If you’re avid social media users like us (and really, who isn’t these days?), you probably noticed how the most popular social media platforms keep “borrowing” ideas from each other. Should we be concerned they’ll eventually morph into a single Face-gram-tube-chat?
Both Facebook and Instagram offer the vanishing stories made popular by Snapchat in 2013. Snapchat continues to build its digital advertising options. The app now offers Memories as well, making it more like other, more permanent, social platforms. Now, hashtags are more important on Instagram and LinkedIn than they are on Twitter, which is where they originated over a decade ago.
Even with all these copy-cat moves, there’s one social media platform that stands out to us as the best. Instagram is consistently staying ahead of the curve to remain one of the most effective forms of social media for businesses. There are lots of reasons we love using Instagram to share what’s new at Parkway Digital. These same reasons make Instagram the best social media for other brands too.
Adding New Features
Instagram has come a long way from its beginnings as a simple photo-sharing app. Many of the app’s changes in the last decade make it easier for brands to create conversations with their fans.
Some features make it easier to engage. We love the ability to like comments, reply to specific comments, ask questions and take polls in Stories, and send direct messages. Others help businesses manage their brands’ image on the platform. These include archiving posts, adding usernames and hashtags into the bio, and saving other users’ posts into organized private collections. The latest features on Instagram are helping businesses sell products, with shoppable posts and product stickers within Stories.
With so many features aimed at connecting users, it’s no surprise that one reason we think Instagram is the best social media is the community. Search a hashtag like #travelBUF and you’ll be connected to an entire community of people and businesses sharing images of all that Buffalo has to offer. This is one of the best ways to find and follow like-minded users on the platform.
Businesses and publications are building their communities with branded hashtags, which make it easier for these brands to connect with their users. More than 70,000 images use the hashtag #jcrewalways, which gives J. Crew a huge catalog of images to choose from when sharing user-generated content. Fans of the brand can also browse this collection to see how other Instagrammers are styling their preppy pieces.
Sharing Diverse Media
Don’t let Instagram’s strictly visual nature keep you from sharing different types of content. Photos, videos and illustrations all call Instagram home. Your feed is where polished content with long, thoughtful comments belongs. Stories is the place for behind-the-scenes images, quick Boomerangs and casual conversations with customers. On Instagram, brands can let a little bit loose and document in an authentic way, both in the feed and on Stories.
Connecting with a Diverse Audience
As of mid-2018, Instagram has more than 1 billion users around the world. These users skew younger than Facebook and LinkedIn, with 64% of Instagrammers falling between the ages of 18 and 34. As Gen Z, a generation notoriously hard to reach with advertising, gets older and enjoys increased spending power, brands investing in Instagram will benefit.
An even split between male and female users is what makes Instagram truly special. This statistic alone makes Instagram an advertiser’s dream, thanks to the ability to reach a diverse audience.
Image courtesy of Statista.
Creating Native Advertising
Maybe the biggest reason Instagram is the best social media is the opportunity for potential customers to get to know your brand organically. Facebook refocused its efforts to connect friends and family. Twitter’s biggest accounts belong to politicians, singers, comedians and news organizations. However, on Instagram brands can reach the feeds of their followers with content that mimics the type of posts users are already seeing from the people they follow. Businesses that invest in high-quality organic posts, paid partnerships or targeted ads will come out ahead on Instagram.