In the series Why, How and What now the look on Instagram: the social media platform to share beautiful photos. What opportunities does Instagram offer for companies? First, it is even more visual, more popular with young people, and has more interaction than Facebook. We review the history, numbers, business underpinnings and how-tos for Instagram marketing. [updated June 30, 2020].
Instagram history and origin
Ask with an unexpected recent answer: when was Instagram founded? Instagram started in San Francisco on October 6, 2010. The application was launched by Kevin Systrom (currently still CEO) and Mike Krieger (actually Michel), who still manages the technology. The name comes from "instant" and "telegram": in the past, some camera manufacturers positioned themselves as instant. And the photos taken are seen as a telegram that you send to friends. She wanted to tackle three problems with Instagram:
- Photos taken with a mobile phone always look jerky. With beautiful filters you can transform moderate pictures into beautiful pictures.
- Sharing photos on all kinds of platforms is hassle. At Instagram you can easily share your photos on different platforms.
- It upload is hassle. And of course not with Instagram.
Instagram initially only ran on iPad, iPhone and iPod, but now also on Android. Photos can now also be printed. In 2012, Mark Zuckerberg bought Instagram for 1 billion dollars. Instagram had only 13 employees, just existed for 2 years and had no turnover. Reports four years later Business Insider how smart that purchase was.
Instagram figures 2020 worldwide
- 1 billion monthly users (source Instagram)
- 500 million daily users (source Facebook for Business)
- Total number of shared photos in Instagram history: more than 50 billion (source Omnicore)
- Number of Instagam likes per day: 4.2 billion (source Omnicore)
- Number of uploaded photos and videos per day: more than 100 million. (source Omnicore)
- Distribution man Woman: 56,3% is female and 43,7 is male (in America only)
- 89% of users come from outside America (Hoot Suite)
- Number companies on Instagram: over 25 million (source Instagram)
Instagram in the Netherlands 2020
Thanks to Newcom's annual Nationale Social Media Research:
- 5.6 million Instagram users in the Netherlands 2020 (still 2.1 million in 2016, 4.1 million in 2018, 4.9 million in 2019); 2020 compared to 2019 had one growth of 14% (+710.000)
- Daily Instagram users in 2020: 3.4 million. In 2019 this was 2.7 and in 2018 it was 2.1 million. Between 2019 and 2020, the number increased by +770,000 (29%)
- Young people between 15 and 19 years old use Instagram the most: 82% of them. (73% in 2018)
- 57 percent of all Dutch people from 20 to 39 uses Instagram; (46% in 2018)
- 33 percent of all Dutch people from 40 to 64 uses Instagram; (22% in 2018)
- 18 per cent of all Dutch people from 65 to 79 uses Instagram; (9% in 2018)
- 15 percent of all Dutch people from 80+ using Instagram; (6% in 2018)
- The tipping point for switching from Facebook to Instagram is, according to Newcom 20 years;
- The total use of Instagram is growing in all age groups, but is flattening among the young:
Why are we actually on Instagram?
In 2020 “instagram” will be up position 28 of most searched term in Google: a search volume of 14,350,000 times, with a return rate of 2.61 (how often someone searches the same search term again). So why is Instagram so popular? This differs per age group and has not been specifically investigated. Well-known reasons why we use Instagram are: entertainment, FOMO (fear of missing out, the fear of missing nice things, the same reason we zap), comparing ourselves to others (especially the fun side), social approval and confirmation (do am I right? am I normal?). Other reasons I see: visual enjoyment, ease of consumption and production and interaction. The biggest reason? Instagram gives us a good dose dopamine.
Why Instagram for your company? 6 reasons
Are you looking for the why for Instagram for business? There are 6 reasons for this:
- A picture says more than 1000 words. Instagram is the means for this visual brand communication. Does your company have visual aspects? Are photos important when selling your products or services? Then you can hardly ignore Instagram.
- The most used social media platform is therefore below young people. (note: that's a bit different than most users in numbers, because that's Facebook of course) So it's - now, until the older generation also discovers Instagram - hip, cool & happening for the young people.
- Instagram is the king of the Interaction. According to it 2019 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report from RivalIQ brands saw an average engagement of 0.09% on Facebook and an engagement of on Instagram 1,6%. Please note: this largely applies to photos. Users don't go to Instagram for text.
- Online reputation management. For some brands, consumers expect you to be on Instagram. According to Gartner 91% of luxury brands is on Instagram, 84% of all sports brands, 83% of all beauty brands. Then: travel industry, retail, automotive, consumer goods, food, self-care products and household items. Being on Instagram also sends a signal of confidence.
- E-commerce: you can tag and sell products with Instagram Shopping.
- Online recruitment. Instagram is ideal for showing as an employer what it is like to work at your company: employer branding. Use hashtags to attract new people and show atmospheric photos and happenings.
