When social media started in the late 90s, and began booming in the early 2000s, it was used as more of a personal tool to help people connect. However, over the years, it has also become an extremely powerful marketing tool as well for many different marketers and businesses, whether B2C or B2B.
Surely, the kind of business you have and your target audience are factors that should absolutely be taken into consideration when choosing the right social media platform for you. However, there is one platform that has recently proven to be very effective in all industries: Instagram!
Even though a lot of other platforms are also important social media marketing tools, research has shown that for the last two years, Instagram has been quickly making its way up to the top, most effective social media platform for digital marketing due to its rapid growth on the amount of active users, and also due to its power of engagement. In 2018, Instagram is supposed to reach its highest peak in regard to social media marketing.
Instagram currently has more than 800 million monthly active users and is supposed to have even more by the end of 2018. It’s being considered by many as the best 2018 platform for social media marketing, helping different kinds of businesses with different purposes, including, of course, an increase in sales.
Let’s cover the top 10 different ways Instagram can benefit your business, regardless of whether you own a gelateria, an ice cream parlor, a pastry shop, a coffee shop, a restaurant, a food cart, an online-food-sales business, or literally any other foodservice-related commerce.
- Presence on Platform
This first point is pretty simple and basic: be sure you have an account on Instagram! There are countless people active on Instagram on a daily, and it’s important that you be involved, especially considering the fact that your target and existing customers are also included in this count.
Due to its high volume of active users and gigantic reach potential, simply being present on Instagram will increase the chances of your business being discovered by customers. Foodservice businesses are creating accounts on Instagram regularly, whether they own a small ice cream cart or a big chain restaurant, and so are relevant customers.
Being on Instagram enables you to keep up with new domestic and international trends happening in the industry. It also allows you to view what your competitors are doing.
Creating an Instagram account allows you to connect with like-minded people, and this aids you in coming up with new and innovative ideas for your business. So if you own a business, it should absolutely be on Instagram.
- High Engagement Rate
Other platforms also have a very high amount of active users, but what has been setting Instagram apart from other social media platforms lately, as far as digital marketing? The high engagement rate. Recent research shows that this is due to a few advantages that Instagram has over other platforms, such as the fact that it offers features that work better for encouraging and maintaining engagement, which customers have seemed to respond very well.
- Reach, Brand Awareness, Brand Loyalty, and Visibility
Instagram offers several features for people to quickly find your business, as well as for you to find your target customer audience. Some of these features include hashtags, geotags, paid ads, and the option of tagging other people and businesses on your own posts, among other very helpful features.
Because of its vast reach and the millions and millions of active users it has, Instagram is also a brilliant way for you to better and more firmly establish your brand in the market, bringing you great visibility and more relevant customers.
Brand loyalty also plays a vital role in your Instagram marketing game. You will always have those customers that will talk your brand up to others, whether it’s on social media or in person. What’s key here is the fact that whenever they do it on Instagram, they get to a lot of other relevant customers, thereby bringing them to you.
- Easy Business x Customer Communication
Today, the majority of people appreciate instant gratification, where the less you need to do in order to obtain the information you’re looking for, the better. Oftentimes, customers want to figure things out on their own using their smartphones. With that being said, if you have an Instagram business page, it can serve as an additional avenue of communication between you and customers, as the platform offers both the option of adding comments to posts, as well as the option to directly message someone. Additionally, an Instagram business account publishes your phone number, email address, and physical address, making it easier for consumers to contact you or get to your store.
- Source of Education
A great way to sell, regardless of the industry, is through educating your audience on why they should buy your product. For example, if you own a vegan pastry shop, having an Instagram page enables you to educate your audience on your beliefs on why being vegan is important, and explains the benefits of your vegan products. This increases the potential for your target customers to come to you with inquiries about your products, as to give them a better understanding about why you sell what you sell, and why they should buy from you.
- Visual Appeal
Instagram is a clean, uncluttered, visually-driven social media platform—imagery being what the world is leaning towards today. Attractive and interesting images and videos spark interest among customers, so it’s good business practice to make the most out of it. Use the fact that in the food industry, the look of the food is imperative to catch the eye of the customer. So create interesting and attractive collateral of your food and post away!
- Website Traffic & Substitute
Whether a business is equipped with a website or not, both can benefit from Instagram. Let’s start with the first one. Instagram has the potential to better your website traffic by significantly helping to direct people to your website through your posts and calls to action. On top of that, Instagram has become a go-to platform for consumers looking for brands. Additionally, be sure to keep your feed visually presentable in effort to heighten consumer interest in your products and services, inherently directing interested parties to your website.
In the case that you don’t have a website for your business, Instagram can definitely play the “website” role for you in showcasing your products. Instagram is free, easy to use, and visually gathers all of your posts in one easily accessible page to an incredibly large and engaging community, including your target customers. So why not show all your products in one effective location?
- Powerful Storytelling
This is one of the best and most well-known benefits Instagram offers. You can tell the story of your brand through several tools that Instagram provides. Inspire customers with stories about taking a trip to Italy with a spoonful of your authentic artisanal Italian gelato (even though your store is located in the United States). Be creative with your storytelling! Sell inspiration and experiences, instead of only products.
Keep something else in mind as well; the more realistic and down-to-earth you keep your storytelling, the more connected people will feel to your brand, and the more interaction you can look to expect from them.
- Instagrammable Foods
Today, there is such a thing called Instagrammable foods—a “cool”, appealing, delicious-looking, and/or different kind of dish that is perfect for posting to your Instagram page. Most times, customers find it hard to resist taking a picture of these eye-catching dishes and will post the images on their Instagram pages, while tagging your business, which is a marketing bonus for your business. Believe it or not, this method is a simple and effective way to capture other customers, as it increases the visibility of your brand. The more you experiment with your menu options, you increase the potential to have your creations posted all over Instagram.
- Customers equal Influencers
The main idea here is to have your customers genuinely want to talk about your business on their personal Instagram pages, and as a result they become indirect influencers of your brand. The noise that customers can make about your brand on their Instagram pages can help grow your customer base. Having influencers on Instagram expands your reach on this and other online platforms, helping to put your business on the map!
Seeing as you have been informed, the next step is create your business Instagram account if you’re not present already. Apply all the points we’ve covered in this article to your Instagram page, and experience an innovative, effective, and fun way to increase your sales. Instagram customers await you.