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Posted on 06.10.2016

Instagram Ups Its Game And Focuses More On Businesses

Many companies continue to ask “should we have a presence on Instagram?” If your business model is B2B, this likely isn’t the social media platform for you. But if you sell directly to consumers, Instagram may be an option worth considering, particularly in light of recent changes to the fast growing platform.

Two years ago Instagram introduced advertising options and has continued to fine tune its offerings, which includes using Facebook info to better target consumers with more relevant, targeted ads. (Remember that Facebook purchased Instagram a few years back).    

The problem has been that Instagram advertising is expensive and has historically been the only way Instagrammers could drive traffic to a business web site. But last week in an Instagram blog post, the popular social media platform announced it is introducing three new tools to attract commercial advertisers:

1. Business Profiles: This free feature will provide businesses with options on how customers can connect with them. Users can simply tap the contact button and it will provide phone, text, email and directions.

What does this mean for businesses?

When someone sees something they want to buy, whether it is a pair of shoes, piece of furniture, a cosmetic makeover, etc., they have the option to easily and immediately contact the business with questions or to make a purchase.

Insights: This is one of the most exciting new features because it provides businesses with valuable behavior and demographic information (location and age) on its followers.

What does this mean for businesses?

Businesses will be able to use this information to create more relevant, timely and targeted content. Unfortunately you can’t generate data directly from the photo sharing site, but as long as you link your Instagram business account with a Facebook business page, you can access Instagram analytics. 

2. Promote: Businesses can now turn well-liked posts into ads by adding a button enticing followers to take action. In addition, you can pick the time of day to run the ad, and either select a target audience or allow Instagram to make targeting recommendations.

What does this mean for businesses?

Like most all promoted post features, this feature has a price tag. But the ability to boost high performing posts can dramatically increase views and engagement, and allows businesses to include a call to action to help stimulate sales.

These changes are still a few months away from implementation, but if you are a B2C company, this is news worth following. If you aren’t familiar with Instagram, now is the time to set up an account and acquaint yourself with the platform so you can utilize the new features as they launch.

 

Robin Embry is a Vice President at Lovell Communications. Connect with Robin at robin@lovell.com.

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