Instagram has grown very popular over the last 5 years and although it has some great features and could benefit your business, it also has many limitations that can be frustrating.
Let’s start with the good points…
Super high engagement rates
If you want to get Likes on your posts then Instagram is the best platform. Not only can people easily follow you, but they can also follow hashtags that you use in your posts. If, for example, someone loves inspirational quotes then they can follow the hashtag #InspirationalQuotes. If you use this hashtag in your post then it could come up in their feed, even if they don’t follow you.
Engagement of your posts is made easier by the fact that you can have up to 30 hashtags in a post and, unlike Twitter and LinkedIn, nobody is bothered about you having a post full of hashtags stuck on the end!
If you sell products that need to look good then Instagram is a great place to showcase your products. On Instagram, every post needs to be an image and your profile is designed to show off the visual side of your posts. When creating your posts, it’s important to think about how your profile will look and how that post will fit in with the overall appearance of your profile.
Instagram also has some other features such as Stories and IG TV which allow you to showcase your brand a bit differently.
The power of Facebook
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can benefit from the power and size of both platforms. When you create a Facebook Ads campaign, you can (and should!) enable the ability for your ad to be shown on Instagram. This means your ads aren’t limited to just one social media platform (Facebook) and because Instagram has such a huge amount of followers, you can reach a wider audience.
With Instagram, you can grow your followers and reach out to potential customers much more easily than Facebook. Both LinkedIn and Facebook require you to mutually connect on a personal level although you can Like or follow a company page. Instagram, however, is more like Twitter and you can easily be followed by someone without having to follow back (or vice versa). This type of connection means that it’s easier to reach more people organically without needing to spend money on ads like you have to with Facebook.
The pain of Instagram
While Instagram is a platform that many businesses should consider, it has some frustrations. Firstly, it’s a lot harder to post regularly. If your profile is set up as a business profile and you use an app such as Buffer or Hootsuite then you can schedule content from your desktop, otherwise, it has to be done using a mobile phone.
Formatting is also an issue with Instagram. For regular posts, images and videos need to be square for them to be effective. Other formats are possible but posts don’t look so good and wording can be chopped off making an image post look strange.
If you are creating videos to use in your marketing, they have to be a maximum of 60 seconds long for Instagram and while this highlights the importance of quick, easy to view content, it can be frustrating cropping and cutting videos that you have used on other platforms.
The last - and possibly - biggest issue that we see with Instagram is that posts can’t have links in them that are clickable. With LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter you can include links to your website which your audience can click on - but this isn’t possible on Instagram. There are ways around this but if your objective is to drive people from Instagram to your website then you have a tough challenge ahead!
Note: Instagram Ads allow clickable links and the only clickable link that’s normally allowed is in your bio. Individual organic posts do not allow clickable links.
Are you IN(stagram) or OUT?
Instagram can’t be ignored and whilst it has some frustrations with the way it works, they are just that - frustrations. Just like Twitter, Facebook and other platforms have their own share of frustrations (anybody ever got annoyed with the 280 character limit on Twitter?).
Even if you don’t do a huge amount of activity on Instagram, we recommend having a profile and using it to grow your presence online.