Instagram or not? Why Instagram Marketing?
The standard questions that arise when you are considering a new medium naturally arise. Is your target audience on Instagram? Do you have an objective? Do you have time and budget? How will Instagram interact with your other online channels? A number of questions will help your Instagram better appreciate and determine what Instagram can mean for companies:
- What will Instagram enable you to do on no other platform?
- Who is your target audience and who is really active on Instagram? For example, do you focus on young people or people over 60? How do they use Instagram? What do they expect from a brand on Instagram?
- How will Instagram interact with your other social media? How do you connect Instagram account to your website?
- How do you measure your success? How does Instagram contribute to your marketing goals? And your business goals?
How do you use Instagram? Possible marketing objectives
Typical objectives for which Instagram is used are:
- Increasing brand awareness;
- Demonstrating corporate culture and core values;
- Creating positive brand experiences;
- Showing talent and attracting new talent;
- Increasing customer loyalty through customer interaction;
- Increasing product awareness;
- Stimulating the sale of products;
- Supporting and supplementing events;
How do you enter your Instagram profile?
An Instagram profile is brief. That also makes it better by definition. You only have your username, your bio text (characters), your profile photo and your bio link. So it is important that you deal with this very cleverly.
- User name: your company name, or if it is generic you must add something to it, such as _NL.
- Bio / Profile text: Who are you. What are you doing. So what kind of photos can future followers expect? Which hashtags or themes do you claim? With a temporary promotion you can also change your profile text temporarily. You can also use emoticons. Incidentally, there is no possibility to skip a line: all text comes in a line behind each other. Limit is 150 characters. Tip! Add a call to action. Tip two: you can get your Instagram bio in the middle with spaces. Explanation.
- Bio link: most Instagrammers use mobile. So also link to a mobile-friendly page. You can therefore also use a temporary link for a temporary promotion. Tip! Add UTM codes to easily recognize your Instagram traffic in Google Analytics. You can also create a Bitly link to precisely measure the number of clicks from Instagram.
- Profile picture: Recognisability is paramount. You can also adjust temporarily.
How do you get more followers on Instagram? 16 Tips!
Get more followers on your Instagram. Important to increase your presence, reach and marketing power. Here are tips and facts you can use to get more Instagram followers:
- Who is your target group? Start from the beginning. And that is your target group. Use Iconosquare to gain continuous insight into your fans so that you know which content your target group seeks and appreciates.
- More posts: the more you post, the faster you get more followers. Go for more than 1 a day.
- Like and respond on photos of others. Be active. Be social! 65 percent of users feel honored when a brand likes their post.
- Shoutout! Yo! What is a shoutout? Thomas explains: give another account attention by replacing a photo with an explanation. Certainly if you both address the same target group, it pays to help each other this way. Ideally, you get a shoutout from a famous person or brand.
- Time: the most interaction is between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Most followers check Instagram for work or school and on their return if they are in public transport or in a traffic jam (Of course you should not do that because unsafe).
- Expensive: a photo has about four hours to collect responses and likes before it is flooded with other photos.
- Weekend: 30 percent of Instagram posts are posted during the weekend (slightly higher than 2 weekdays with 28.5 percent).
- Import your customers: export your customers with first name, last name and e-mail address. Import this list into Gmail and provide a link between Gmail and Instagram. If you log in to Instagram, you can follow your customers with an Instagram profile in Instagram.
- Follow your target group so that they will follow you (collapsed just like on Twitter). However, the limit on the number of accounts that you can follow is 7500. With IconoSquare you can see which followers are not following you again. Please note, there is a follow limit on Instagram. As a limit you can follow / follow up to 20 people per hour. You can also use Instagram's Search and Explore to find users who use certain hashtags or go to a specific location.
- The average explanation (“Caption”) on Instagram is 138 characters. The limit is 2200 characters.
- Use geotagging if your customers are mainly local.
- Connect your channels: report your Instagram account where relevant and use widgets and galleries to place Instagram photos directly on your website.
- Brands publish an average of six posts per week.
- Why do people follow brands on Instagram? 62 percent (of the American Instagrammers) follow a brand on Instagram for the simple reason that they like the brand, 54 percent to discover new things and 48 percent because the content is entertaining. 41 percent for presents and benefits. 70 percent of Instagram users have already taken part in a contest / competition.
- Keep it nice: post no more than 10 percent promotional content to keep your Instagram followers. Post 30 percent own content, 60 percent of others (curated content) and only 10 percent (1 in 10 so) promotional.
- To buy? Don't, of course. Is it nice, those thousands of followers, but do they really follow you? Are they your target group and are they interested in what you post? No.
And of course: more interaction on your posts.
