Instagram has come a long way since its initial release in October 2010. After an increased uptake in the number of businesses which now use Instagram as a marketing tool, we’ve seen developers slowly introduce features which allow businesses a more intuitive use of the social media platform.
We’ve taken a look at some of the key features on Instagram along with those introduced by third party developers and how they can benefit your SME.
One of the major benefits of Instagram is the manner in which the newsfeed works, with posts from all profiles that are followed appearing on the newsfeed. This trumps the likes of Facebook where only the most relevant stories are shown (understandably with the large number of content which is regularly shared) and Twitter where the newsfeed gets flooded as a result of the high volume of tweets.
Having the ability to reach your audience with such ease without an expense is a rare thing amongst many of the main social media platforms so this is a welcomed feature on Instagram. Whether it’s something that will change over time is yet to be seen, but given the fact Instagram hit over 400million active users in 2015, surpassing Twitter, it seems to suggest that the news feed will remain unchanged.
Hashtags have played a major role on Instagram since the early days, from using them to gain ‘likes’ to making use of them for competitions, they’ve become almost synonymous with the app. Using hashtags is a great way of allowing people to find your content and thus your brand.
Instagram now have a selection of ‘top posts’ for the majority of popular hashtags which are displayed alongside the most recently added posts. This allows your brand to take advantage of popular hashtags and potentially gain a feature within the top posts. It isn’t clear how Instagram chooses which posts to feature in the most popular section however there’s an opportunity for smaller businesses to appear as they aren’t selected purely on the number of ‘likes’ they receive.
Video view count
Videos were introduced to Instagram in 2013, and while they were initially used primarily for comedy sketches by many users, they also allowed for businesses to provide previews for video content or a short ad to get their message across in a more interactive manner.
Being able to now see how many views* each video receives along with the number of likes can help you gauge which pieces of video content are preferred by your followers. Being able to see your video views also allows you to compare the how popular your videos are on Instagram compared to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Vine, helping you to distinguish where best to post your video content.
One of the latest additions to Instagram, and one of the most beneficial to SME owners is the option to log into multiples Instagram accounts at one time. For years we saw owners using personal pages to upload the odd business related posts or vice versa, which simply isn’t what customers want.
The ability to switch between accounts with ease now means that you can manage multiple profiles and upload content as when you need to without the hassle of logging in and out of accounts and the worry of forgetting usernames and passwords.
Third party apps
The growth of Instagram has been aided by the introduction of numerous third party apps and websites which have helped to extend their services. 2 features which that have really benefitted the users are the ability to repost images and also in depth analytics tools.
- Repost Images
One of the biggest qualms people had with Instagram was not having the ability to repost pictures directly via the app itself, which left people having to screen shot and the re upload the images. Not only was this a long winded process but in many cases it also affected the quality of the image. However a number of apps (such as Repostapp) have been released on iOS and android phones which allow for easy reposting.
Reposting and sharing community content can help to foster relations with your followers and customers. Look to repost content which feature your products and you’ll find customers being appreciative of this.
- Analytics – Iconosquare
The growth of Instagram has also seen third party businesses introduce services to help brands gain a complete experience for the app. Analytics are crucial in order to measure your social media performance and one of the best for Instagram is Iconosquare. It offers a free online service where you get all the key metrics required to measure your Instagram activity.
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