How businesses can earn money from Instagram?
Instagram probably seems like a place only for some niche businesses in the market that can succeed - like fashion or food industry. However, it's definitely not true, if you know what you are doing. The truth is that more and more owners of small, medium and large scale businesses integrate the use of Instagram, which in turn brings them more fans and even more profits.
Before you can deal with the visual world of Instagram and it’s hashtags, be sure to learn the basics of social networking, how it works and what you need to do to raise your brand in Instagram.
Are you ready?
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a mobile application for photo-sharing and social network founded in 2010. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for $ 1 billion! (Yes, a billion dollars for a simple mobile APP.), and from September 2015, Instagram already has more than 400 million users (according to CNN). If you're wondering about the name, "Instagram" is a combination of the words "Instant" (inspired by instant cameras) and "Telegram", or at least this is what the largest hub for photo-sharing is claiming in their FAQ page.
Unlike other social networks, Instagram is completely photo / video-centric. So users can edit and publish photos and short videos (up to 15 seconds), but not text updates, in which the quality of Instagram content is inferior to the giants Facebook, Twitter and Google +, for example.
How does Instagram work?
Since Instagram is basically a mobile application, you need to download it to your smartphone or tablet before you sign up. The only drawback to this point is that there is no way to create specific business profile (as in Facebook), so that business and personal profiles are created and function in the same way. In this line of thinking, however, exactly inextricably linking business and personal brand brings the unique success of Instagram for business. Never before the brands have been this close to those for which they work - their clients.
Instagram allows users to publish two different types of content: photos and videos. To post a new photo or video on Instagram, press the camera button at the bottom of the screen. This will open the camera on your phone, but you can choose whether to take a new photo or video or choose one from internal or external media (SD card, for example).
Instagram has become extremely popular among young people because of a very beautiful feature - the ability to edit photos and videos. Adding a variety of filters and customization of content is a key weapon in the arsenal of every Instagram marketing specialist. Only with few taps on the screen product photos can acquire a very different kind of look, exclusive for Instagram. Shall we say “Farewell” to the boring pictures on a white background? Yes. Hallelujah!
The options for videos are quite similar, with some minor differences. When capturing or uploading video you will see four options. The first allows you to add filters, just like uploading photos; The second option allows you to adjust how the video fits the screen. The third option allows you to select a video frame and the fourth allows you to mute the video if you want no sound to be heard. Sometimes the best memories come without a sound video on the background.
Hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags are a great way to help other users find your content Instagram, just like Twitter. Since users can search by hashtags, they will see the publication of the application only those that are marked with the corresponding hashtag. This is usually a very effective tool to get you noticed. However, just like on Twitter, you should make sure you use the right Hashtags for your brand, and do not overdo it.
Hashtags like #nofilter (if you shared a picture that has not been heavily edited with filters), #selfie and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (if you shared an old photo) are extremely popular in Instagram, but they can work bad for you or your brand if used incorrectly. Using popular hashtags just because they are popular can withdraw your current and potential new followers, thus leading to more losses than gains.
A good idea is to look at how do others established brands (or even personal users and bloggers) in the industry work for examples of what to do, especially when it comes to this sign. Brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gilette, WeWork, National Geographic, ASOS, H & M and sparked a global revolution in the way people perceive the new times, assimilate and interact with the information they provide. Today, a hashtag can be more valuable than a comprehensive marketing campaign. #Tastethefeeling, right?
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram is maybe the best platform for organic set of followers who themselves choose what to see and whom to see, when it comes to content. However, the company offers three different formats for advertising on their platform:
Photo ads: They look like regular publication of the photos, but they have a label with the inscription "Sponsored" at the top of the image. Also from Instagram have incorporated and click "Learn More" in the lower right corner below the photo. This allows advertisers to attack directly targeted niches and attracting only active users.
Video Ads: Like pictorial ads, video ads look like regular video posts, but labeled "Sponsored" on top.
Carousel type advertisement: These ads appear identical as photo-ads, but with a number photos that users can see. After Facebook bought Instagram, this was supposed to happen, and there will be more improvements and innovations in the advertising strategy of the application.
All three ad formats are displayed on the homepage of users as they move around the application. These ads indicate support for four different online marketing objectives: video views, click to a website, mobile app installs and raising the level at which your brand is recognized (brand awareness).
Perhaps the most pleasant and most useful extras in the package of advertising via Instagram is the integration of sponsored posts directly from Facebook. All you have to do is to connect your Instagram account with your Facebook and can control the ads by your Ads Manager or Facebook for Business.
The future of Instagram
The most likely development of the platform will focus on advertising publications, as Facebook proved that video ads have their future. With the growing competition from Snapchat and Periscope, before long we will be able to see the shift in focus from platform for photo sharing to a platform to share any type of audio-visual content. One of the innovations that will soon enter Instagram is called. Hyperlapse - an application that allows for capturing stabilized Timelapse videos. Also we would expect to have Instagram Business Accounts in the near future. Let's wait and see how it would affect the users and businesses in the social network.
Meanwhile, Instagram will not forget the foundation of his success - community. In just 5 years, the company managed to attract over 400 million users from different user groups and locations all around the world. Namely diversification of users is still the biggest advantage of Instagram. It seems that over the next few years Instagram will continue to attract more and more users, thus the businesses will have to find a way to communicate properly with their potential and existing customers with appropriate pictures and video content on Instagram.