#WeBuildWednesdays Episode 33: Should You Be on Instagram? (2019)


Social Media Tips from an Expert

Norris: What’s going on, guys? Happy Wednesday!

It’s Mike Norris, coming at you with a new episode. I got Cedric here as well.

Cedric: Nice to meet ya.

Norris: Cedric is one of our Senior Paid Media Specialists at Youtech. He is also the best Instagram professional I’ve met in my entire life.

Cedric: Thank you.

Norris: That is why I’ve asked him to be here today.

Cedric: Cheers!

Norris: Walk everyone through a bit of your Instagram experience, before we get started.

From Zero to Three Million Followers

Cedric: I’ve been using Instagram for a long while, ever since it came onto the scene a couple years ago. I was heavily into Facebook and anything social, but as soon as Instagram came along, it was a visual platform, so jumping on top of it was one of the best things I’ve done for my personal brand.

I garnered up quite a large following on Instagram, with an art sharing page. I kind of understood the algorithms with Instagram, how it works, and the best times to post. There’s so many white papers that tell you the best times to post, and types of content you should use. But physically being in the platform and engaging with it every day is the only way to understand social, and most importantly, how other users interact with your brand on social media.

Norris: And tell them about your three million followers.

You should have led with that.  

Cedric: I have a small psychic. I’ve been running this Instagram page called arts.hub for about 3-4 years now.

I started off with zero followers and decided to grow a personal brand— made a logo for myself. The premise of this page is to share other artist’s work. The reason I wanted to jump on the Instagram platform in the first place was to boost my personal brand with my own drawings.

I’m an avid artist. I like to draw in my free time. However, with my own personal art page, I wasn’t getting the reach and exposure that I have gotten on my art sharing page. A lot of times, it’s hard to reach out to big social media art sharing pages to boost your own brand.

So I thought, Hey, I’m going to make my own.

I created the name arts.hub; I’m glad the user name wasn’t taken, because finding user names is pretty tough nowadays with Instagram being a saturated platform. But, I managed to find arts.hub.

Beginning with zero followers, I started sharing other people’s artwork, putting them on a pedestal, adding a few hashtags, saying, “Check out this beautiful painting by so-and-so”.

It spiraled from there. Back then, 2-3 years ago (I know this doesn’t sound too long ago), I was one of the most dominant art pages, and I only had five thousand followers. Then it grew to ten thousand the next week, and it picked up from there. Now I’m sitting just shy of three million followers.

Norris: That’s absolutely unreal.

Well, you can see why I brought him in to talk today. I’ve never grown a page to three million followers, but this guy has, so he’s our in-house expert. One of the things we’ve been talking about—if you’ve been following along with some of the videos—is should you be on Facebook, should you be on Twitter, should you be on LinkedIn? We’ve been covering them all, and obviously, today’s question is should you be on Instagram?

Cedric, what do you think?

Should You Be on Instagram?

Cedric: That’s a good question. There’s no definitive answer. There’s no “yes” or “no”. It’s basically down to what your brand is, and whether or not you feel that your user base is on Instagram.

As I mentioned, you have to realize your user base. Who are the people following your brand and what do you have to offer any users?

Instagram is the best for visual branding. If you have quality pictures with the right captions, then by all means, Instagram is for you. If you’re the type of brand that doesn’t have appealing images to use, then Instagram would not be for you. There are loads of other social media channels that will benefit your message to the users.

With Instagram being so visual, you need to have eye-catching imagery and content. That is why it’s fantastic for e-commerce because it’s an opportunity to show your brand. It’s not just taking still pictures of your clothing or whatever you sell, but actually wearing it too. Pictures with an individual or a person are a lot more engaging than still photos of items or objects.

Norris: One thing I always do is buy from Instagram ads. It’s a bad habit of mine. I’ll see some products coming along—

Cedric: We all get caught.

Norris:—yeah! I think Instagram’s great for products. If you’re selling a product and can put high-quality photos or videos up there, you’re gonna do well.

But, when it comes to services, that’s where I start to say okay, maybe not. Maybe it’s not for everyone. Maybe some services and not others.

What’s your take on that?

Instagram Isn’t for Everyone

Cedric: I completely agree with you.

As I mentioned earlier, Instagram isn’t for everyone. We’ve touched on the e-commerce side of things, where it’s very easy to get an e-commerce following, because you have something to offer of monetary value to users.

Depending on the services and any industries that you own, you may not have enough engaging content to offer a user. I understand that Sprout Social Powers, typically this year, says that 80 percent of accounts are being followed by business accounts.That goes to show that there are a lot of businesses on social media, however, the majority of them are the right type of business.

If you have a service that caters to an older generation, Instagram may not be for you. Another interesting percentage is that there are 64 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 on Instagram. That goes to show you the demographic.

If you have a type of service that caters to Millennials, then by all means, go for Instagram. There are many new product features within the app itself. You have IGTV that’s rolled out last year. You have just a normal story post. There are so many different ways to be creative visually, but those assets will only cater to a younger audience.

It can even be company culture you showcase on your Instagram. It doesn’t necessarily have to be product service, or you informing that, “Hey, we have this sale going on,” or “We have this new event in the next coming days.” It can literally be company culture.

If you feel like you may not have the audience, you can easily build it, and that’s the power of social media. You can literally start from zero followers like I did with my own page. I’m not necessarily saying you’re gonna end up with three million followers, but you may manage to get a large enough audience by having visually engaging content.

Like Everything, Instagram Has Its Downside

Norris: Sure. We’ve talked mainly about organic growth. I’ve mentioned the ads, and I’ll bring it up again. Instagram is owned by Facebook. So, a lot of the ad targeting can be used based on people’s Facebook accounts as well as their Instagram accounts. It’s a pretty good platform. You can get a bang for your buck on it.

I don’t know if you’ve got some comments on that as well.

Cedric: Yeah. A downside to the targeting audience on Instagram, I still feel that Facebook is the go-to when it comes getting that paid traffic—

Norris: I agree.

Cedric: —when reaching a wider audience. The targeting capabilities and features within Instagram are very limited. You don’t get as much reach or impressions, and you’re not able to select the type of targeting or demographics you want to go for.

That’s where Facebook prevails.

They have amazing business managers, amazing software that allows you to dissect who you want to show your ads to. They introduce Facebook pixels, being able to retarget to people that have been on your website. There are so many different targeting capabilities within Facebook, but Instagram just isn’t there.

Norris: Cool. Hopefully we answered your questions on if you should be on Instagram or not.

It’s a complicated question, but I think we can both agree if you’re selling products, and you’ve got photos of them, get on Instagram.

Thank you! Happy Wednesday, everyone. We’ll talk to you later.

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