How do you get More Likes on Instagram? And interaction? 9 tips
Brands have much more interaction on Instagram than on Facebook and Twitter ... but of course that does not come naturally. This way you get more likes and interaction:
- Hashtags! Your photos are better found by hashtags that indicate the context and use current labels that are searched for. 88 percent of the Instagram posts have a hashtag. With more than five hashtags, interaction decreases ... as a brand. Consumers do get away with it. The number of hashtags is 30 per post. See how you can encourage your followers to use your hashtags. Tip: do not place your hashtags in the caption but in a response below.
- Lifestyle! Talk to your audience about their way of life. Example: Nike posted 60 percent lifestyle content and saw 8 times more interaction than Adidas (in 2014)
- Brightness! Generate photos with high brightness 24 percent more likes.
- Go minimal: lots of white background 29 percent more likes.
- Pick a color: a single dominant color provides 17 percent more likes than photos with multiple colors.
- Ask specific questions: Would you wear blue or green? Bad is: what is your favorite color?
- Call to action: "Tag a friend!" "Click on the bio link!" It works.
- Shout out! Get a post that mentions another Instagram user 56 percent more interaction.
Automatically like posts with an Instagram Growbot
A common technique is the use of an Instagram Growbot. According to certain settings, he likes the messages from potential followers. With the automatic like, they learn from your account and the users can decide to follow you. As an Instagram user, you have probably already experienced this yourself. Knowing more? Read about the Instagram Growbot.
How do I sell on Instagram?
There are two ways to do this.
Sell through your Instagram account
The fastest and free way:
- A nice photo / video
- Call to action (in the text, image or video)
- Direct link in bio
- Landing page on your website (mobile friendly)
- Consistent image and details
- Buy now button.
Sell via Instagram Shopping
The paid and most efficient way first asks for an extensive checklist:
- You have to be in the right one Instagram market to sit.
- You must meet the conditions for Instagram Shopping. Those are:
- Meet the agreement for sellers of commercial products. (ao 5% sales commission)
- Meet Facebook's trade policy. (such as: no erotic products, alcohol, animals, digital media, etc.)
- Have an Instagram business account. (roadmap)
- Have a linked Facebook page. (explanation about pairing)
- Mainly selling physical goods.
- Link your Instagram business account to a Facebook catalog. (see Facebook explanation)
- Sign up and have your account reviewed. Go to the settings from your Instagram Business profile, tap Business and tap Instagram Shopping.
Have you finally signed up? Then you can tag a product in an Instagram post with a product link. Users who see your product in a photo and click on it can then click directly to the product page.
You can also consider using apps to sell directly from your Instagram account, such as Soldsie, Like2knowit and Like2buy. Nordstrom does this for example. Instagram also has a supportive effect during the entire customer journey: 67 percent of (American) consumers say that detailed photos strongly influence their purchasing decision. You can also transfer product images from your product databases to Instagram - from Shopify and WooCommerce among others - to see which products generate real interest and interaction.
What content do you put on Instagram?
Content is the basis of Instagram. Many B2C companies mainly use Instagram to show their products, while B2B companies focus more on corporate culture and new talent. The best approach is that in which you show your brand the strongest.
Look at your objectives and your target group. See which aspects of your brand suit you best. Products, services, employees, customers, events, culture and experience all offer potential. Once you have your themes, you can then consider what topics fit your photos and videos.
Instagram is not just photos: it is also moving gifs and videos. With video you can convey much more information and feeling, but it is also expensive to make. There are a large number Instagram apps available to help with content creation: Hyperlapse for accelerating video, Layout for merging multiple images into one Instagram post, Boomerang to make gifs. User generated content is a commonly used source for Instagram content - but always ask for permission. (takes a little time and saves you so much time later).
Instagram is about quality and consistency. A style guide helps you determine brand image in terms of colors, icons, filters and typical images. In addition, it also helps to capture a recognizable composition: backgrounds, the amount of white background, dominant color and location of the subject. An excellent example of a company with a style guide is MailChimp: see them Instagram and style guide.
The photos on Instagram are square. A real time saver is when you already shoot your photos square. Many cameras already have that attitude. Or choose an app (“Awesome” from Smugteam is no longer, suggestions are welcome!) Which has a grid that you can take into account the rule of thirds.
Relevant emoticons can really revive and supplement your post. If used correctly of course. See this example of Birchbox:
Influencer Marketing with Instagram
A separate chapter in Instagram Marketing is the stake of influencers for companies. With the right partners you can increase brand awareness and stimulate sales, because they have a specific target group. So the challenge is to find the overlap of influencers with a support base in your target group. Influencer marketing on Instagram is about exchanging content, sometimes paid and sometimes unpaid. So you can also mix a larger number of unpaid influencers and a few larger paid influencers.