Why Small Business Should Use Instagram for Their Social Media Marketing

2016 Social Media Series: Why Instagram? Because Facebook.

And now, the thrilling conclusion to our mini-series: The Visual Social PlatformsWhich One Should Busy Small Biz Folk Be On Now.

All You Need to Know Is in the Title — Because Facebook

Imagine seeing that title on the worn spine of a paperback in a used bookstore before the turn of the century, if you happened to be around by then.

Who would have been the author? Asimov? Orwell? Gary Snyder? What juicy futuristic sci-fi world would it envision? (Probably one much less mundane than our actual daily round, right? There’d undoubtedly be jetpacks.)

That would have been a perfectly cryptic title for a dystopian fantasy novel. For the rest of us, it should be unpacked, I suppose.

So much is enfolded therein, including these brand-words that didn’t exist a generation ago. ‘Twas Mrs. Nelson who taught me that I’m not allowed to drop one-liners and walk away. That I must support my points. I’m not a guru on a mountain top or a curandera in the deep jungle, and I ain’t got no koans.

Not to mention, the pressing matter of word count for SEO reasons and actionable content for you, dear reader.

You Already Know I Don’t Dig on Facebook

Not as a private consumer and not as a page owner, page admin, or brand advertiser.

In fact, I used to advise reluctant clients — small and medium businesses or business units within larger enterprises, non-profits, independent consultants and private practitioners, Mom-and-Pop Main Street shops — that they didn’t have to do Facebook if they didn’t really didn’t want to — like flossing or getting an annual physical — no matter how often family and friends told them them that they absolutely should.

2016 is the year that I broke. It was bound to happen. Why push water uphill? I apologized, saying, “I’m so sorry. You have to get Facebook now.

Because It’s Easier to Ride the Horse in the Direction It’s Going

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012. For One Billion Dollars. For a bunch of very good reasons of their own, like gaining the tech for a more visual experience and improved app-ware, plus access to oodles and boodles more consumer information.

I’m not sure if Matt Cutts et al have spoken on it.

I would suspect that social signals coming from any Facebook-owned platform are bigger, louder, more frequent, better placed, and of higher importance in Google’s top-secret ever-evolving search engine algorithm than social signals coming from a Yahoo/Microsoft/Bing venture, like Tumblr, or a private platform, like Pinterest.

It’s just a guess.


A Three-Way Fight for Market Dominance, and Then Some

I am very much reminded of the good ol’ days when the personal computer first became a thing. The competitors in that contest were Bill Gates and Team Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Team Apple, and Michael Dell and his team.

Team Microsoft shows up again in this generation’s triad as Bing/Yahoo/Tumblr. The Apple analogue would have to be Facebook, nee Instagram. And, the lone outsider (Dell) would be Pinterest.

Here’s the twist — they’re all beholden to, and competing with, Google, or Alphabet as the case may be.

It’s bloody fascinating! Not just from the narrow lens of how we each can sell more stuff and make more money, vanishingly important though that may be.

You may now begin using your Morgan Freeman narrator voice

From the higher vantage point of The Human Experience, these social media networks do not represent mere ephemera or idle chatter. They are remarkable indicators and actors in the context of global migratory patterns and historic geopolitical shifts. They have made overwhelmingly explicit our inherent interconnectedness.

Like The Bard said, “The play’s the thing,” and this stage is bigger than any one of us, our personal narratives, or quarterly sales goals.

  • 1,361,512,535 population China (2015)
  • 1,251,695,584 population India (2015)
  • 1,059,000,000 monthly active users Facebook (2016)
  • 1,017,000,000 monthly active searchers Google (2013)

(You may dismiss your Morgan Freeman voice at this time.)

Who runs the world?

It has been said that the office of the President of the United States of America is the Leader of the Free World. After all, POTUS controls the greatest military in the world. (My source: this comprehensive PowerIndex analysis from MilitaryFactory.com. Seems like they would know.)

That’s military might. Might makes right, according to the victors’ histories.

What about a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign?

Who has the most pull then? Who’s got the most juice to know, inform, and influence the imagination, attitude, and behavior of whole peoples? Peoples plural, that is.

Is it Zuckerberg at Facebook? Pichai, the new CEO at Google? POTUS, whoever he or she may be? Or is it Bey?

Is it too precious to cleave to the old ideal that we, the people, wield the power? That we — with our likes, our comments, our shares, chatter, buzz, click and purchase behavior — do so surely inform our leaders, public and private, of what we want, confused and confounded as it were?

That, as Tolkien wrote in the voice of Elrond, Lord of Rivendell, “… such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”

I digress. Let’s slay.

Instagram is fun and almost easy for the marketer to use

In next week’s installment of the never-ending series, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of Instagram. Here’s a preview:

Instagram Pros

  • “Prettiest” of the platforms
  • Higher community standards for content
  • Nigh-on unlimited text character count
  • #MoreFunWithHashtagging
  • Selling from within the post

Instagram Cons

  • Mobile only
  • Related: thumbs hurt
  • Reluctant API integration
  • No hyperlinking in posts: “Link in bio”

Until next time!

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Suzanne Hoenig is a strategist and writer helping small businesses, nonprofits, and private practitioners craft their marketing copy, grow their online and offline community, and navigate the changing tides of social media and digital content marketing.
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