In case you’ve been living under a rock (or sitting in the backroom of your brick-and-mortar store, waiting and wondering why you have no customers) for the past 10 years, I’d like to take a moment to welcome you to the 21st century! The age of information and technology!

If your business has survived without any investment in social media, and more specifically without Instagram as a marketing tool, then I congratulate you. But it’s time to get with the program and help evolve your business from surviving to thriving.

Expedited by the 2020 pandemic, we humans continue to move deeper into the digital world. You can be sure that your customer base lives on Instagram, which means that’s where they do their shopping, too. If your business has any chance of flourishing throughout the next 10 years, Instagram as a marketing tool will be vital for you to leverage.

In this article I will introduce you to some of the key ways that Instagram benefits businesses in 2021.

Why Should Businesses Use Instagram?

Why use Instagram for business, you ask. Isn’t Instagram simply a photo-sharing app?

Yes, Instagram was initially launched back in 2010 as a photo-sharing app, but it has evolved into so much more ever since. A loyal and fierce user base, over 1 billion strong, now use Instagram not only to share photos of their recent vacation to Mykonos, but also to research products and services, share them with friends for their opinions, and eventually, if you’re lucky, purchase them.

In 2021, it cannot be overstated how important Instagram is to businesses and consumers alike. Of the roughly 1 billion users of Instagram, 50% percent of them follow at least one business, and 80% use Instagram as a tool to research and evaluate whether or not to buy a particular product.

Instagram is the new age billboard, word-of-mouth conversation with a trusted friend, magazine, storefront, small-talk with the girl behind the counter, and cash register all rolled up into one digital experience.

Maybe most importantly – young people swear by Instagram. Any business owner worth their salt knows this is important because in order to build and scale engagement, reputation, your brand, and ultimately revenue, you must grow with, and be respected by, the young market.

And, for the most part, businesses in the US understand this. As of 2018, a study found that just over 70% of all businesses in the US use Instagram for business purposes

Furthering my earlier point about our continuation into the digital world – Instagram continues to grow at a staggering rate. In 2020, 73.5 million new users signed up for an account with the social media giant, marking their biggest ever annual increase in users at roughly 23%

year-over-year growth.

For better or worse, it cannot be argued that more and more people are using Instagram every single day. It should no longer come as a surprise that consumerism has gone digital, and your target market can be found and marketed to using one of, if not the, most popular social media sites in the world, Instagram.

Ok – so you’re convinced that you need Instagram for your business. The next question is, how can I leverage Instagram to connect with potential customers and grow my business? Great question – let’s tackle it below.

How Can Businesses Leverage Instagram?

Grow Your Audience

Over the years, Instagram has unveiled a variety of features to help businesses grow their reach to their target audience.

Tag Other Accounts

The ability to tag other business accounts, potential and current customers, and influencers, for example, helps get your product or service in front of a much wider audience than just your following.

You can tag other accounts on the photos in your feed, or on your stories, and that gives those tagged accounts the option of reposting that post on their account.

By tagging other accounts you can collaborate with other accounts that have similar values to your brand and are like-minded so that you can continue to build your brand and reach a larger audience.

Location Tagging

You use the ability to tag your location on your stories posts to make it easier for your target market to find your business.

Users can search by location and discover businesses, products, and services that are being promoted locally and globally. No matter where you are in the world, or where your potential customers are, you can make your brand even more visible and approachable with location tagging.

Drive Traffic to Your Website

There are many tricks to increase your website traffic with social media. A recent addition to the arsenal of business tools at your disposal with Instagram is the ability of funneling your followers to your website, directly from your Instagram stories and posts.

This new feature comes on the heels of a Facebook study which showed that 33% of users were more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram stories.

You can tag your products with the shopping bag-shaped icon which allows users to shop that item on your site. It’s intuitive and accessible, and modern buyers will grow increasingly frustrated with your brand if you don’t offer this as a service.

You can also avail of the “swipe up” feature which allows you to capitalize on the attention that you’ve garnered with your creative and captivating Instagram story, and direct people to your website, blog, landing pages, and more.

Anyone who knows anything about marketing and sales will tell you that it’s important to create a seamless journey for your buyer, from learning about your product to buying it – and this feature does just that.

Potential buyers can educate themselves about your brand by digging through your business profile feed, seeing what’s available in real-time via your story, and going directly to your website to buy. The process is simple for your customers, assuming you’ve done the work by telling the story of your brand and providing them with the accompanying product at an appropriate price.

What Other Ways Can Instagram Help Businesses?

We’ve only just scratched the surface on how Instagram can help you build your brand in 2021.

Instagram offers solid analytics and engagement metrics that allow you to better understand your customer base, and you can engage with customers via polls and Ask Me Anythings (AMAs). The list goes on.

If you can take anything away from reading this, it’s that the digital world is an important place to be for business owners in 2021, and Instagram is the best way for you to get there. They’ve made it easy for you to grow and engage with your audience, you simply have to do it!