We all know how important it is these days to have your business on social media. The marketing world is always changing, and as we shift more of our focus into digital marketing, it’s important to know which platforms will best suit your business’s needs. Today’s topic: Instagram.
Just like any other social media platform, there will always be pros and cons associated. I’ve put together a quick list of Instagram’s pros and cons that will hopefully help you decide if it’s right for your business.
Pro: It’s a rapidly-growing platform
Instagram is currently the fastest growing social media platform in Canada and is predicted to continue to grow. As of October 2018, there were 12 million Canadian Instagram users, and according to Statista, that number is projected to grow to 14.3 million by 2023. As more Canadians sign up for an Instagram account, your business’s exposure has the potential to increase.
Con: It’s not for every age group
Instagram is most commonly used among younger audiences. According to NapoleonCat, people ages 25-34 use Instagram the most in Canada, and make up 32.1% of total users. People ages 18-24 come second at 25.1% of total users. If your target audience does not fall into this age group, it’s not recommended that you prioritize advertising on Instagram over other platforms.
Pro: It can be used on the go
Instagram is mainly a mobile-only app. The average consumer is always carrying a mobile device with quick and easy access to the internet, meaning they can use any app on the go. By advertising your business on Instagram, you can reach consumers anywhere.
Let’s say you own a coffee shop business in a popular tourist town, and want to encourage tourists to visit your shop. While these tourists are scrolling through Instagram, they might see your ad and notice that your shop is close by. This ad could give them the nudge to pick up a coffee while they’re in the area; after all, it’s not too far away!
Con: It doesn’t support clickable links
Clickable links are not supported through Instagram, which can make it difficult to advertise your website. The only place on Instagram where clickable links are supported is the “bio” section, which means that if you’re advertising your website in individual posts, you need to provide clear directions on where consumers can access the link. If they’re not sure where to find the link, they’ll have to open a separate tab to search for your website, and in the fast-paced digital age, people might consider that time-consuming, and therefore lose interest.
Another thing you may want to consider if you’re advertising your website on Instagram is to have a mobile version of your website available for easier use!
Pro: Hashtags make things easier to find
By using hashtags relevant to your niche, you can make your content easier to find. Users are always actively exploring hashtags, so the more hashtags you use, the more traffic you’re likely to get. Users can also follow hashtags, meaning that even if a user doesn’t follow your business, your content will still appear in their feed. Hashtags can really help a business gain followers!
Con: There are limitations
One of the first things users see when they visit your profile is your bio. But Instagram bios have a character limit of 150 characters, which means you have a very limited amount of space to make a great first impression. This means you’ll have to tell your brand’s story mainly through imagery and keep your captions short and engaging, as captions are limited to 2200 characters and 30 hashtags.
Pro: People are attracted to imagery
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Instagram is the perfect way to visually showcase your business, whether you’re showing products you sell or your brand’s personality. Many people use trendy third-party apps to edit their photos, but if that’s not within your budget, Instagram allows you to edit your photos directly in the app. Many Instagram users create “themes” within their posts to make their profile visually appealing, which businesses can really benefit from doing. Themes show consistency and effort, and are overall attractive!
Con: You can only post through mobile
If you’re a marketer who manages multiple Instagram accounts for clients, you might feel that it’s more convenient to upload to Instagram through desktop, especially if you work in an office setting where the majority of your workday is spent on your desktop. However, since Instagram was initially created as a mobile-only app, you can only upload photos through the mobile app. If you want to upload photos from your desktop, you’ll need to download a third-party app, and since there are a few third-party apps that accomplish this, you’ll have to do some research to decide which one is best for you (personally, I use an app called Windowed). This can be a time-consuming process, but it works in the end.
Now that you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you should have a better idea of whether or not Instagram is suitable for your business. Remember to keep your target market’s interests in mind when deciding which social media platform to advertise on, as this will determine the engagement you’ll receive!