For some businesses, Instagram seems like a natural place to attract followers, prospects, and customers. Photographers, for example, can show off their work on a regular basis. For other businesses, however, this social platform has never been thought of as a potential marketing tool. The pros and cons of Instagram for business show that ignoring this platform right now might be at your own risk.
What Are the Pros of Instagram for Business?
1. It gives customers a visual reference of what you offer.
Pictures and videos are literally worth a 1,000 words of content on the internet today. When you’re trying to show your targeted demographics the exact value your products or services have to offer, visual graphics do a lot more than a couple tight paragraphs of content. Seeing is believing, which Instagram for business allows you to provide with one simple upload.
2. It makes it easier to share your brand’s message.
Instagram is easy to share across multiple social platforms. If a picture really makes a big impression, then there’s a great chance that your image can go viral so that you receive new and excited visitors to your platforms. Instead of exposure, you can get real money that you can use to expand opportunities or give yourself a paycheck for once.
3. It’s not a top priority for many marketers… yet.
When people think of social marketing, they often think of Facebook or Twitter. Some folks might even put Pinterest into that short list. Instagram is very rarely on that list. This means you can target an audience that others within your industry are not targeting right now. In return, you can show others that you’re modern, have expertise, and you can prove it with your images.
4. Instagram is growing quickly – very quickly.
Instagram has been growing faster than any other social platform. According to Scott Galloway, who is the Founder and Chariman of L2 and a Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern, Instagram can also have up to 50x the engagement rate of Facebook and 20x the engagement rate of Twitter. Sprout Social places those engagement rates at 58x and 120x respectively. Although there may be limited demographics on this platform for some businesses, the people who are there are going to be craving content.
5. The Millennials segment is growing every year.
The spending power of Millennials is growing with each and every year. One of the points of emphasis in reaching out to this young generation is to be personable. Tell your story. The images that you put on your Instagram for Business account can help to make that happen.
6. It was created specifically for mobile devices.
Many Instagram users prefer to be on a mobile device for most, if not all, of their data consumption, which makes an account here easy to access if Millennials are your targeted group. You become part of an effective social platform that offers content which is easy to share to other mobile devices. With Instagram for Business, you can begin creating new communities with each image that you share.
7. Hashtags make it easy to connect with people.
Instagram hashtags can also make it easy to have new followers connect with an account. It helps to extend the reach of a business through simple searches that the 150+ million users of the platform perform on a daily basis. This makes it a very cost effective way to extend the reach of a brand while being able to filter in or filter out results as needed for specific goals.
8. Location tagging is available.
Using local hashtags on posts on Instagram has even been shown to improve SEO efforts and create more visitor interaction for promotions that are run. According to reporting from The Internet Marketing Company, posts that include a location tag get 79% more engagement than posts which don’t include this kind of tag.
9. Responses happen in real time.
Most businesses will see over half of the comments their post will receive within the first 6 hours of it going live. This can give a brand a good clue as to how well a product or service is going to be received. In return, adjustments can be made so that what is being offered can be promoted with a maximized value proposition.
What Are the Cons of Instagram for Business?
1. Your targeted demographics might not even have an Instagram account.
Instagram is a social platform that is dominated by the younger age demographics. Although older users are exploring Instagram with more frequency, it’s a good bet that the average viewer is going to be young, with limited discretionary spending, and that may not be who you want hearing your brand message right now.
2. It’s not always a platform that focuses on commerce.
There are plenty of reasons to follow someone on Instagram. It might be a fun way to connect to a favorite celebrity. Or it might be a way to share images of your kids and stay connected with family. The idea of shopping for items by following accounts on Instagram isn’t quite there yet as a priority for everyone. Many people log into Instagram to pass the time and have no intentions of buying anything.
3. Advertising may be out of reach for most businesses.
Most businesses are forced to rely on organic traffic when it comes to Instagram for Business. Only the largest brands can typically afford to advertise on this platform, which means it can take some time to develop a following that has a meaningful impact on your budget. Although video ads cost just $0.02 per view, that can translate to up to $1 million per month for some campaigns.
4. Images either have to be uploaded via mobile device or PC app.
Although it has become easier to upload images from non-mobile sources, it still isn’t always practical for all users. The mobile upload is still the most effective way to share information, which isn’t always suitable for some businesses. Once uploaded, that post can be shared over multiple social platforms, but the barriers to entry for that initial upload can be troublesome.
5. There isn’t much room for additional content.
Some images require a little explanation, but Instagram doesn’t offer much space to make that happen. It’s also difficult to create a comprehensive company bio on this platform, which makes it a little hard for followers to get to know who you really are. This means the brand message you put forth is generally through images or videos only, and that can be a fairly expensive proposition if you’re wanting professional-quality uploads.
6. Sending people to a specific website can be difficult.
According to Magnetic Creative, most of the traffic you see coming from Instagram will be direct traffic. To fully understand the analytics that are in play, several steps must be taken to understand the traffic which comes from your Instagram for Business efforts. For those who are unfamiliar with how to create this data, the process can be confusing, time consuming, and ultimately frustrating – and that combination can lead to someone wanting to give up.
7. Businesses are not allowed to use clickable links.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use a URL when taking advantage of Instagram for Business. It just means your followers will need to copy/paste the URL into their web browser in order to visit your site. This is why there is a lot of initial direct traffic that is reported on most analytics.
8. It can be easy for a brand message to go off course.
Because this is such a visual medium, it can be tempting for businesses to try different techniques to attract new followers and business opportunities that fall outside of their established brand message. You must stay true to the personality of your brand so that your Instagram account is authentic. If you allow your message to go off course, then you can push a significant number of potential customers out of the picture, so to speak.
9. Most users access Instagram from a mobile device.
Although the saturation of mobile device ownership is ever increasing, not every potential customer currently owns one. This can make it difficult to reach customers who might be far enough along in your sales funnel that they’re willing to make a purchase. Some businesses may discover that many of their online consumers will be left out if the marketing focus is Instagram only.
The pros and cons of Instagram for Business show that the positives will generally outweigh the negatives, but some steps must be taken to ensure success. You must focus on your experiences, showcasing the visual beauty your products or services have to offer. There must be an effort to get to know your followers. Each post must incite some sort of action. If you can do that, then you can meet your goals thanks to what Instagram is able to provide.