Businesses can turn more clicks into customers by upping their interaction with Instagram users, according to a report from social media management tool Hootsuite.
After analysing 30,000 Instagram users and over 270 venues, the report discovered an Australian hotel, bar, or restaurant is tagged in an Instagram post every 28 seconds. Hootsuite says its analysis also suggests businesses that frequently use Instagram to interact with consumers through post likes or comments could grow their audience tenfold.
If these businesses are active on social media, Hootsuite discovered they were perceived 20% more positively compared to businesses that don’t have a social media presence. Less than half of hospitality and tourism brands in Australia are actively using social media, and from those that do only 55% are engaging with their audience.
Engaging includes liking, sharing hashtags, and commenting on posts made by users, including the 16 million Australians that are active on social media.
“Social media has transformed the way Australians discover, consume and share experiences at hotels, bars, and restaurants,” Ben Mulligan, regional marketing leader for Hootsuite Australia & New Zealand said in a statement on the research.
“With more access to real-time information than ever before, the customer journey has evolved, and organisations need to think ‘digital first’ to meet and capitalise upon the expectations of the connected consumer”.
The report also touches on the role on influencers on social media platforms, and how users with a certain amount of followers can directly influence how often social media users discuss a business.
Rather than heading straight for the users with follower counts in the tens of thousands, the report suggests businesses are better off driving engagement with “hometown hero” micro influencers, those that have between 1000-10,000 followers. Micro influencers can drive approximately 87% of the volume of posts online for Australian bars, hotels and restaurants, those with larger audiences drive only around 61%.
The reasoning behind this, according to Hootsuite, is that micro-influencers “tend to have more localised followings within their community or within a specific audience”.
“These findings imply a strength of major influencers to be in awareness, and for minor influencers in action,” the report states.
“Social is not a ‘set and forget’ media channel, and brands need to be prepared to engage in conversations with potential customers.”
A bar or restaurant that publishes content on Instagram but does not engage with their audience or influencers limits themselves to only 9.5% of their potential audience, Hootsuite says.
For businesses wanting to get established on the photo sharing platform, social media expert and founder of CP Communications Catriona Pollard advises posting strong content with “a balance between posting business related content and social photos and videos”.
“Share images or videos that will interest current and potential customers, showcase your brand and develop a relationship with your community of fans and customers,” Pollard wrote for SmartCompany.
“As with any social media campaign you should reach out and engage with your audience via likes and comments, especially if they mention your product or brand.”