Introduction to Instagram and its features
For those unfamiliar with Instagram, let’s review the platform. Instagram, owned by Facebook, Inc., focuses on photo-sharing. The platform allows users to upload, edit, and share images and videos either publicly, or only with their account’s followers. Users can either take photos or videos to share or upload from their photo library. Multiple images or videos can be uploaded in one post, but only one is featured at a time; viewers must swipe across their screen to see the following image(s) or video(s). Instagram users can follow other users (either on individual profiles or business or general interest pages) and like, comment, share, or save others’ images and videos. Posts on Instagram live on the user’s profile unless the user removes them. That way, the user’s profile becomes a library of everything the user has posted on the platform. Instagram also allows users the capability of creating stories, which again can be recorded in the moment or uploaded from the user’s photo library. Users can also create a live story, where a video is recorded and simultaneously streamed to the user’s audience. Stories are different from posts because stories only appear for 24 hours after they are posted. Highlights are stories that can last for longer than 24 hours. A user can add highlights to their profile and save stories to them. This way, the stories stay up on the user’s profile or page until they are removed by the user. While stories and highlights are short videos or image slideshows, IGTV houses longer videos. The final Instagram feature I will mention here is shop. Instagram’s shop feature allows products to be tagged in Instagram posts so users can find items in the post, their cost, and a website link to purchase the items.
Why we love Instagram
We recommend using Instagram for your business for a few reasons: the high engagement rate, the large following, and the growth of the brand.
Instagram engages the user audience. With all the different ways users can share content on Instagram, it is no wonder that the platform succeeds in the engagement category. Generation Z, or individuals under the age of 25, use Instagram 32 minutes per day and people age 25 and older use Instagram 24 minutes per day . Whether your business’ clients and prospects fall in the first group or the second, there is about a half hour window of opportunity each day to engage with each client or prospect. Is your business capitalizing on that opportunity? Imagine your business posted on Instagram once every few days. Your page’s followers would see your posts in their feed every few days, reminding them of your company and reinforcing your brand’s values in their mind. This brings brand awareness and affinity for your firm. Your posts also have the potential of reaching others, non-followers. These non-followers could engage with your post and might be motivated to follow your page, gaining your business a larger community and further reach. Over four billion posts receive likes on Instagram each day, creating a huge number of potential engagements for your business . Users are not stingy with their likes. More engagements on your posts bring your posts higher on the discover page, allowing for more users to find your content.
In addition to the high level of engagement, Instagram also has a large following. Instagram boasts one billion monthly active users across the world, of which 500 million use Instagram each day . Approximately 800 million users follow at least one business on Instagram and 600 million look for new products on the platform . Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe businesses’ main social interaction must occur on LinkedIn, a social networking site targeted towards companies and business professionals. However, with 800 million Instagram users actively following company pages and 600 million users shopping for products on the platform (not to mention the many users that engage with company pages’ posts), there is a huge interest on Instagram that many businesses miss out on.
Not only does Instagram have high engagement and a large following, but the platform is also growing. In 2019, Instagram was ranked #1 in the 100 tops brands list by Kantar, beating popular brands such as Netflix and Amazon . Instagram climbed 47 spots to reach the #1 spot and the platform continues to grow . Early in Instagram’s life, the platform focused on static image sharing. However, the platform has evolved over time to reach many different audiences, adding videos, allowing for multiple photos in one post, and including stories - one of the most engaging aspects of the platform. We expect that Instagram will continue to grow in the future.
In summary, Instagram is a dynamic social networking site that allows for many different types of content-sharing. We love it for the high engagement rate, the large following, and the growth of the brand. If your business is not using Instagram, consider creating a page and sharing content. You may be surprised by the positive results!