Even if you only casually dip into Instagram, like me, 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.
But now the Facebook-owned company is going a step further, and giving businesses extra toys to play with in order to help them reach more people, with the nice side effect of giving Facebook some more revenue from brands paying for more. They’ve published full details in a blog post here.
First up, there are dedicated business profiles. This is free, and allows businesses to add contact details to their page: call, text or email with a one-tap button. It’ll also let visitors get directions to a physical store, should you have one. Crucially, the free tier also gives business access to ‘Insights’ (analytics) and ‘Promotion’ (pay for ads).
The analytics will let users learn about their followers, and dig into which posts work better from within the app. The idea is that you can then tailor future posts to be more appealing. Promoting a post lets you boost a photo you’ve already taken, add a call-to-action button, and then select the audience you want to target it at.
Before you try to defraud Instagram, pretending to be a business in order to gain access to the features, you should know there’s a certain bar to entry. you’ll need a Facebook page for your business to convert your account.
You might find that in the long run, these filter down to users anyway. Instagram will be testing Insights with verified accounts as well as users with large numbers of fans, and will consider pushing them out to everybody.
Personally I don’t really need to know that my photography is seen by a number of people you could count on a single hand, but it’d be nice to have it confirmed anyway.