Social Media Business Personas Part 3 | Instagram and Company Image

Have you ever wondered how your business could utilize Instagram to grow your customer bas and create brand awareness? We'll cover that and so much more in part 3 of this 5 part series on social media personas.

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Oh, Instagram… the ultimate source of distorted reality. This social platform opened up shop in 2010 and has been pushing brands/businesses to present the very best version of themselves ever since. As almost everyone knows, Instagram is an image and video based social media platform. For businesses, using Instagram to create brand awareness and find your brand’s voice can be extremely tough. But never fear, we’re here to help.

Instagram tends to sneak into the mindless scrolling category but if you’re doing it right, your business page will put a stop to that. We’ll run you through a few ideas but there’s a few key things you need to know first.

  1. Much like Twitter, the majority of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.
    A whopping 80 percent to be exact.
  2. According to Hootsuite, 18 to 29 year olds make up 59 percent of users in the United States and 33 percent of Instagram users are 30 to 49 year olds. That leaves a mere 8 percent to any audience members 50+ years of age.
  3. 90% of the top 100 global brands have an Instagram account
  4. In 2018, 70.7% of U.S. businesses will conduct their marketing on Instagram

What does all of this mean for YOU? In our opinion, it means businesses need to take a hard look at whether or not it would be worth it to take the time to cultivate and maintain a business account on Instagram. If your audience/customer is somewhere in the ballpark of 45-60+, will you really be reaching them by creating and Insta account? Probably not.

There may be exceptions for highly visual or even humanitarian brands such as nonprofits, fire rescue, emergency services, disaster relief, medical service providers, etc. In our experience, brands with even a meager amount of their target audience on Instagram can perform well when the brand’s initiatives appeal to more than just their customer.

National Geographic and the American Red Cross are excellent examples of highly visual and humanitarian brands that have found success on Instagram. Though you would expect these brand audiences to be vacant from social media, they have both found great success on the platform. National Geographic (a highly visual brand) was listed as THE leading business instagram account in 2018 by HubSpot.

They’re highly impactful photos and videos have been successful in driving audience conversations on topics such as conservation, endangered animals and nature based cultures. They’re Instagram page currently has an impressive 91 million+ followers.

The American Red Cross is another one of those brands you’d expect to have a majority audience outside of Instagram (seems like they’d be more Facebook material if you ask us). Would you be surprised to know that their page has 118,000 followers? We were. Yes, the brand is massive on its own. But the key insight here is that though their audience is primarily of an older age range, they have still managed to use the visual nature of Instagram to get people talking and to follow their brand.

In contrast, if your brand’s target audience IS within the prime Instagram user age range (18 to 29 years old), this social platform could be a gold mine for engagement. Product based brands generally find wild success selling their wares here as they are able to post the best possible photos of their items and provide direct links to buy them.

Key Tools of Instagram

Should you decide that it would be worthwhile to create your own Instagram account for business, there are a few key tools you should be aware of.

  1. Hashtags - Much like other social platforms, Hashtags are widely used on Instagram to driver conversation on a topic, product or event. The cool difference here is that hashtags can also be used on story posts. Data shows that users are extremely active in Instagram stories so this might be a better means of reaching users. Try this feature rather than using hashtags in your normal page posts. Our maybe a/b test it by using hashtags on both!
  2. Videos - Videos can also be used on other social platforms but this may be the easiest way to break up the monotony of posting photo after photo. For video posts, the limit is 15 seconds. This might force you to be a bit creative with what content you shoot. You might find Instagram TV to be more helpful but it’s good to know normal video posts are an option.
  3. Instagram TV - Instagram TV is a great chance for businesses to get even closer to their audience and utilize a longer video time limit to get them engaged. Users will only see content from creators they are already following. This means if your content is showing to users, they have already bought into your brand.

Soundtracks on Instagram Stories

Instagram has partnered with music labels to allow users to incorporate music into their story videos or photos. Simply shoot your photo/video then swipe up and choose the “music” selection. The chosen track will them play over the photo or video posted to your Instagram story. As an added bonus, users are able to select a specific snippet of the song and click on the music sticker to learn more about the song and artist.

  1. Questions and Polls on Instagram Stories - This works the same as the music feature. Take your photo or video and swipe up to select the “poll” or “question”. Users have the ability to customize the poll/question asked to anything they want. Answers to these items will only be visible to you until you decide to respond/post them.
  2. Instagram Live - This feature works the same as Facebook live. If you find the majority of your users are on Instagram, this would be an awesome way to connect with them in real time. We’ve seen this tool used for everything from live reporting to live giveaways, product announcements, etc.
  3. Shopping feature on Instagram Stories - Link to products for sale on your story. These products can be linked on both photos and videos.

Photo credit - Instagram for business blog

All in all, Instagram is an industry leading and diverse tool that can really drive up your overall user engagement. The amount of tools available can be overwhelming at times but definitely aid in the creative process. We encourage you to give it a try. Instagram may be an easy means of creating brand awareness, getting your products out there and increasing sales.