Building the business case for more investment in Instagram marketing
Instagram recently announced that it now has 200 million monthly active users who between them, are sharing 60 million photos every day generating a mind-boggling 1.6 billion Likes. That's over 20 billion photos shared since its launch in 2010.
What's more, since releasing figures at the end of 2013, the platform is said to have added around 50 million users in the last six months - a staggering 170 million since its acquisition by Facebook for £1bn in April 2012.
If we compare it to the growth statistics for other social media platforms we can see that it is currently the fast growing social network in terms of active users.
So with this apparent unstoppable growth, what does this really mean for marketers, and should your brand be joining Instagram?
There is no doubt about whether Instagram offers exposure to an engaged audience. With the female biased audience, the top 50 brands receive an of 1.5 million posts mentioning them, offering yet another platform to leverage engagement from your audience. As with any other social media strategy however, a strong business case must be formed to achieve the best performance.
Building your Instagram business case
Before you even begin to think about the types of content you want to share, you need to think about the logistics of adding another social platform to your mix, and if it is even relevant for your audience.
Q. What is the market for your brand?
Are your customers, competitors and influencers actively using Instagram? If so what level of engagement are they driving and what is the current dialogue? Listening and monitoring will help you evaluate your brand awareness, competitor analysis, challenges and, more importantly, the size of your potential audience on Instagram. Working out what people are saying about your industry but also your product is the most insightful way to determine if the platform is relevant for your social media strategy.
Q. What do you want to achieve from Instagram?
Are you solely looking for an influx of followers or are you looking for engagement and retained interaction? Depending on your answer, your objectives may be to build brand awareness, increase interaction with existing customers, reach new prospects, build on your identity as a brand or to demonstrate you as a humanised representation of your core values.
Q. Do you know how you will measure the impact?
Without being able to track your progress, you'll be unable to monitor success of Instagram for your business. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t offer an analytics tool yet, but you still need to specify the impact of your campaigns and uploads. Measurement is not always financial and can include softer metrics, which include:
- Follower growth
- Total likes
- Total comments
- Total hashtag mentions
- Total engagements in competitions e.g. entries
- Unique participants in competitions
- Visitors to a website or campaign site - traffic and referrals being generated
- Sales linked to Instagram e.g. using Google Multi-Channel Conversion Reports to measure this
- Unfollows – using third-party sites
Q. How will the channel be managed?
Instagram isn’t as sophisticated as other social platforms, so it is likely that logins will need to be shared amongst your managers. You can now use HootSuite allowing multiple users, but you will need to be clear on how to reduce the risk of damaging your brand. You will need to set out clear branding guidelines for themes used, the types of images and videos uploaded, preferred filters used, hashtag and naming conventions, and also the tone of voice for comments.
Q. Do you have a communication strategy?
Do you know how your updates and interactions will align to your marketing objectives and campaigns?
Within a communications plan, you need to ensure you know:
- How you will generate awareness
- How you will encourage engagement
- How is may generate leads and sales
- How often you will actively share
To find out more, check out the new Instagram marketing guide which I recently completed. It will help you to fully understand the platform, create a sensible plan to launch and manage the platform, and also offer best practice tips and strategy advice for robust campaign planning.