Social media, either you love it or you hate it. I can honestly say that I have a love/hate relationship with it as well, especially with Instagram. It did enable me to make a job out of it as I am currently giving workshops about Instagram marketing for consumers, companies and brands. Am constantly on Instagram building my own brand, managing accounts for other brands, and am trying to keep up with the ever growing platform, which I love, but secretly sometimes hate as well.
There are so many new developments and features being introduced here every day, which makes it almost impossible to keep up. But as an online marketeer I have to and I will happily tell you more about later on in this blog!
The inspiration, opportunities and connections Instagram offers are amazing, and more than I ever expected of a simple photo app, but the pressure of the algorithm changing all the time, the rapid updates and marketing side of it sometimes drives me crazy.
It forces me to be online every day, step up my game and keep educating myself about the social media updates and features.
That is why I am super proud that I was able to share all these insights, experience and knowledge I have accumulated the past few years with 46 ladies in 6 workshops the past few weeks, and with 4 companies and brands soon.
Even though it is business and developing and giving workshops of 3 hours each about this subject was a challenge, the ability to share my knowledge and help others find their way into this new media landscape and set up and build out their own brand was very rewarding.
You can read more about this on my workshops page.
In this blog I will show you the value of Instagram for your business and will tell you all about the opportunities it offers brands, compared to other platforms.
Value of Instagram for your business or brand
If you have a website, blog, a shop, (small) business, brand, are thinking of starting one, or want to become your own brand as an ‘’influencer’’ or brand ambassador, then here are some reasons and stats to convince you why you should definitely be on Instagram to increase your success rate:
Right now Instagram is the 3rd biggest social media platform worldwide,
But also the fastest growing with the most active users, as it has doubled in users the past 2 years,
End of this year it may reach 1 billion active worldwide users, it has rapidly surpassed Twitter and is even catching up with Facebook, as you can see here:
Even though the USA is still the biggest market, 60% of the users is from outside the US, which offers huge worldwide potential for your brand,
Instagram generates 58 times more engagement than Facebook,
New features, such as Instagram stories, are being used widely and have already passed the user base of Snapchat in only 4 months!
Instagram is highly accessible to all ages and is very valuable for inspiration based businesses such as fashion and travel brands, with its # and location search functions,
Adblockers and peer influence make Instagram a very valuable tool for influencer marketing to promote your brand in a more authentic and effective way than traditional media can,
In the USA this has proven to generate 55% more ROI than offline advertisement methods,
Social proof is very important to generate trust, as more than 80% of consumers look at social media first, before they decide to trust or even buy something from your business or brand.
With these stats it should be obvious that it's essential to use social media for your website, brand or business to keep up. And even though the userbase on Instagram is a bit younger than Facebook, and Facebook is still the biggest social media platform worldwide, you have to focus on future generations as well and make sure you’re visible on this fastest growing platform, before your competitors catch up and the market will be over saturated.
Instagram growth & engagement opportunities
So how do you do this?
Use Instagram, all the tools it has to offer and use them well!
Even though good content is still king, consistency is as well! That is why you have to post on a daily basis, open the app regularly and be active several times a day. That’s the only way to grow and get more reach by the algorithm.
But next to that you have to use all the tools Instagram offers:
Apply the location function
Research and use relevant hashtags and many (max 30)
Tag relevant accounts
Work together with other companies, brands and influencers
Follow relevant accounts to connect
And be social, take initiative and engage with other accounts, don’t be a taker!
This feature can be used to give people a less curated peak into your account and brand. A behind the scenes look into what you are doing right now, which will create valuable experiences and engagement.
And because Instagram shows the stories in the top of the search bar to accounts that do not follow you as well, and also features location options and # in the stories, your account can also be found by many potential new followers and customers, which creates lots of new traffic opportunities for your brand.
Loop give aways
Another new opportunity is the loop give away, which many people don’t know about yet or don’t understand, that is why I decided to test this myself and tell you more about here.
What is a loop give away? It’s a big group of huge influencers giving away prizes to one of the lucky contestants that enters by following all 20-40 accounts in one give away loop. The follower gain it can bring you is huge and as a good marketeer I felt I had to test this, as it is a legal way to grow your follower base organically.
These loop posts look like this:
There are however many misconceptions about the loop give away and unfortunately some people think negatively about them, as they don’t like give aways on social media in general. That is why I will answer all the questions and remarks I heard about this phenomena here to clarify my findings:
How does it work?
You have to find a platform or Instagram user who is organizing a loop give away and has contacts with other big accounts to form a group of a minimum of 20 IG-ers. Loop groups with big IG-ers with at least 1 to 5 million followers will bring you the best results as these big accounts have the most reach and their followers will have to follow you as well if they want to join the competition.
What does it cost?
This depends on the prize that is offered for the winner and the size of the other accounts in the loop. The fee you have to pay to join this give away covers the payment for the organization of the loop, cost of the prize and the fee which the biggest accounts are receiving to offer the reach of their followers, as obviously they wouldn't do this for free with 500K - 5 million followers.
The fee you have to pay to join can vary from $20-$600 or more, depending on the account sizes in the loop.
Isn’t it the same as buying followers then?
Not really. The followers you will gain from this are of course not following you for the right reason and about 25% will unfollow again after the winner is announced, but they are real and the ones that do keep following you might like your account and would have never have found you otherwise.
Is it bad for your account?
Of course you will get a big boost in followers which looks strange in your account growth stats, and you will lose a lot of followers again afterwards, which is disheartening. But it is a good way to gain a lot of new followers fast.
Also for me it was a good thing as I needed to have more fashion focused followers for my business, and these give aways tend to attract more younger fashion minded followers, depending on the sort of prize that is offered.
Is it worth it?
For me it was, as I use Instagram as a business tool as well and this gave my account a huge boost of over 15K followers in a few days. After that it can be hard to grow again as you tend to lose a lot of followers for a few weeks on end. But it is a great way to grow your account fast, as long as you research the right loop.
My most important findings are:
Only join a reliable one, with nice accounts in the loop that have good engagement, to make sure they have valuable followers. Make sure it is trustworthy with real followers gain and one where you get proof that the prize is actually given away. And don’t do it when your account is still quite new or small.
I think it's essential to build up your account organically first, so you already have a focused and engaging follower base for your business! In the end this is essential to gain trust, value, have real influence, engagement and eventually generate conversions!
For more tips on Instagram growth and engagement, you can check out my earlier posts on my social media tips page. I hope my tips will help you, or feel free to contact me for advice, personal consultancy or workshops through my work with me page.
Are we Insta friends already? Just click on the pic below and make sure to leave a comment, I'm always happy to hear your feedback and connect!