Instagram for business the experiment
14 March 2016
Instagram for business: the experiment
With established networks like Twitter on the decline, is 2016 the moment to embrace a new social channel for your business?
Just as it felt like everyone left Twitter all of a sudden, the fickle nature of social media users seems to have just as suddenly alighted on the visual Smorgasbord that is Instagram. At the end of 2014, Citi stated that Igers (Instagram users) were up to 1.8 times more engaged than Twitter users. At the same time Instagram’s user levels rivalled the once great Twitter’s at 300million and continue to grow. So, is it the next big thing?
Instagram continues to prove its mastery of the mobile domain, according to eMarketer’s latest internet usage forecast. This year, 89.4 million Americans will log on to Instagram at least once a month, representing 34.1% of mobile phone users. And by 2017, 51.8% of social network users will use Instagram—surpassing the 50% mark for the first time.
But like any social media, it takes time to build up a following and work out what works for your business. So, with this in mind, we decided to set up an experiment to see if the things we think we know about Instagram actually measure up.
First up, what is Instagram:
Instagram: an on-line mobile photo and video sharing social site that allows users to share through other social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
You have to use the Instagram app on a phone in order to post (there are work arounds for PCs and Macs, but none are particularly satisfactory), however you can schedule posts with third party apps such as Hootsuite. The mobile nature of Instagram is one of the joys, being able to share snaps quickly and easily on your phone when you’re out and about. It’s ‘oh so easy’ if you’re the only person looking after an account but a bit trickier if you’re part of a team, which is where third party apps come into their own to help manage and review your account.
We decided to break from our usual use of the ifour Instagram account, (sharing cool and funny things we come across on our travels and giving a glimpse into the ‘behind the scenes’ of ifour studio life) to investigate what is actually popular on Instagram and what that means for your business.
Using a selection of the 25 most popular hash tags and stereotypical IG content, we embarked on a quest to see what would happen if we lived the “Instagram” life!
A feelgood message and the obligatory Instagram fodder, a green smoothie, we felt like this #humpday post was sure to start day 1 on the right foot. Surprisingly, this turned out to be our most popular post of the experiment. 27 ❤
Lunchtime rolled around, so like any good hipster, we photographed lunch, artfully styling, angling and lighting the food before we could actually eat it. This did diminish the enjoyment of the actual eating (THE WAIT!) but eventually it was yummy. 9 ❤
Post number 3 and we wanted to get a bit sparkly and magical following a debate about unicorns in the studio. It appears unicorns are a Marmite issue but certainly more popular in the ‘Gram than in the studio! 10 ❤
Day 2 saw the studio in high spirits with some great client projects on the go, so naturally we found a happy dog picture to convey that. Possibly Thursday mornings aren’t a high traffic moment but this wasn’t as popular as other posts. 6 ❤
Claire has a regular slot reviewing the papers on BBC Radio Kent, so we switched back to our usual content of #agencylife and posted a collage from her mornings activities in the radio studio with the ifour Owl under the has tag pic of the day (yes, we did cheat a little as we couldn’t decide between the three!) 10 ❤
#tbt (Throwback Thursday)
A quick trip down memory lane and a look back at the old style ifour branding was the perfect content for the 4th most popular hash tag #tbt. With a youthful looking James, grinning at us from 5 years ago, how could anyone not like it? 5 ❤
In order to review the results of our ‘deeply scientific’ experiment, we had a scout around to see what the best options for reviewing the metrics on your Instagram account. Having only a single link in the standard posts that you can follow (link in the bio!) makes it harder to trace which post has been the most popular if you want to drive traffic to your website. Whilst you can change your link to specific pages (and many users do) on a regular basis, Instagram’s real strength lies in building a community and, in turn, giving your brand some personality.
For quick, bite size Instagram metrics, we really like the infographic style of review tool Iconosquare. We also found the followers and overview page simple to use. Having a larger screen makes it easier to scroll through your walls posts to see what’s happening, like and comment when you follow larger numbers of IGers. There are several other options that are worth checking out too, such as SimplyMeasured, InstaFollow and CrowdFire. The level of metrics vary but the limited nature of the platform means it's pretty different to other social networks.
Here are our top 5 tips for content creation:
What else can you do?
If you are interested in looking at your brand’s strategy on social media or wider marketing approach, why not call us on 01892 541111, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or come and have a cuppa at our Tunbridge Wells design studio?