Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Organization – A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram

26 Jan Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Organization – A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram


All good things must come to an end and while there are still countless other social media platforms that I could review and provide a beginner’s guide to, we are going to end our journey with Instagram. Since our clients are predominately in the B2B and B2G space it makes sense to focus on the platforms that they are most likely to use. And with that said, let’s learn about Instagram.

The basics: Instagram is a photo sharing app that allows users to take photos or videos (up to 15 seconds in length), add filters to those photos or videos and then share them on the app as well as across other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Instagram was first released in October 2010 and was acquired by Facebook in 2012. The idea behind Instagram is that it’s “a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.”

Demographics: Instagram proved to be incredibly popular and within a year and a half of launching already had 100 million active users. As of December 2014 the app boasted 300 million active users “sharing 70 million photos and videos each day.” From a Business Insider report, more than 90% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35. Other stats include:

  • Instagram is predominately used by women with 68% of its users female.
  • The app is used more in urban areas with 17%  U.S. adults in urban areas using the app (compared to 11% in suburban or rural areas).

Access: Instagram is very much a mobile app, but its users are split 50/50 between iPhone and Android. While photos and videos can be viewed, liked and commented on online, the app is meant to be used from a mobile device – allowing users to share images from their life as they go about their day.

How it’s being used: Perhaps more so than other social media platforms, Instagram is really a consumer-focused social media platform. That’s not to say brands aren’t – or shouldn’t be – using it, but the brands that are using Instragram the most are largely consumer brands like retailers. Along with having an Instagram account to showcase their products, Instagram also has sponsored posts, which are clearly marked as such. From their own website, Instagram indicates that they are currently working with a handful of brands to participate in sponsored posts, including: adidas, Ben and Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, and more.

So how could a B2B or B2G company, or even a service provider like SpeakerBox, use Instagram?  If your company produces a final product that is “photographable” Instagram is a great to showcase what you do. A few companies that do this well are Killer Infographics, an infographic design firm based in Seattle; 3D Robotics, a San Diego-based maker of drones and Intel, which in recent years has really been showcasing all the amazing products and technologies they are a part of.

Another way to participate is to use the app to showcase your culture – both to build morale amongst your team and to help in the recruiting process. Here at SpeakerBox our Instagram feed is a combination of photos of our team gatherings, industry events we attend, random office fun or the next generation of SpeakerBoxers (aka, our team’s babies that we’re grooming to take over).  Marketing software provider Marketo, and enterprise resource planning software provider Oracle, are two additional companies that use Instagram well to showcase their culture. Both companies use their Instagram feed to display the human side of their business, including what it’s like to work for them, which certainly helps with recruiting efforts.

Analytics: Per this article in Mashable, Instagram rolled out a deeper set of analytics for advertisers back in August 2014.  The metrics include impressions, reach and engagement and the data is provided to marketers in almost real time. From the Mashable article, “the desktop-based dashboard leverages Facebook‘s demographic information to let advertisers see an age- and sex-based breakdown of users who are interacting with branded messages.” For most users of Instagram though, post measurement is as simple as tracking the number of “likes” and comments.

Pros: Instagram is like no other social media platform in that it’s all about pictures and is a great way to share them – without overwhelming say, your Facebook feed. It’s a fun way to really showcase a company’s culture and let people see the lighter, more human side of your business.

Cons: While I do point out a few examples above, the B2B or B2G play on Instagram is limited. Clearly it’s not impossible, and some companies are very much succeeding, but to truly build a following and be successful would require a dedicated social media team that understands the scope and reach of the platform. Just by looking at the demographics alone it’s clear to see that it’s not the place to try to sell security products or services, software or application development services.

Final thoughts: Personally, I love Instagram and that it allows me to show off pictures (admittedly mostly of my children) without driving everyone on Facebook completely nuts. I think that using it to showcase a company’s culture and human side is a good idea – especially if culture fit is an important part of your hiring process.

And thus concludes our beginner’s guide to social media. In case you’ve missed any of my past posts, I’ve already taken a look at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook,  Google+,  YouTube and Vimeo.

Jennifer Edgerly
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