Amidst the age of increasingly personalized ecommerce, it is rare to see something we don’t want while surfing social media. Whether we are on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, we see brand marketing at work. Yet one social media platform has quickly proven its limitless potential for ecommerce – that platform as you may have guessed is indeed Instagram. An article in Forbes recently stated: “Instagram’s community boasts 15 times more engagement than its parent company (Facebook) and more than Twitter or even Google (plus).” With such high levels of traffic, it’s silly for retailers to not take advantage of its extensive reach.
Armed with such high levels of engagement and functions like sponsored ads or direct messaging, Instagram is attracting all the right kinds of profitable attention. Sponsored ads allow brands to sneak into users feeds and actively promote their products and services to users that are may be interested. Personally, I know that out of all the social media ads shown, Instagram’s are the least intrusive. I’ll be looking at one of my friends posts one minute, then cruising through different kinds of Levi jeans the next.
Instagram doesn’t yet incorporate the ability to make a purchase right when you see the ad. But what “The Gram” does provide, is a trail of brand breadcrumbs for consumers to follow. Users can click on the image and be taken directly to the brand’s website or product page.
And for those that want to create more personal relationships with customers…the ‘send message’ feature now gives customers a direct line of communication with the brands they follow. Instead of emailing customer service about a limited time offer or certain order, Instagram users can simply send a direct message to the brand’s account – and receive light-speed contact. And as Lydia Dishman states in her Forbes piece: “It’s clear that Instagram is the channel to tap for retailers that truly want to make an impression in omnichannel selling.”
Sponsored posts have also shown to have longer lasting impressions. According to Instagram, “ad recall from sponsored posts on the platform was 2.8 times higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising”.
On top of providing businesses with opportunities to promote their brand, Instagram has catalyzed a community of brand evangelists who show off their new favorite things without hesitation. People post daily what they are wearing, what products they purchased and what brands they love. This creates instant “social proof” which is better than gold for many businesses.
Companies like Nike have seen intense brand following. With more than 47 million mentions and 18 million followers, Nike has tapped into a powerful social community. But Instagram is not limited to big brand growth. Other businesses like “LiketoKnowit” have created businesses around the influence of Instagram. This company lets users shop their favorite Instagrams from their favorite Instagrammers. This enables brands to leverage consumers as their mouthpiece and reach thousands more buyers than if they were limited to their own efforts.
Whether you use Instagram organically or leverage their sponsored posts, it is clear that this platform has opened new doors for business growth. Instagram recently released a statement, “the company itself maintains that sponsored ads are working, boosting reach, recall and awareness among pilot campaigns.” No wonder 91% of retail brands have cozied up to the potential buying power of Instagram users.