Businesses of the past never had to worry about digital marketing. They put up billboards, sent direct mail pieces and put ads in the newspaper. The really innovative ones dabbled in email campaigns.
Fast forward to today where businesses without a digital marketing strategy might as well have already filed bankruptcy.
But digital marketing isn’t just banner ads, lead nurturing campaigns and landing pages.
Social media marketing is a part of the mix that no company can afford to ignore. And it’s no wonder: the list of benefits to your business goes on and on and on…
Utilizing all channels that make sense for your business/product/target audience, from LinkedIn to Snapchat, and everything in between is a smart strategy.
But if you want to hit where the fire’s hot today, you better make sure Instagram tops your list.
Why do you ask?
Here are five smart reasons Instagram is a key platform for any business seeking social media marketing success.
1. It costs nothing to open an account.
Okay, so free isn’t a benefit that’s unique to Instagram. All social media accounts are free to open.
But not all accounts offer the kind of visual advertising opportunity that Instagram does.
On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest…there’s a bunch of distracting copy and boards and buttons that you have to look past to focus on the images of your promoted product or service.
But on Instagram, you essentially have an entire platform dedicated to visual exploitation of your photos.
And what is it that “says a thousand words” without actually saying anything?
So use the money you’d otherwise spend on software or paid marketing platforms and spend it on some good lighting and hot models.
2. It’s easy to use.
Social media is made to be user-friendly. These platforms are designed to engage the masses so they can work the way they’re intended to.
Therefore, it goes without saying that using Instagram for business requires no training, unlike other marketing software platforms that offer team and individual training packages that cost nearly half as much as the actual platform.
Read a few helpful blogs on Instagram marketing tips, factor in what you already know as a digital marketing maven and boom: you’ve hit the ground running on turning Instagram into your next tool to turn a profit.
Without adding to your budget.
3. Your target audience is on it. CONTINUOUSLY.
These days, it makes more sense to ask who doesn’t have an Instagram account than who does.
Because literally everyone, from your five-year-old nephew to the 80-year-old librarian down the street, has an Instagram account. Those that don’t most likely don’t spend enough time online to be successfully reached by digital marketing efforts anyway.
And on top of the massive user base Instagram offers (multiple sources conclude that over 1 billion people use Instagram every month), access to these users essentially never ends.
Because with a smartphone in-hand and a busy schedule, most people are constantly snapping shots and posting them, liking and sharing, commenting and hashtagging. On Instagram. All. Day. Long.
That means that with Instagram, companies can now directly reach their target audience, all the time.
Which translates to continuous opportunities to market your business.
4. Professionals need not apply.
Forget the days of obsessing over resumes and portfolios belonging to prospective designers and photographers to add to your team. And factoring in their salaries to your budget. And training them. And purchasing the necessary additional equipment. And finding a bigger office space.
Your smartphone makes it easy to capture eye-catching shots with the click of a button and flick of your wrist – no experience required. Well, other than the years of smartphone picture-taking experience you already have.
Instagram’s user-friendly and universally used platform makes over-the-top professionally-designed images unnecessary to reach your audience.
Of course, if you want to plot meticulous layouts and photoshoots, it doesn’t hurt. But the point is that it isn’t necessary to make your Instagram marketing efforts effective.
5. Automation: Mic drop.
As if the more obvious benefits of using Instagram for your business aren’t convincing enough, there’s another, lesser-known factor, that just might pique your interest as a busy professional.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of using Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy is its ability to support automated posting.
Thanks to updates to Instagram’s API last year, you can now use third-party social media tools to mass-schedule Instagram updates – in advance.
So rather than taking precious time away from your core business activities every day to create and share Instagram posts, with the help of scheduling tools, now you can plan and schedule outposts for the next week/month/month(s) in a single chunk of time – when it’s convenient for you.
Just set it and forget it. Automation at its finest.
It’s not that complicated to do, either.
You can quickly learn the basics with the help of blogs and articles that basically cover everything from how to schedule posts on Instagram to tips and suggestions to optimize this approach.
Some trends you definitely want to avoid…like socks with sandals or cabbage-soup-only diets.
But automation isn’t one of them.
Instagram Marketing for the Win
Every business, well, every successful business, that is, has a digital marketing strategy.
Many of these companies also have social media marketing strategies.
And, thanks to the platform’s litany of benefits, more and more companies have added Instagram marketing to their strategic arsenal.
The reasons for this are clear.
So don’t be the last company to change its view of Instagram from that of a playful social media platform to an effective marketing tool.
Lead the way. And get started — today.
Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses. Feel free to find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.