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Shawn Nesaw

Actionable “insights” for business – thanks to Instagram

Shawn Nesaw | August 10, 2016

Last month Instagram began offering users the option of switching to a business profile. Doing so provides profiles access to Instagram’s much-anticipated analytics features. Called Insights, these provide a slew of demographic data about followers, and the overall impressions and reach of posts. It’s a great opportunity for businesses to finally wrap their heads around how their Instagram content is performing and the ways they could potentially improve that performance.

We’ve long known that Instagram provides significantly higher engagement rates than other social media platforms. For instance, an analysis of the accounts of the top 50 global brands conducted by Forrester Research in 2015 showed that Instagram delivers over 10 times the engagement of Facebook and over 80 times that of Twitter. Up until now, however, determining who is engaging with our content, when they are most likely to engage with it and what types of content are most appealing to them was difficult. Insights can now answer all those questions for us or, at the very least, go a long way toward helping us figure out the answers ourselves.

Instagram Insights
Here’s a peek at Insights

For starters, Insights will give you graphs breaking down your followers by age, gender and location, the latter of which is a big help in figuring out what time zone you should be basing your posting schedule on. Even more helpful in this respect, however, are graphs that show when your followers are most active, broken down both by day of the week and hour of the day. Now, for instance, you can see your followers are most active on Tuesdays and Thursdays and between the hours of 1-3 p.m.

Insights also provides a selection of your top performing posts, ranked either by reach or engagement. What is particularly useful about this information is the way it’s presented, not in list form, but as a gallery. Presented in this way, it becomes much easier to tease out the common factors contributing to the high performing posts’ success. You might notice all your top posts are images of people. Or maybe you notice they all contain bright blues and greens. Now you can take action and start developing your content so your posts feature more people or specific colors or other characteristics you notice are driving reach and engagement.

Switching to a business profile is easy and can be accomplished from your phone in just a few minutes. Your posts aren’t lost in the process (you’re not starting a new account) and, in fact, you get an additional benefit beyond access to Insights – your business profile will contain a “contact” button that allows followers to easily connect with you via phone or email and even get map directions to your place of business. For brick and mortar businesses, such as restaurants or retail stores, this could certainly help drive sales.

So, while Insights does contain a few odd flaws – for instance, the reach and engagement graphs lack hard numbers, providing only relative data – the benefits are too significant to ignore. Any business wishing to truly maximize their Instagram efforts should definitely make the switch to a business profile. And if, for some reason you decide you don’t like the business profile, switching back is as easy as the initial switch.

A. Bright Idea specializes in strategic social media planning to ensure our clients brand and key messages stay top of mind for their audiences. If your business needs help transferring Insights data into meaningful, strategic next steps, A. Bright Idea is always here to help.

If you have something to add to this story, share it in the comment section below!

ABI_headshot_Seth

Seth covers technology, social media, and strategic communication. Seth is a collaborative strategic communications professional with a breadth of experience in journalism, government affairs, public relations and event planning, Seth manages client communication projects for A. Bright Idea’s West Coast office

Tweet at Seth:  @SethDonlin

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