Instagram is one of the hottest social networks right now.  It’s visual, it’s quick, it’s mobile and it’s pretty simple to use. If you’re running an e-commerce store, you really can’t ignore Instagram. Instagram is an image sharing site, much like a mix between Pinterest and Snapchat. Since it was acquired by Facebook, it has grown to have a massive number of user and is still growing.

  • 700 Million+ people worldwide use Instagram every single month. (150 Million on Pinterest)
  • 400 Million+ people worldwide use Instagram every day.
  • 80 Percent of Instagrammers follow a business on Instagram.

But Instagram can be limiting to a business owner due to the fact that it is a smart phone-only app. You can consume content on your laptop, but you must use your phone to sharing. If you are taking photos with your phone and sharing those photos with your friends, you are using the app exactly as it was intended to be used. But if you want to add text to your images, run them through PhotoShop, and do other types of editing, using Instagram becomes messy at best. One way around this is to edit your photos on your computer, then email them to yourself and save the attachment. Try this instead:

Download and install “BlueStacks” on your computer. BlueStacks is an Android emulator. Once it is running, go to the “Play Store” and install Instagram.

Now you can open and run Instagram on your laptop, and you can post files directly from your computer. Problem solved!

There are several reasons why Instagram is important to your online business. Perhaps the most important is that it is owned by Facebook. When you post something on Instagram, you can have it automatically post to your business Facebook page simultaneously. Here is what you do:

First, make sure you have changed your profile from a personal profile to a business profile.

  • Go to your profile and tap the settings icon.
  • Tap Switch to Business Profile.
  • On the Connect Your Facebook Page screen, you’ll see all of the Facebook Pages you’re currently an admin on. Select the Page you’d like to associate with your Business Profile on Instagram.
  • On the Set Up Your Business Profile page, review your business’s contact information, make any changes and tap Done.

Now, go back to the settings icon and select “Linked Accounts”

Select Facebook.

Choose the page you would like to use for posting your Instagram posts.

A majority of stores that post on Instagram make the mistake of pointing people to their un-targeted homepage. You can (and should) post individual product images and link them to shopping-specific landing pages for that product. The reason why you want to do this is that an astounding 65% of the top performing Instagram posts feature a product. Instagram also has the highest conversion rate from browser to shopper of any social network. The average interaction % on Instagram is up to 10 times higher than on Facebook. Forrester Research found that “a Red Bull video accrued only 2,600 likes from its 43 million Facebook fans, but a whopping 36,000 likes from its mere 1.2 million Instagram followers.” What this shows is that your customers are more likely to respond on Instagram than the other leading social media channels.

This is significant because, since Facebook owns Instagram, when you advertise on Facebook (if you have a linked Instagram account), your ads can also be shown on Instagram. This is one of the important reasons for having a business Instagram account. Here is an example of one of our digital advertising customers whose ad is appearing on Instagram:

So which should you use, Facebook or Instagram? The answer of course, is both. Instagram gives you better engagement, but Facebook provides a much larger reach and better visibility. Instagram will reach a younger audience, but Facebook is better for distributing information. I recommend posting product images on Instagram with links to shopping-specific landing pages, and simultaneously posting those to your Facebook business page. Advertise on Facebook and allow those ads to be shown on Instagram as well. This will give you a balanced approach that can have a big impact on your social marketing.