3 Myths and Misconceptions
With 300 million active users each month and 70 million photos shared each day, Instagram seems like a no-brainer for brands looking to gain exposure. But a recent survey by Yesmail found that while 80 percent of brands use Facebook and 82 percent manage a Twitter account, a paltry 23 percent have active Instagram profiles.
Could it be just a case of misunderstanding, or are these brands making a conscious effort to stay off of the photo-sharing app? If businesses knew just how effectively Instagram could round out brand recognition and customer interaction, no brand would be caught without a profile. Debunking a few of the myths and misconceptions brands have about Instagram can help remove some of the roadblocks stopping them from utilizing what could be an effective marketing strategy.
Myth #1: Instagram is only for visual products
It’s true that visual products–from makeup to skateboards–show particularly well on Instagram. In many cases, Instagram serves as customer education by allowing brands a platform for demonstration, inspiration, and ideas. But if you sell a product or service that is less visually inclined, don’t miss out on an excellent opportunity to show off your business.
By posting pictures of work culture, events, and other interesting tidbits, you give customers a peek into operations. It gives the public a chance to get to know your brand better and generates interest in brand news and even individual employees. By offering an Instagram profile along with other social media platforms, brands score a human element that can’t always be replicated on Facebook and Twitter.
Myth #2: Instagram is only for big brands
Nike tops the chart for brands on Instagram: The sportswear giant boasts 10.7 million followers. Other heavy hitters include Victoria’s Secret (9.7 million), H&M (4.9 million), and Louis Vuitton (3.8 million). They’re the numbers that most brands can only dream of, so smaller businesses might feel as though Instagram is reserved for internationally recognized brands only.
It’s true that big brands can amass cult-like followings on Instagram, but smaller businesses can make an impact, too. Instagram is particularly effective for local advertising: An individual looking for a great gelato restaurant is going to search hashtags based on location rather than a generic term. This allows smaller brands to bring in local and niche foot traffic based on small-yet-powerful Instagram accounts that see their small size as an advantage. Big isn’t always necessarily better, especially for local businesses that rely on physical patronage.
Myth #3: Instagram is hard to track
When compared to the integrated analytics tools offered by Facebook and Twitter, it’s true that Instagram is lacking. Instagram doesn’t have statistics and analytics built into the app, so you might feel safer sticking with social media platforms where you can measure clicks and interactions.
But, thanks to third-party apps and statistics, you can still measure the effectiveness of your Instagram profile. Services such as Statigram and Nitrogram provide valuable insights into hashtag activity, engagement rates, and impressions for Instagram users. They might not be as sophisticated as Facebook’s tools, but can suffice as a way to measure the impact Instagram can have.
Long story short: Brands should offer a full menu of social networking platforms. A few well-maintained social media profiles–including the decidedly casual Instagram–gives customers a chance to interact with brands in a way that is unmatched by other marketing methods.