What is Instagram?
Instagram is not only a mobile application, but also a powerful social media channel that allows users to share photos and videos with their followers within the app and on other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Instagram became very popular in a short time because it lets people edit their photos (and since June 2013 also videos) in just a few clicks and makes them look like they were edited professionally.
When Instagram was launched in 2010, there was nothing like it. A photo sharing app with a very simple interface and great editing features such as filters, a tilt shift effect, and many other editing possibilities. Basically, you can take any photo and turn it into something spectacular.
But the main factors of Instagram’s success are hidden behind its own name. Instagram is a combination of the words “Instant” and “Telegram”. As described on the Instagram’s website, the founders came up with the name since they loved the old school cameras that created instant pictures and they also loved how those instant pictures were sort of a telegram that captured a special moment. And this is what makes Instagram so successful; it provides an instant and unique way to share a special moment with others.
Similar to most social media channels, Instagram users have a profile and a news feed. And since 2016, Instagram’s users have had a new feature called Stories. As admitted by Instagram's own creators, this feature is their way to compete with the Snapchat and now Facebook Messenger functionalities.
How can monitoring Instagram be beneficial for your business and marketing efforts?
The Importance of Visual Content
If you share a message with your audience but no one remembers it, it is almost like it didn’t happen. Communicating is pointless if it is not retained by your target audience. Studies show that when people receive a new piece of information with visual content, they will not only remember it for a longer period of time, but also much more of that information will be retained. That is why it's not a surprise that for marketers, visual marketing is one of the most important forms of content for their business.
Instagram is all about sharing visual content, users spend hours seeking to share and look for only the best photos and videos.The power of such a strong visual platform like Instagram has emphasized the need for businesses to think how they want to engage visually with their audience on social media channels. Visual content is a great opportunity for brands to show their human side and connect with customers.
The Power of Hashtags
Thanks to hashtag culture, people are able to quickly search for content that they are actually interested in within Instagram. Users focus their attention on the subjects that really matter to them, which leads to a much higher engagement rate than other social media channels.
Hashtags help users to directly interact with your business and they make your brand and brand advocates more easily discovered; which results in higher social media traffic. They are basically another organic source for your content. But most importantly, hashtags are the main source of user engagement.
Instagram’s High User Engagement Rate
Customer engagement has become extremely important within social media channels. With Instagram reaching over 500 million active users per monthand 300 million of them using the app everyday, it is quite obvious that if you are not sharing insights of your business, brand or product with Instagram’s users, you are clearly missing out on a big crowd of potential customers. But is not only about the massive number of users in Instagram, but also about the high engagement those users have.
Instagram has become one of the easiest social media channels to grow an engaged audience on and has higher engagement rates than other channels. Twitter, for example, which is another hashtag related channel, has an engagement rate of 1-2%, while Instagram doubles that number with their 3-6%. The combination of eye-catching visual content and smartly chosen hashtags create that great response and engagement most Instagram's followers have.
How Can I Monitor Instagram Activity?
You can monitor Instagram activity in two ways. You can either use Instagram Insights to monitor your Instagram account or use a social media monitoring tool to track all the available information shared on Instagram that relates to your brand or product.
Instagram Insights is a business tool that provides you with insights on who is following you or your brand, when these followers are online and what content they are most interested in. You can also monitor how a specific post or story is performing. This data will help adapt your content to be more relevant to your followers.
In order to have access to Instagram Insights, you need to have an Instagram business profile first. Also, since this feature is gradually rolling out, it may not be available for your account right now. You can find instructions on how to change your Instagram profile to a business one.
The main information you can expect to see on Instagram Insights is:
- Followers demographics: You will be able to know the age, gender and location of your followers and also how many times your followers access Instagram per day
- Post analytics: You will know how many times your post or story was seen, liked or commented and how many unique accounts checked your post
Source: Instagram Insights
Monitor Instagram Activity Using a Social Media Monitoring Tool
You can monitor social media channels with social media management software. This will allow you to track the engagement of users across different social communication channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. With the Social Media Monitoring tool of Unamo, you can monitor your brand, manage your reputation, keep track of your competitors and work on gaining new clients. If you want to learn more about Unamo's Social Media Monitoring tool, you can take a look at the features and sign up for a trial here. If you want to learn more about social media monitoring, you should take a look on our article Overview of monitoring across different channels (LINK).