interested in your brand. This way you can generate content which will be according to their interests and will eventually lead to commerce. Successful Instagram accounts have recorded large engagement rates. Some of them have reached up to 4.2% of engagement per follower – this engagement is directly connected to brand awareness, positive attitudes towards your company and growing conversions.
Besides the obvious numerical benefits, Instagram as a network has many important and useful benefits. Any content you share will be available to your users until you delete it. Anytime a user visits your profile, they are able to appreciate all the content you have ever published in your gallery. The grid-structure of Instagram guarantees that your content can be viewed evenly and what’s especially important, it’s organized chronologically. Likes and comments are an immediate source of feedback on Instagram. As the engagement rate on Instagram is relatively high, the interaction you record is a valid pool of information about your followers and their attitude towards your content. Using this interaction, you can adjust your content or account anytime and are able to measure how successful different kinds of content are. Additionally, the interactions with your followers and (potential) clients can raise their brand loyalty and construct a positive image for your brand.
The overriding benefit of Instagram is the fact that you can only publish visual content. Anything you publish will be published and viewed individually, guaranteeing that every picture or video will at some point be the only thing the user will see on his screen. Users can view pictures quickly. Long interaction is usually not necessary. This is what differentiates Instagram from long Facebook-posts or online articles. Instagram therefore allows their users to focus on single, solely visual content. Primarily, Instagram is not a space for advertising. Users are interested in authentic content. Instagram supports this by allowing you to upload pictures or videos almost any shape and color. For the most part, there are no boundaries for your content. One of the most important thing here is that companies aim for authentic marekting to maintain the uniqueness of Instagram.
Anything is possible on Instagram. Whether it’s a picture featuring your product, a video that explains how the product is produced or more personal content, like insides into your daily business. This way, your brand can generate authentic and individual content that will support and benefit your company’s image. As mentioned before, the current user statistics clarify that the range of users you can reach and convert into customers is unbelievably wide. What is important to note about Instagram is that the probability of actually reaching a large amount of these users is fairly high. Facebook and Twitter will only enable you to reach those who have liked your page or are following you. Instagram on the other hand makes content visible for other users, too. The “Explore”-section of the app increases the range of the content immensely. This section features pictures that other accounts you follow have liked as well as content from accounts who are similar to those you already follow. This enables you to reach users beyond those who follow you.
Another one of Instagram’s benefits is the fact that you are technically able to reach user as at any given time since the app is mainly used on mobile. Most people use Instagram on their smartphone, which allows them to take a quick look at the app almost anytime. This allows brands or companies to integrate their content into users’ everyday life without seeming pushy or having to make a large effort. The mobile structure of the app also makes handling your account easy as you can upload images on the go from your smartphone. This is especially beneficial when you want to publish current information.
Of course, Instagram needs to be treated with care: content needs to be of high quality and customized for your target group. In addition to this, authentic marketing should be focused. This requires time and resources. Still, the benefits of Instagram speak for themselves and show that the effort is worth it.