The very first Instagram photo was taken by its founder, Kevin Systron in Mexico in 2010. I find it fitting that it was of a dog. We all know pets, especially dogs, are a big hit on Instagram. And as most things seem to go on the Internet nowadays, bra-less women are the latest Instagram rage. However, Instagram has become more than a site to post pictures of dogs and scantily clad women (and men).
Instagram is the number one photo sharing app in the U.S. with 95 Million active users, and also globally, adding almost 100 million active users each year since 2014. Now attaining over 800 million worldwide active users. And not surprisingly, that has attracted many big businesses to Instagram. Just to name a few brands that are power Instagram users: Adidas, Airbnb, GoPro, Nat Geo, Fed Ex, Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building, Manchester United and yes, Entrepreneur too.
Here in the U.S, we like to think were the king of everything, but the numbers show there are 8 times as many active Instagram users outside the U.S. I previously wrote about 13 power tips from six successful U.S. based Instagrammers. So, I decided to reach out to four business power users on four different continents and ask their thoughts on the value of Instagram in their region and some of their best tips. Here’s what they told me:
“Instagram has become a vital marketing platform for businesses in the Middle East. It is one of the most used social media apps, if not the most popular. Businesses in Qatar use it to tell their stories in a way that is visually appealing to their customers.“
His top 4 tips for using Instagram as a business tool are:
- Have a complete bio and write what your business is about. And make sure to be consistent in all your social media profiles. Use your logo as a display pic: make sure to use your logo with the correct branding font style and color.
- Take professional photos: Professional photos with steady and stable hands or a good camera of a smart or by a professional camera will be even better.
- Take your audience behind the scenes sometimes: use Instagram story to film moments behind the scenes to engage your audience and make them feel belonged to your brand.
- Collaborate with the right bloggers and Influencers that belong to your segment. Collaborating with the wrong influencer might create the wrong buzz.
- Oliver Isaacs (@oliverzok), United Kingdom
“There is no doubt you can enhance your brand identity significantly on Instagram, being adopted by numerous online and offline businesses across the UK and Europe daily. Mobile has now taken over desktop traffic, and Instagram is the place to be. In terms of my specific business sector, being focused primarily on cryptocurrency investing and blockchain technology, I’ve seen multiple blockchain type startups, which many have touted as the future, using Instagram to generate exposure for their ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). A lot of blockchain companies or specific crypto coins have set up Telegram groups which heavily link to their Instagram pages, which they have used to generate viral content or endorsements from major public figures, celebrities or crypto-currency influencers. There is no doubt that companies and startups alike are realizing they can tap into Instagram’s vast user base of over 800 million active users.”
His top tip to others looking to use Instagram as a tool to grow:
One of the most important strategies to ensure sustainable and rapid Instagram growth is consistency. Easier said than done, but whichever niche you are in whether it be luxury, comedy, beauty or travel, it’s vital to remain consistent with your content and stories. This will allow you to stay on the good side of the Instagram algorithm which will attract a more engaged and loyal following. Once content remains consistent, finding bigger accounts in your niche from Engagement or Facebook groups, Telegram and KIK apps, and negotiating cross-promotion on stories or post captions, you’ll both be able to quickly gain high-quality followers in your specific niche. You can also make use of ‘power-likes’ from much larger accounts if you build a solid relationship with the account owners of these 1M+ pages. This will give your posts the best chance of going viral on the Explore page.
“Social Media usage in Australia has been very consistent over the years with Facebook and YouTube being popular amongst Aussies. The last two years Instagram started to get a big slice of the pie and we are seeing steady growth for Twitter and Snapchat. Businesses in Australia spend most of their marketing budgets first on improving their websites and content and then they look at incorporating budget spend on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram advertising, strong influencer marketing campaigns and creative ways to reach millennials on Snapchat we see only from the bigger brands.
Her top tip to others looking to use Instagram as a tool to grow:
To build a brand with Instagram you need to understand the type of content people crave combined with finding your niche. The quality of content competition on Instagram is tough, so you will have to be consistent and must deliver top-notch content with every post you make, otherwise you will not get noticed and drown in the flood of amazing creative content updates from your competitors. Have a solid strategy, get a content calendar in place and combine that with some ad spend to boost reach.
- Luana Soares (@diasdeluana), Brazil, Sau Paulo. Journalist, Globetrotter, Digital Nomad, PR, Social Media Agent, Content Creator and sometimes many others. 29 countries, 4 languages.
“Brazil it’s the second biggest country for bloggers and YouTubers today. Every “brand” or “public person” know they must be on Instagram to stay competitive. Businesses in Brazil are using Instagram every day to engage and be social with their customers. We are a very social country, after all.”
Her top tip to others looking to use Instagram as a tool to grow:
Many businesses are now learning that Instagram it’s very important to communicate with the younger generation. Retail stores, for example, are selling directly from Instagram by using the ad platform or driving traffic to their website or landing page via the link in their Instagram profile. My advice is you need to be updated with Instagram’s latest features and changes to their algorithm. To stay updated, I follow Instagram’s official blog and you can do it right from the Instagram app on your phone. This will help make your account look amazing and stay a step ahead of your competitors.
It’s clear that Instagram has become a powerful business tool here in the U.S. But it also clear that Instagram has crossed to oceans to become a major marketing and branding force for businesses worldwide too.