Marketers Need to Take Instagram Seriously as a Digital Marketing Tool

Instagram makes a great digital marketing tool

Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks around, so be sure to take advantage of everything it has to offer your brand as a tool for smart digital marketing. How often do you see someone pull out their phone and start taking pictures?

Now that just about everyone has a smartphone (market penetration is at an all-time high in the U.S. at 79.3%), they also now always have a high-quality digital camera on them. As a result, some experts predict that well over a trillion pictures will be taken this year, about 80% of which will come from smartphone cameras.

All those photos need a place to go — no one wants their snapshots to just sit on their phone, forever unshared. That’s just part of the reason why Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks in the world. According to Instagram’s own numbers, its network lays claim to over 300 million active user accounts and 40 billion photos, with an average of 80 million photos given 3.5 billion likes every day. But perhaps the most telling the statistic is that a whopping 53% of all U.S. adults in the 18-to-29-year-old demographic (AKA Millennials) report using the platform daily. So why don’t we think of Instagram as a digital marketing tool as often as we should?


Get Engaged

Audience engagement on Instagram is much higher than on other networks: posts on Instagram boast a 4.21% per-follower engagement rate, compared to .07% for Facebook posts and .03% for Tweets. Given those numbers, marketers should be salivating over the potential influence and reach the network could bring to their brands.


But in 2015, only 32% of companies with 100 or more employees had any sort of marketing presence on Instagram. Naturally, marketers everywhere are looking to quickly rectify that and use it as a digital marketing tool. 48% of those companies said they plan to enter the space this year, and a whopping 70% plan to get involved by 2017. That latter figure will push Instagram ahead of Twitter in terms of corporate involvement, a massive shift in the world of social media marketing.

Put it all together, and it’s clear that if you still haven’t integrated Instagram into your digital marketing program, you’re sure to get left behind. Here are some of the best ways to get in the game.


Clean, Crisp, Square Photos

Use this digital marketing tool wisely. No one wants to share a blurry picture online — and that should go double for your visual marketing content. Only use your best pictures, opting for the “square” lens setting if you’re taking the photo with a smartphone camera. It doesn’t hurt to have a happy, smiling person in the photo, either — photos with a person’s face in them get an average of 38% more likes than those without. And if you’re planning to share your photos on other networks, it’s important to know the best image size for each platform. 



#Winning Hashtags

Hashtags are absolutely essential for discovery purposes on Instagram. Using the right hashtags not only helps categorize your posts for your desired target audience — you can also capitalize on trending topics and instantly draw eyeballs to your brand.


Marketers Need to Take Instagram Seriously as a Digital Marketing Tool
Photo by karl_kirt/IG

Link Magic

Instagram posts will grab your audience’s attention, but your embedded profile link to your brand’s website will be where the truly valuable engagement takes place. Use your bio link to send interested viewers to the best parts of your web presence, and track your engagement numbers with a shortened link.


Make Instagram Work for You

One of the best aspects of social media isn’t just that it’s a digital marketing tool. It also has model of wide-open engagement — you can interact with just about anyone once you’re there. Things don’t just stop after you create original posts. You can simultaneously curate content produced by your existing audience to bring in more followers.

With Scopio, you don’t have to give credit to the original profile. In other words, you’re not legally obligated to mention the account in your caption. Use your bio to inform users on how to share photos your brand might repost in the future. Scopio treats people as freelance photographers.


You Can Be Creative, Too

The beauty of Instagram is that you can repurpose the images your audience generates. Feel free to use them in other aspects of your marketing program.

By searching for hashtags that are most relevant to your campaign, you can find the perfect image quickly. All you have to do from there is reach out to the original poster. They’re the key to license the photo for you own use. 

But this process can be difficult to parse out legally. And if you’re collecting images for a brand rather than for journalism, it’s especially tricky. “When you open a magazine, you know what’s an ad and what’s an article,” says Nancy Wolff, expert in copyright and digital media law. “When you have a [social media] page for a brand, the legal precedence gets a little gray because you don’t know what part of the page is meant to give you news, and what’s trying to promote your brand.”


A Better Solution

Consider using the services of Scopio to make this process smooth and simple. You’ll soon have perfect images for any type of campaign. Scopio makes it easy to search through the millions of photos on Instagram.

It helps find the right type of licensing for them, no matter what you’re advertising. 

Also, if you know how to use it, Instagram doesn’t have to be just a digital marketing tool. It should be integral to your marketing strategy across the board. The key is to engage with and credit your audience. We promise they’ll return the favor.

Scopio is the industry’s premier search and licensing platform for images and videos on social media. We help companies find and use the photos and videos that matter to their audience, from capturing content to evaluating the analytics on campaigns. Wondering how you can leverage UGC to help you tout your brand? Request a demo with the button below or email

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