Updated: Dec 30, 2019
By: Ashley Dufault
Originally posted on LinkedIn as a five-day series.
I’ve learned a lot since beginning to manage social media professionally, and the reality is that social changes almost weekly. However, there are some key facts businesses should keep in mind when using social media as a marketing tool. I’m going to share some fast facts about Instagram that will help you and your business take the most advantage of the platform. I've written articles for marketing agencies containing these very same facts... But who doesn't love a super quick read?
• Day One •
Instagram has over 1 BILLION active users and only trails behind Facebook in terms of engagement. Half of all users follow brands and businesses, so if you think your business has no place on Instagram… It’s time to think again!
IG is a great platform for brands to build up visibility while providing value (and occasionally letting their hair down).
Just keep in mind... It takes time and dedication to build a following on any social platform. Even the ones with 1 billion active users!
• Day Two •
71% of active Instagram users are under age 35. IG is therefore one of the best social media platforms for businesses who target millennials and Gen-Z.
Even if your business’ customers belong to a different demographic, IG is still worth using. What for?
1.) Recruiting. If your company is looking to hire and gain free visibility, you need to already be on Instagram to max out your organic reach there.
2.) Long-tail reach. Even if your business doesn’t need to target the under 35 demographic now, you don’t want to be caught in a situation in the future where you need to reach those individuals and can’t do so without paying for it because you neglected to build your platform now. Organic reach only improves with time.
Social media demographics also tend to shift over time - so a platform that's not ideal now could be in the future. If you don't get in on it now, you risk starting when the platform is already over-saturated (limiting organic reach).
3.) Word of mouth. A young audience can't tell their older counterparts about your business if they aren't aware of it.
• Day Three •
I told you that 71% of Instagram users are under age 35.
The truth is that most people within that 71% are actually between ages 25 and 35. Most people think Gen-Z dominates this platform, but it’s not true (yet).
For this reason, businesses who serve millennial customers love to run ads on Instagram. This is why IG is chock full of ads from businesses in industries like fashion.
• Day Four •
A roughly equal number of men and women use Instagram. This is important for brands who rely on organic reach and don’t cater to one gender.
• Day Five •
This is perhaps the most important fact in this list, so read carefully.
In June of 2016, Instagram switched to a non-chronological feed. This means that only users who are already engaged with your brand will see your content. This is great for your followers – not so great for businesses. There are several ways to combat this and maintain organic reach. Here are just a few:
1.) Up your hashtag game. Use all the space available to you to insert hashtags in a comment.
Most useful for: Increasing reach, establishing and targeting a community, rebuilding an audience once you've already lost engagement.
Hitch: Fast tactic that may not result in optimal or enduring audience.
2.) Follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 Instagram strategy. In a nutshell, leave 90 genuine comments per day on various Instagram channels either related to your content or to people you want to follow you. It’s called the $1.80 strategy because you are leaving your 2 cents in each comment. This takes serious dedication and time, but is hands-down the best way to build a community that actually cares about what your brand offers. It’s also the fastest way to grow followers.
Most useful for: Connecting with people and brands on a deeper level, growing following and engagement in a methodical and authentic way.
Hitch: Slow but tried-and-true tactic resulting in a more engaged audience.
WARNING: Video below contains salty language, but it's too good not to share.
3.) Post more. A lot more. If you post once or twice a week, it’s way more likely that your followers will forget about you and that you will fall off of their feeds.
Most useful for: Boosting or maintaining visibility, establishing credibility and brand.
Hitch: Resource-intensive, but also the most important component for new brands and brands struggling with social media.
To sum up, your follower count doesn't make or break your social media. Your rate of engagement does. There are more than three ways to build engagement, of course, and it's best to combine methods. What works for one does not work for all.
Many brands find that they can't afford to wait for organic reach to build and go the ad route instead. A topic for another day!
Feel free to leave me your comments and questions, and let me know if you’d be interested in me doing another one of these Fast Facts for another platform. I do freelance social media marketing for a living, so if you’d like to contact me about your social media, send me a message and we’ll chat!