The original intent had been to cover in one article the why and how of Instagram however, this would prove unwieldy and lengthy. Therefore, for ease of reading, conciseness, and in acceptance of most having limited time resources, the topic is split into two parts. This one will deal with why authors in particular should consider utilising Instagram. An overview of and some practicalities in how to use Instagram are covered in Instagram for Authors – Part 2: How to Use.
Note: Various relevant and related articles are linked to from within the text below. However, for those who prefer to read through uninterrupted, a complete linked list is provided at the end.
In effect this is a partial update to the previous article Instagram and Authors. As stated above, the rest of the update is contained in the second part of this two part series. To avoid readers having to switch back and forth, some of the information contained in the original article is repeated in whole or part or in revised format.
As usual for this website, the topic is discussed from the viewpoint of an author, though others will no doubt find some of the content helpful.
Authors, especially the independent (indie), consistently, and necessarily, search for ways to get news of their publications to readers in the wider world. Paid publicity campaigns are obviously a desirable however, most indie authors do not have the necessary resources. They are therefor left with little option but to consider social media, alongside the website and blog they are recommended to have. The question then arises of which social media to utilise. A vast, and sometimes confusing, choice now exists. Recommendation is for authors to trial each they think may be appropriate to their needs, goals, and purposes. Once they discover which work best for them, advice is to concentrate on those, though they may still hold accounts with the others into which to dip now and then. Further consideration on that is not relevant to this article which will now concentrate upon Instagram.
Society, as the majority will acknowledge, is far more image orientated than ever. Increasingly, studies indicate any social media post, or other online communication, without an image attached is less likely to gain attention than those with one. It therefore makes sense for authors to add a photography or image orientated sharing site to their arsenal of publicity and marketing resources. Undoubtedly, Pinterest, as one of the longstanding popular sites, will leap to mind for many. It is certainly one many authors utilise but it is not the only one available. An alternative, or addition, is Instagram. Surprisingly, considering its increasing popularity, it is not one that immediately comes to mind for many authors. Even when it does, many are unsure of how to utilise it. That will be the subject of the second article already referred to above.
Caveat: Accuracy of the statistics, where shared in the following discourses, which have been gleaned from a variety of available reports and studies cannot be completely guaranteed by the writer. Nevertheless, they do provide a general guide and the writer has no reason to doubt them.
So far Instagram has been referred to as a photograph and image sharing site implying all posts are static. However, the site also supports the sharing of short videos: a medium that is becoming increasingly popular on all social media. Nevertheless, static images make up most of the content shared.
The facility is designed for mobile device usage e.g. smartphones and tablets. Accounts may be managed from a computer but all sharing has to be actioned through the mobile device. This, especially where mobile technology is not to the forefront of the user’s mind, can be an issue but for the majority of the younger generation it presents little challenge.
Instagram is rated as either sixth or fifth most popular social media site which, considering the plethora of social media now available, is respectable and worth noting.
Current estimates suggest, as at the time of writing, there are 1.74 billion instagram users. A vast increase from the eight hundred thousand of four years ago. It is also estimated there are 500 million active daily users.
There is also suggestion of better engagement on Instagram than Facebook and Twitter combined.
This section deals with the general demographics for Instagram, such as age and gender. The following breakdown reflects daily use:
|Age Range||Daily Female User Percentage||Daily Male User Percentage|
|13 – 17||3.7%||3.6%|
|18 – 24||14.5%||15.3%|
|25 – 34||16.1%||16.9%|
|35 – 44||8.9%||7.1%|
|45 – 54||4.7%||3.4%|
|55 – 64||2.3%||1.5%|
|65 – Plus||1.2%||0.8%|
The above is just one estimate but is felt to provide a reasonable overview.
Overall gender breakdown is gauged at: 57% Female and 43% Male. In previous years it was calculated at sixty-eight female and thirty-two male. Interesting to see how male usage has increased.
Another report, that does not break down by gender, suggests the following percentages by age range for daily users:
|Age Range||Percentage of Daily Users per Age Range|
|18 – 24||67%|
|25 – 34||60%|
|35 – 44||49%|
|45 – 54||43%|
|55 – Plus||31%|
Apparently many now use the site to discover or research new products and services. Estimates range between 60 – 81%. Calculations also suggest half of those then visit the appropriate website to make a purchase.
It is reckoned one percent of Instagram users do NOT use any other social media.
Apparently sixty-three percent check there account at least once a day with the average time spent on the site at twenty-nine minutes per day.
Instagram is generally seen as a site for younger users (indications are that 71% of the over one billion users are under thirty-five) however, as the above statistics indicate, an increasing number of those defined as middle aged (suggested as 45 – 65) are now also present though clearly not to the same extent. Consequently, those who aim to engage with the more mature are recommended not to write the site off.
Considering the overall volume of users and the number of those who are active on the site each day, Instagram is certainly one social media authors should at least examine.
Those authors looking to engage with more mature readers should not write the site off despite the popular notion of it being predominately for the younger audience. Of course, those who write for the middle younger age group should seriously consider utilising the site, if they are not already.
Disclaimer: Other than being a general user, neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson have any affiliation with Instagram. Nor do either receive any renumeration for referring to the site.