It wasn’t long ago that social app Instagram was the distant third in the popularity race with Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR), but with more than 300 million active users every day and over 500 million registered accounts in total, it now sits second behind only Zuckerberg’s flagship. That’s good news for investors as Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012 and has done a successful job of evolving it into a well-rounded social network that the general public and marketers are in love with.
It was initially launched in 2010 on iOS, branding itself as an image-centric platform. This made sense at the time with Facebook and twitter dominating the market, but under Facebook’s own guidance video sharing went live in June 2013 and now users can do a wide range of posts – from Snapchat (SNAP) style 24 hours expiring ‘stories,’ to live video streaming.
Facebook was also the first to monetize the platform, launching sponsored posts in November 2013. Today business accounts are offered in-depth analytics to monitor the success of both regular and paid posts, the latter which can be laser targeted through demographic choices.
A recent study published in an infographic by WebsiteBuilder.org (below) shows that almost half of brands are now active on Instagram and this is expected to rise to over 70% by the end of the year. There are also over 500,000 advertisers making use of paid posts, so business owners and marketers still have time to get in on the ground floor and take advantage of the network’s large and engaged audience. In fact on a per post basis, Instagram users like, share and comment at a much higher rate than other social networks, and users are more likely to follow the brands they like here than elsewhere. Nike (NKE), for example, has 68.1 million followers on Instagram and just 27.7 million on Facebook.
But if you’re a business owner how can you get things up and running? You’ll need to register a business account and leave a small call to action on the bio page, which is currently the only place you can include your website link. One of the key ways to gain followers is to include relevant hashtags in your posts (but don’t spam), as these are searchable to anyone. Top brands are posting on average 4.9 times a week to keep users engaged but not annoyed, and the general consensus is that adopting a fun and accessible persona that regularly interacts with users, is the best way to build brand trust and loyalty.
If you’d like to know more about the evolution of Instagram, some of its key stats, and ways you can use it to benefit your business – make sure to check out the following new infographic from WebsiteBuilder.org.