With 500 million monthly users and 300 million daily users, Instagram has become a force to be reckoned with.
Numbers like these have convinced many large businesses to start advertising on Instagram as well as on Facebook. Just look at what Guerlain and Air Canada did last year, or what National Geographic and ASOS are doing this year. Instagram marketing is a fast-growing trend, and the businesses that get it right are the ones that understand that marketing on Instagram is different than on Facebook.
Facebook Advertising Works on Facebook
You are most likely familiar with the Facebook revenue model, which, in short, works by collecting information from users’ profiles and letting other businesses use this information to design targeted ads. As of May of 2015, this is also happening on Instagram. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just transfer your Facebook ads to Instagram and expect them to have the same results.
In 2012, when Facebook spent 1 billion dollars to purchase Instagram, the company showed their keen understanding of the potential that this photo and video-based social networking site represents. It was as if they had read young consumers’ minds and saw that they would start to converse primarily through images and video footage instead of text. Just look at your own Facebook timeline and those of your friends and contacts, and you will see that images and video have started to dominate.
Use Instagram to Complement Facebook
As a result, Instagram is fulfilling a different need in its users than Facebook does. In fact, Instagram users are looking to be inspired and intrigued. Whereas on Facebook, ads can communicate promotions and deals, on Instagram it is more important to tell stories. If you make your story central on Instagram, and not your product, you’ll get more likes and tags.
These likes and tags won’t instantly turn into higher conversion rates, however. Why? Because with Instagram, you are playing a longer game than with Facebook. With Instagram, you need to forget about higher conversion rates in the short term, and focus on building your brand with your target audience instead. That doesn’t mean that you can’t measure your success on Instagram. You can keep track of your progress by measuring key performance indicators, or KPIs, such as such as exposure and engagement. But if your main goal is to increase conversion in the short term, your time is better spent on putting together an effective Facebook campaign.
To sum up, Instagram offers you a chance to show your target audience what you are about and what is unique about your brand. Keep in mind that the interests of users might diverge from what you are used to on Facebook. With Instagram your goal is primarily to inspire and intrigue users.
Originally published 10/13/16.