Instagram has come a far, far ways from the photo sharing app we knew it as a decade ago.
Not Your Father's Salesman
Gone are the days when salesmen wearing fresh-pressed suits with slicked-back hair and a name that was probably “Bob,” “Bill,” or “Jimmy” would approach suburban doors, vacuum in hand, ready to deliver their best pitch. This type of marketing was littered with psychological techniques that landed sales left-and-right. The practice of this continued until the whole “it’s totally safe to welcome a stranger into my home” way of thinking went out of fashion.
Presently, Instagram marketing is the in vogue style of selling, and, thankfully, it doesn’t include a man named Jimmy telling you why his vacuum sucks more than the competitors. With Instagram, a seller can use all of the tried-and-true techniques of a door-to-door salesman like appealing to emotions, a 360° reveal, and using their character to land them the sale.
The number of potential customers on Instagram isn't too shabby, either. Of the 130 million Instagram users in the United States, more than half of them log into the app daily. Not only are these users logging into the app, but they’re logging some serious minutes, too. American Instagrammers spend an average of 53 minutes browsing the platform daily. You might not be getting your steps in like our friend Jimmy, but the mileage your reach could get compared to door-to-door sales is unbeatable.
Instagram: How Does She Do It?
So why Instagram? What’s the reason this social media platform trumps the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube when it comes to selling products? We’re glad you asked. It’s simple; Instagram is simple.
Instagram makes itself easy for all users -- consumers and merchants alike -- to digest.
Through its recipe for engagement and ease of use, Instagram is the perfect playground for sellers to reach consumers in a relaxed state. Let’s expand a bit on this below:
Posting on Instagram Isn't Overwhelming
Putting out content is like the story with the three sleepy bears:
- Only a couple ways to shell out content? Too restrictive.
- Seemingly endless ways to shell out content? Too much work.
- A consistent few content template types? Just right.
It can get confusing when there are too many options for posting different types of content in the same space. When a social media user encounters this, they’re likely to move past it as it can get overwhelming. Instagram has done the smart thing and created different spaces for various forms of content (i.e., photos and short videos in the feed, polls and quizzes in the story, and long-form videos on IGTV).
Instagrammers Engage in a Way That Allows for Authentic Reviews
Sharing content between users couldn’t be any easier on Instagram, which can help businesses for many reasons.
The impact of sharing a post from a happy consumer goes above that of a simple product review left on a website or a salesman swearing everyone loves it. In the age of five-star reviews with just a caption that says “it was good I liked it,” or an obvious paid review, consumers crave authenticity. As long consumers tag the respective business in their product review, sellers can share the authentic assessment to their page via their story or their feed for their followers to see.
The Two-Way Street of Authenticity
Unfortunately, the ease of posting an authentic review doesn't only extend to the positive ones. Studies have shown that 46% of users take to social media to post their negative reviews. Don't let that number scare you, though, there's a way to turn this lemon into lemonade.
Instagram's engagement culture allows for a merchant and customer to interact "face-to-face" through their personal messaging feature. By interacting in this way, a consumer will feel as though their opinion and business is valued enough to be contacted directly. This is where you can rectify that negative review.
If a company responds well to a complaint, 45% of those consumers will post about their positive interaction, 37% will buy from the brand again, and 36% will share with their friends offline. While your company can take a hit from a negative review, the engagement culture on Instagram gives your business an opportunity to soften the blow.
Instagram Makes Social Media Marketing Easy
Instagram is broken down in a way that makes the user experience practically effortless. There’s a reason a person can spend nearly an hour on the app every day, and it’s because very little brain power is required to consume during a scroll-a-thon. The most effort users will put into the experience is when they type out a search, comment, or send a message.
For a merchant using Instagram to sell products or promote their business, the ease of operation on the app offers something that a pushy salesman can’t – a feeling of control for the consumer. People don’t like their personal space entered or their time wasted. This allows a user on Instagram to scroll through Instagram and take in ads subconsciously without feeling the weight of listening to a sales pitch out of obligation.
An Insight on Insights
It can’t go without mentioning the user-friendly analytic tools that Instagram has built-in for businesses. This tool allows for a merchant to see exactly how much reach their posts are getting. For being a free tool, Instagram's "View Insights" feature breaks down each post pretty well. Your insights not only show you the obvious things like ‘likes,’ shares and comments, but it’ll also break down the "impressions" made (that being the number of times your post or ad has been viewed).
Final Conclusion: Instagram is Good for Selling Goods
As good as the app is, Instagram isn’t magic, and it probably won’t gain you any new customers just by existing. Of course, there is a strategy behind what makes a good post. Things like when to post and how often to engage with your followers are significant factors, but that’s for another blog.
If used to its full advantage and strategically, Instagram will push your business to new heights.