Social media has been a powerful business platform today, and its influence and impact, whatever the industries are, show no signs of stopping anytime. Instagram is one of the evidence.
Over a billion people are actively using Instagram every month. It is very much different from the other 2 giants – Facebook and Twitter – yet Instagram is unique and well-loved on its own. Since this social networking service is popular among Internet users regardless of generation, sex, race, culture and interest, entrepreneurs have seen that it is greatly advantageous to bring their businesses to their audience through Instagram.
Definitely, numerous brands have reaped tremendous benefits since they opened an Instagram account. They were able to reach more people, to interact with clients and to enhance their customer service.
But without a doubt, there are a bunch of struggles for start-ups, for small brands and even for old businesses with a newly opened Instagram account. Although Instagram is a huge, vast and effective business space, too, there are some factors that restrict brands and make entrepreneurs’ heads ache in some weighty ways.
To know more, here are 7 challenges of using Instagram for online businesses.
1 – NOT EVERYONE HAS AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.
Facebook is the most used and most prominent social media platform throughout the whole world. Without proper researching, you can see why; its features are totally everything everyone needs online today. From text, photos and videos to games, communities and marketplaces, Facebook does not fall short.
On the other hand, Instagram is ranked somewhere below Facebook, not because it is not fun or not as multipurpose as the mentioned popular social networking website, but because not everyone has an IG account! This is the first obstacle for businesses who want to use Instagram for their operations.
There may be over a billion Instagram users in the globe, but that’s not “everyone” – not even almost there. The biggest percentage of them come from the Gen Z (ages 18-24). Many people who are part of previous generations also have Instagram but the rate is not very high. And you can also assume that a lot of individuals from the total count of IG users worldwide are not very active.
One of the main reasons why not everybody is on Instagram is the effort “required” in maintaining it, keeping a nice feed, uploading heartable photos and gaining a lot of followers. While it really must not pressure users, many people don’t seem to find the essence of creating an IG account if they don’t have amazing photos to present and if they don’t have a hundred or thousand followers. It’s quite sad because that’s how ‘society’ makes it look like when it must not be like that.
This is a problem businesses face if their target audiences are not present or not active on Instagram. They won’t be able to reach them as they desire if that’s the case.
2 – ALL POSTS ARE ONLY VISUAL CONTENT – PHOTOS AND VIDEOS.
The chiefest thing that distinguishes Instagram among all the other social media platforms out there is itself being a ‘photo sharing’ space. There are videos as well, but even from its earliest days, Instagram is in demand as a digital sphere where attention-grabbing and much-loved photographs are publicized.
This is Instagram’s main feature and distinct characteristic. It’s cool, but for businesses, it’s a challenge. Why? All posts are only visual content. They cannot simply post an announcement as a text or as a status like on Facebook or as a tweet like on Twitter. They have to create posters or shoot images to convey whatever message they have for customers. It’s fun but time-consuming and big-effort-demanding.
Because photos (and videos) are the only content IG accepts, brands have to step up their content postings in order to catch people’s busy and occupied attention. This may not be an enormous problem for business owners who love photography and whose industries are focused on art and the like, but for those whose businesses are not very close to these, it’s taxing.
Some brands even hire professional photographers and videographers for product and model photoshoots. Others contact graphic artists, photo editors and video creators too. On the other hand, for DIY visual posts, business owners still put loads of effort in their own mini shoots and photo editing using their personal applications. It’s more practical yet still very time-consuming without a doubt.
3 – SHOWING OF POSTS ON OTHERS’ FEEDS HAS A TIME LIMIT. UPDATING IS A MUST.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t allow users to “Up!” posts. There’s a time limit of showing posts on other people’s Instagram timelines.
For example, you are a business owner who has an IG page, and you posted a promo announcement today. It’s possible that this single post appears in a single follower’s timeline even after 3 days from your posting date. It means that though this particular follower did not visit Instagram on the day you posted your announcement, he or she can still see it even after a few days. It’s a benefit, yet this is limited because it’s possible that it will no longer be on his or her feed after a week and so (and that still excludes the effect of the number of accounts that this person follows). Your post can be searchable through hashtags, but that’s a different topic.
