Start-ups have a hard time making a dent in any industry today because of how prominent the Internet has become – without the connections that the tech industry affords startups in Silicon Valley and similar technological metropoles, good content alone isn’t really cutting it. You need a headstart, a boost. It’s not about controlling your message – it’s about getting people to listen to it in the first place.
Likes and shares, tweets and retweets, followers and subscribers – why are these things important in the business of business? It’s a critical question any business owner – from the mom-and-pop shop down the street to Nestlé itself – needs to be fully aware of. Instagram has become a major focus for marketers everywhere, and that’s both a pro and a con.
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On the pro side, it now means that there is a wealth of free knowledge and information readily available for any business to absorb and utilize. But on the con side, lazy Instagram marketing has become so widespread that users are becoming more critical of the information they consume – as Gary Vaynerchuk put it so eloquently, people are “better at sensing bullsh*t”. The solution? Don’t lie.
Why Is Instagram Important, Again?
Let’s break it down a little. Instagram is important today because of one simple little compound noun: consumer trust. Trust is huge today. Trust, integrity, honesty. People have more power and choice with their buck now than ever – the Internet has opened up the possibility of buying something from anywhere. Cost is still a huge factor over whether or not people buy something, but ultimately, it’s what others think about a product or service that influences whether or not someone will bite and buy.
And Instagram controls the reputations of millions of businesses, because no matter whether or not your business is online, there’s a huge possibility that your customers are. And they’re sharing their experiences. Raving about you – or possible cursing you. Whether it’s one or the other is critical – because people listen to people they know.
But don’t let me babble on without proof – the statistics and surveys are there. Out of all media sources, Instagram has soared more than any other, with an 11 percent gain between this year and the last, versus a 10 percent gain for hybrid and owned media, an 8 percent gain for search engine results, and a 2 percent gain for traditional media. Another metric shows how earned media (that is, publicity gained through free promotion, especially online and through Instagram) has some of the most powerful trust a business could hope for.
Can an Influencer Be Legitimized by “Internet Points”?
While it’s easy to establish that content, especially when written by users and spread through word-of-mouth (i.e. earned media) is powerful, the question is – can the influence that content as publicity generates be legitimized by likes, tweets, and so on? The answer is yes. Buying followers with likes works because simply put, it makes what you say more important. People tend to like things that are already established as popular – there’s a bandwagon effect in that the number of likes and shares something gets tends to attract more likes and shares.