The photo-sharing network has announced new promotional and analytics tools that will help businesses extend their reach.
Even if you only casually dip into Instagram, you can’t help but notice that plenty of businesses have set up virtual shop on the photography social network. What started off as wall-to-wall photos of selfies, animals and dinner plates with dusky filters has evolved into branded photos of selfies, animals and dinner plates with dusky filters.
Seriously, with more than 400 million active users, Instagram is seen as an increasingly valuable social marketing tool, with businesses using beautiful, clever or funny photos to promote their brands and products.
Now the Facebook-owned company is going a step further. As announced on the official Instagram business blog, it is giving businesses three extra tools to help them reach more people. Two of the tools are free, but there’s no doubt Facebook is aiming to generate more revenue from initiative.
First up, there’s the business profile tool, which is free. It allows businesses to add contact details to their page: call, text or email with a one-tap button. It will also let visitors get directions to a physical store, should you have one. Crucially, the free tier also gives business access to the other two tools.
Insights is a free analytics tool that will let businesses learn more about their followers, and dig into which posts work better from within the app. You can use this information to tailor future posts to be more appealing.
The final tool lets businesses ‘promote’ posts into ads for greater exposure on Instagram. You have to pay for the ads, of course, but the tool also allows you add a call-to-action button and select the audience you want to target it at.
Techcrunch notes that you'll need a Facebook page for your business to convert your account.
The good news is that Australian businesses are at the head of queue. Instagram will be rolling out the new tools to US, Australia and New Zealand "in the coming months", followed by the rest of the world by the end of the year.