Marketers today understand the need for social media. In 2020, Facebook made around $86 billion from advertising. Indeed, nearly all the company’s revenue comes from this one stream.
Other social media platforms are also enjoying success with digital marketers. Tourism companies use Instagram and other social media to target their customers.
Instagram isn’t quite as big or as popular as Facebook, but it also has great importance with digital marketing. Instagram can help improve the visibility of a brand and increase product awareness.
Since the rise of the influencer, Instagram has stood out as the home for these individuals. But, has Instagram had its time and is there perhaps a better alternative?
How many people use social media?
With all the available platforms and their popularity, you would expect the user figures to be high. But perhaps they are higher than you would have imagined.
Datareportal has shown that more than 4.62 billion people are accessing their accounts on social media every month. This equates to 9 out of 10 internet users, or nearly 60% of the world’s population.
Instagram is normally secretive over its userbase, but recently they had to reveal to Congress how many active monthly users they had. The figure was an incredible 2 billion users. Therefore, nearly 50% of the world’s social media users operate an account on Instagram.
The site appeals to influencers, brands, and people who simply want to post photos of their pets. It has a broad range of appeal but is especially useful for marketing.
Is Instagram still relevant to marketing today?
The growing number of users would suggest that it certainly is. Influencer marketing can be a highly profitable way to promote brands and services.
Many products have gone viral simply through the clever use of influencers and bloggers. The Instant Pot is just one example.
Instead of conducting an expensive marketing campaign, the makers of this appliance simply gave away their product. But the people they chose to send Instant Pots to were all influential individuals.
The result was a sales phenomenon, marketed on a minuscule budget. One of the golden rules of ROI on social media is to be able to measure results.
Insights can help with this area, but when using multiple platforms it can be difficult to track leads and conversions.
How hard is it to grow an audience on Instagram?
Getting a fully organically grown audience takes time. You will need to understand just how Instagram works so that your content is more visible than your competitors. It is this algorithm that many users fail to understand.
Instead of putting in the hard work, some people turn to other methods to grow their following.
Instagram marketing courses are becoming something of a phenomenon themselves. These courses are often run by successful influencers and promise to teach students how to grow their own brand.
The problem is, many of these influencers are under-qualified, and understand little about marketing outside of their own niche.
Another way to expand your following is to use a growth service.
An Instagram growth service will raise the number of followers you have, and help to raise engagement. If done properly.
Can you genuinely grow your audience with a growth service?
Like many services in the world, there are good growth businesses, and there are some rotten apples.
Black hat techniques to increase web traffic have started to filter down to growth services. The only way to grow an audience organically is to engage with genuinely interested users.
Growth services can certainly do this, but many of them don’t. Instead, they add empty accounts to your following, or worse, they use bots.
A good Instagram growth service will hunt for followers that will actually interact with you. Individuals that actually have an interest in your services and what you post.
Anyone considering using a growth service should be aware of the risks which include possible suspension or an outright ban from Instagram.
It is the difficulty in growing an audience that may force some to look for alternatives to Instagram.
What alternatives are there to Instagram?
There are some good alternatives to Instagram, and they are worth considering in the right situation.
Many people and brands will use a cross-platform marketing campaign. This means using Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other apps to spread your net wider.
Some alternatives to Instagram are these:
However, Instagram may still be the best choice for you. Before your start, you should understand your demographic. Once you understand your target audience, you can choose your platform wisely.
The reason that there may be better choices than Instagram is down to their user base.
Who uses what platforms?
This is where a little research can really pay off when it comes to ROI.
Instagram largely caters to 18 to 34 years olds, with a slight edge towards male users. It can appeal to aspirational lifestyles and is popular with fashion and athleisure brands.
Your brand, however, may be looking to appeal more to females in a different age range. In that case, Pinterest may be a far better option and provide more conversions.
If you were looking for a younger audience, then TikTok would have the edge over Instagram. According to Statista, TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users. This figure was gained in a short time, showing that there is great potential in marketing through this platform.
Driving more traffic to your website
Using outreach marketing can help you to use the influencers of Instagram. Contacting influential people who are relevant to your market will raise brand awareness.
If you can write guest posts and link to your site through influencers, you will help to increase your volume of traffic.
So, is Instagram still needed in 2022?
There is a very short answer to this question, and it is yes. Instagram is completely relevant to digital marketing today, and will no doubt continue to be so.
The only way to be successful on the platform is by creating engagement. Micro-influencers do not rely on huge followings, yet they are still sought out by brands for endorsements.
The reason micro-influencers are still useful is that they are often in niche markets. And, more importantly, their audience trusts them and engages with them.
Brand loyalty cannot be bought, but influencers can deliver it if they believe in your product. Although other platforms are used by influencers, they are synonymous with Instagram.
Some influencers have made incredibly successful careers from Instagram. They have gained millions of followers, and they have done it through engaging content, and trust.
This is one reason why underhand methods to grow audiences should be avoided.
Gaining an Instagram account is easy, getting some followers is also not difficult. Creating sustained growth, however, takes a lot of work.
Perhaps this is why some people find Instagram unhelpful for marketing. There are three choices in this situation; switch to another platform, use a growth service, or reach out to influencers.
A good growth service will help you find a targeted audience organically. Reaching out to influencers means that you will add to your following through them.
Of course, you could switch to another platform, but then you would be missing out on all the marketing possibilities that Instagram has to offer.