A guide to using Instagram effectively for your business
Instagram, the Facebook-owned image-centric social network, is one of the fastest-growing media platforms in South Africa. In 2015, Instagram’s year-on-year growth was 133%, with its user-base increasing from 1,1m to 2,68m in South Africa, according to World Wide Worx South African Social Media Landscape 2016 report.
Social media platforms can tend to snowball – as smartphones become universal and cheaper data rates (or more people being able to afford data, or greater access to wifi) become the standard in South Africa, relatively data-intensive platforms like Instagram are expected to grow further.
Even if your business produces a good or service that does not naturally fit in the bounds of traditional aesthetic industries (such as fashion and food), Instagram’s ubiquity and high levels of user engagement should push you to consider establishing a presence on the platform (even if that does not necessarily translate into a sales-focussed position). Brands like GE have used Instagram as a means by which they have increased relatability, notably using the platform to show off their industrial processes and research departments. You may not be able to show off your product in an Instagram photo, but you can display your businesses culture and values.
Conditions are good – so how do you set about using Instagram, and using it in a manner that allows you to attract customers and bring in revenue for your business? How do you turn a browser into a buyer.
Setting up an Instagram account is incredibly easy – you download the app, and associate it with a Facebook account. Manage the settings so that your website is linked, and so that your business details are listed on your profile.
Instagram offers three products – photo ads, video ads (of up to 60 seconds), and carousel ads, which allow for a post to contain a number of images.
You can use these media options to achieve a variety of objectives, if you are committed to Instagram’s paid advertising platform. Instagram supports a wide variety of key performance indicators: getting people to visit your website, having them perform specific actions on your website (such as completing a transaction), installing a mobile app, getting users of an app to engage with it more, having viewers of the ad engage with it in Instagram (through liking or commenting), or, simply, having eyes on your ad.
Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising platform to organise their offerings, meaning that you are able to target your ads towards users that fit in with a demographic that you believe will buy your products.
Once you have set up your account, and have constructed your advertising campaign, all that remains is to populate your stream with images and short videos. Try to keep content ‘on message’ – avoid trivial and irrelevant posts. With a little practice, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of one of the most effective brand awareness channels.