That means you have to post content again and again. It does not have to be daily, but you can’t leave your IG account stagnant if you want to keep followers updated. Refreshing Instagram business posts regularly is a must or else, your account will appear inactive to visitors, and audiences will not be informed about your current updates. You will always have to upload something, regardless if it’s a story or an actual post, so that people will know that they can reach you and you can respond immediately because you are active.
4 – THE FOLLOW BUTTON IS NOT SO EASY TO CLICK FOR MOST PEOPLE.
It’s a bit saddening for many businesses, but many people use Instagram to just stroll and scroll; they are not there to shop and buy anything.
The follow button is not so easy to click for most people using IG, especially if the account they are thinking of following is an online store. It’s not a priority to know what Instagram shops are up to. Many of them hate products being sold bombarding their IG feeds. They are more interested in following celebrities, fan blogs and art accounts.
This is a sizable challenge for brands because, of course, they need loyal followers.
5 – IT CAN BE MOST EFFICIENTLY ACCESSED THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES.
If your business uses computers and laptops inevitably all the time or most of the time, Instagram may not be the best platform for you. Why? Instagram can be most efficiently accessed through mobile devices. Personal computers are not very ideal.
Actually not everyone knows that computers can be used to upload photos and videos as well. It’s honestly shocking. But nonetheless, it’s more complicated compared to just using mobile gadgets like smart phones and tablets.
6 – LINKS CANNOT BE CLICKED.
One of the things that make Instagram not very business-friendly is the links being unclickable. Businesses can post a URL of their website or other social media pages, but followers must copy and paste it into their browsers to go to wherever the link takes them. Most of the time, patrons or prospect customers have to manually type the URL too.
Because this obviously demands some effort, many people don’t try anymore. They’re too lazy to do so, or they’re not very interested to do so. This, again, is a heartache for businesses on IG.
7 – CYBER ATTACKS ARE POSSIBLE.
As you know or don’t know, as long as you have an online account, you are a candidate for being a victim of cyber attacks. This is also possible if you are using Instagram for business and are doing well because many attackers zero in businesses who seem to be earning greatly online.
You might have heard some past reports of IG businesses that experienced getting locked out of their accounts and getting hacked. Their online transactions with customers are invaded, and customer and company data are stolen. This is what happens when an enterprise is attacked online.
This is a grave setback for businesses who end up getting victimized because they are forced to pause operations or even to shut down. They face a lot of issues in terms of customers’ privacy and confidentiality as well. So if your brand is on IG, you have to be prepared and equipped against the unwanted possibilities of these cyber attacks.
Make sure that your passwords are strong and that you do not give out crucial business details to others which might allow them to access your Instagram account. In the worst case scenario, if you become a victim of cyber attacks in your IG business account, you will be thankful to own the particular business insurance types that will aid you to recover and cover expenses caused by online assaults. Cyber insurance will be your tough weapon!
Protecting your Instagram business account is shielding your business and the people who rely on your services! Do your best to keep it a promise.
Big and famous brands may not be able to completely relate to these challenges because they are already established and renowned even before they came to Instagram, but they are also not exempted to experience these hardships even for once or for a while.
Instagram is surely one of the leading online platforms that business owners take advantage of in the present time, and in the future, it can be expected that it will still be. Definitely, this social media networking website or application is no longer just an area of sharing personal life, striking images and daily stories but also an avenue to make online businesses grow and succeed.
If you are planning to open an IG business account soon, do not hesitate to do so because the benefits are awesome! Just do not forget that the above-mentioned challenges are present, so you must aim to double (or even triple) your efforts to overcome them. With Instagram’s prowess and your wise strategies combined, your online business can thrive!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host and a voice over artist. She finds quality and well-researched writing as a worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. For her, it’s restoring and fulfilling to the heart and a great way to clear the mind while loading it up with fresh learning. Film critiquing and filmmaking are among her interests too. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.