In 2016, Instagram introduced new tools for business customers that makes Instagram more viable as a part of your overall social media marketing plan. Using the new “Insights” tool that offers analytics on your Instagram posts and followers, you can more accurately assess your customer base and the impact and effectiveness of your posts.
Understanding Instagram as a Social Media Channel
Instagram is a social media platform, like Facebook or Twitter, used for sharing photos or short videos. Since its creation in 2010, it has become one of the most frequently used mobile apps. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram doesn’t allow the sharing of text, except in comments on photos that users share, photo captions, or private messaging. Instagram facilitates networking by means of its search feature. You can search topics, find people to follow, or search trending tags, which are like hashtags on Twitter, used to identify popular topics.
There are a number of ways to easily obtain exposure for yourself and your small business on Instagram, as well as several avenues for reaching out to make networking connections with potential customers. As previously mentioned, users can communicate by posting captions or tags with their photos. Private conversations can be initiated through Instagram’s direct messaging service, Instagram Direct, which resembles Facebook’s instant messaging system.
For a small business, Instagram provides a good social media outlet for posting photos highlighting your products, services, employees, or company achievements, or for advertising a sale or event.
Using Instagram Analytics
Along with the ability to create enhanced business profiles that offer maps or directions to your business, Instagram has added its Insights feature that allows you to access information about your Instagram audience, such as age, gender, location, and how they engage with your posts. It also offers analytical data of your posts with reach, impressions, and clicks. Reach refers to the number of accounts that view a given post. Impressions are the total number of times a post is viewed. Click tracking reveals how many people clicked the link to your business website.
To illustrate how having access to such data can be useful in your social media marketing, imagine a post that analytics data shows has received 10,000 impressions, even though you only have 1,000 followers. This is a solid indication that the post is very popular and has had a substantial impact, as your followers or others have obviously viewed it multiple times.
You can view your “top posts” in a group of thumbnail images presented with the number of impressions for each photo. With being able to view both together, the content having the largest impact gives you a clear visual image of what is working best for you.
Instagram Insights allows you to see the times of day when most of your followers are on Instagram so you can schedule posts when they’re likely to garner the most views. Data you can use to analyze both the effectiveness of your posts and the characteristics of your audience can significantly enhance your ability to engage customers and strengthen customer relationships and loyalty.