Is Instagram important for business?
When Rockfield Media was born 21 years ago, the world was a much different place. The main way to market your business was through print media. Newspapers, direct mail and consumer magazines would be an easy way to reach buyers at home. Back in the 90’s, everyone received a free copy of the Yellow Pages on their doorstep with a full-page ad potentially meaning big business. Billboards built local brand awareness and TV advertising became a great but expensive way to get your product out there. It’s safe to say marketing has indelibly changed. It’s now all about digital.
As a millennial myself, I am wrapped up in the world of social media. I check social media first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If someone tells me about a great new item of clothing, up and coming restaurant or must have skincare product, to name a few, then I will first of all check Instagram. I want to check out the business’ aesthetic and learn more about the brands’ style, beliefs and personality. I am impressed if the brand has over the 10k mark - but if it’s hit 100k+ followers then I’m almost instantly more inclined to buy the product or try the service before I’ve even explored further. I put my trust in that number, why? Because if the brand is good enough for 100k+ people to follow, its good enough for me.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not going to bare my soul to a company because of the amount of followers alone, the content posted is also extremely crucial. I want to see great engagement between brand and consumer coupled with exciting relevant content which shows me just how the brand want to be perceived. When landing on an Instagram page, I’m not too concerned about the right now. It doesn’t offend me if a post is from a few days ago as long as it captures exactly what the caption states and stays true to the brands aesthetic, beliefs and values. The landing page must make me instantly want to tap that follow button. I’m looking for consistency with colour theme, lighting, spacing (as seen below from DÔEN) and yes I’m checking how many followers you have. Once I’ve hit follow, the exploration can begin.
My next action would be to check a brand’s story. Whilst tapping through, I want to see what’s happening right at this second. I want to see fun, behind the scenes excitement and most of all personality. In the 90’s, there was a stigma around showing too much personality, or revealing that there is a person behind a brand. It was all about professionalism. Don’t get me wrong we haven’t lost the professionalism, but these days we are more inclined to invest in a company if we believe in them, and if we see the real them. After all, we’re all human aren’t we? Instagram Story’s gives you the perfect opportunity to be a little silly, add Gif’s, captions, music, and emoji’s to your images and videos (below).
We are living in a culture, some may say unfortunately, where social media is one of the biggest influencers in how we live our lives. We can be influenced and in turn be influencers to our followers so easily through Instagram. Businesses can direct the consumer how to use their product. For instance, we are told by any fashion brand how and where we should be wearing their clothes and what we should be piecing them with. However, this does not offend us because we like the guidance. It doesn’t feel bossy or dictator-like because we look to these brands and their Instagram accounts for advice and, yes, for influence.
Another great reason to build a following on social media is social proof. Social proof is based on the idea of normative social influence, which states that people will conform in order to be liked by, similar to or accepted by the influencer (or society). We, as a society, are more than likely to purchase a product, or visit a restaurant/bar, or use a builder who has been recommended by someone we know. BirghtLocal found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and Shopify says, 63% of online consumers are more likely to buy a product with reviews than without.
So, back to the original question, is Instagram important for business? The simple answer is yes. Regardless of what your business is, it’s important to have content rich, relevant social media channels. If you want to grow your business, the first place we (the human population) will check is social media to validate a company’s credibility. According to Instagram, 72% of users have made a purchase after seeing a product or service on Instagram. To sum up, Social Media, if handled correctly, can only add value to your business.