Why Small Companies are Raving About Instagram’s New Changes

Instagram is both a digital marketer’s dream and nightmare.  It is a powerful tool that allows companies, popular figures such as bloggers or celebrities, and even everyday people to easily promote brands and products.  With the surprising new-look logo, Instagram recently announced their intention to roll out a new analytics system for business profiles that enables follower analytics.  It’s about time for some better stats from a 5 billion dollar business!

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I loved the old logo because it reminded me of Polaroids.  Still debating on how I feel about this rebrand.

Why should I use Instagram for business?

What is the best way to connect to an audience? Well, it really depends on your audience.  Some people respond to graphics and consider using Pinterest for business and some respond to direct communication, which is seen in using Twitter.  I feel that Instagram is a good blend of visuals and text, without seeming to be too centered on promotions.  It’s relatively easy to find your interests using hashtags.

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Engagement rate (the percentage of people who show some interest in a post by clicking/sharing/liking) is the best measure when talking about powerful social media tools used for digital marketing.  Instagram has 4.2% engagement rate, making it the most effective social media tool for connecting with your audience.  Research on social media tools show that the average engagement rate is less than 0.1%.  I have seen other numbers that state the average engagement is 0.5%; regardless, most sources agree that Instagram is the tool with the highest engagement.

[A] study found that high-performing posts–posts with double the average engagement–see comment volume peak later, taking more than 13 hours to hit 50% of total comments. High performing content on Instagram has a longer shelf life than average posts, which is why it’s important to focus on quality.

Stats show that most of the engagement happens within 6 hours, which is much longer than some other social media tools like Twitter.  Quality posts are much more important on Instagram than other social media channels, which drives the entire application to be more effective.

Why shouldn’t I use Instagram for business?

Instagram has many functional limitations.  Third party applications and websites have a hard time connecting with Instagram due to the company’s imposed limits.  There is no third-party scheduling application (the bane of digital marketers); Hootsuite offers some integration of Instagram by using push notifications to schedule a post, which requires you to post from your Instagram app.  Previously, you would need to pay for third-party applications like Iconosquare to access analytics for your account.  For smaller businesses, Facebook and Twitter were much more user-friendly by offering free analytics.

Links can be shared in photo captions and comments, but are not clickable.  This makes posts FEEL less promotional and more genuine.  Most companies use their captions to bring attention to their website through the one clickable link through their bio.

So what’s happening now?

Instagram is rolling out their new analytics that will allow businesses to use Instagram more effectively.  Knowing the times that your audience is active, their locations, and the effectiveness of your posts are all tools that will affect how businesses use Instagram.

I rejoice to know that many small to medium-sized businesses will finally stop looking at blogs or other online sources to tell them when to post a picture.  The lack of free or low cost analytics available for small businesses on Instagram means that many are marketing blind.  Remember that every audience is different.  Just because somebody says that the best time to post is Thursdays at 10pm, doesn’t mean that information applies to your brand!

I’m glad that Instagram is introducing better analytics and I can’t wait to see how it affects the way it shapes the future of Instagram content.

Read more about the new Instagram analytics

Read more on the changes to Instagram.

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