Social media evolves quickly. You think you’ve mastered it, and then suddenly there’s a new update or feature to understand and integrate into your marketing mix.
And Instagram is one that’s taking businesses by surprise when it comes to its evolving impact.
To give you an idea, it’s now our second highest referrer of website traffic, making it one of our most important marketing tools. And that’s a change from 2 years ago.
Instagram and revenue generation
Instagram is well-established but it’s still being regularly updated: stories and live broadcasts have been rolled out to all accounts, and there’s talk of the grid changing to display as 4 x 4 rather than 3 x 3. (Incidentally, this change is a nightmare for anyone with a carefully curated feed or Instagram script embedded on their website. Harper’s Bazaar is just one of the accounts that won’t thank Instagram if the change is implemented.)
Once you’ve built up your account to 10,000 followers, you can add swipe up web links to your Insta Stories – a great way to attract people to your site and begin their purchasing journey.
And Instagram adverts are an amazing thing (more than 2 million advertisers use the site). One of the factors fuelling the doubling in growth since March 2017 is the incredibly detailed targeting options. You can tailor ads to be shown to a specific audience selected by age, gender, location, interests, household income and parents with children of a particular age. You can even select people who have previously engaged with your content, and ask Instagram to add similar people who might be interested in your adverts. You can then test different copy and imagery to see what gets the best results.
Web links in your Insta ads with call to actions such as ‘shop now’ or ‘learn more’ send potential customers straight to your product page, making it easy for them to purchase from you. Even if you’re not selling direct, you can funnel people to a booking form, email sign-up page or a download your app. You can track where your web visitors are coming from and calculate the return on your Instagram advertising spend.
Working with influencers
Working with an influencer involves trading with someone to promote your business or product for you instead of advertising directly to your audience. It’s the online equivalent of sponsoring someone to wear your football boots; instead, you give them the boots and in return they will post photos of themselves wearing them to share with their Insta followers. One of the reasons influencers are so attractive to brands is that nearly as many people trust recommendations from influencers (49%) as trust recommendations from their friends (56%).
Kim Kardashian proves that being an influencer is big business – she’s reportedly being paid up to $500,000 for promotional Instagram posts. Chiara Ferragni, with over 10 million followers, was recently named Forbes’ top influencer and inspired a Harvard Business School case study on her success.
Realistically, not many brands can afford Kim Kardashian or Chiara Ferragni, and it’s unlikely to be the best use of your marketing budget. But a partnership with a micro-influencer – someone with far fewer followers but carefully selected to match your target audience – could be perfect.
Always remember social media isn’t just about the big numbers. Partnering with someone who has 1,000 followers who are all interested in your niche could be more valuable to you than a celebrity with millions of followers. Like all marketing, monitoring and analysis are crucial (and go beyond likes and followers to measure comments, click-throughs and purchases).