Can an Instagram Account Completely Substitute a Website for Retail Businesses? Pros and Cons

Instagram Account Completely

There are different ways to reach a larger audience and grow your retail business. You can own a business website and Instagram to build your online presence. If you opt for Instagram, you need a significant number of active followers because followers count helps to make your content reach a larger audience and provide credibility and social proof to potential consumers. Nevertheless, can you choose an Instagram account over a website for your retail business?

In this article, we’ve explained everything you should know, including the pros and cons of choosing either.

What You Should Know about Instagram?

There are over a billion active Instagram users worldwide, making it one of the largest markets for retail businesses to advertise their products and services. However, unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram centers on using pictures and short videos.

Therefore, as a retail business owner, you can convince Instagram users to patronize your business using pictorial displays of your goods or less than one-minute videos like the ones uploaded by kikifoodies (a page with over 560k followers) to advertise what you offer.

However, owning an Instagram account isn’t enough to grow your business; you need to do some extra work to get your desired result. You need to get more Instagram followers for your page who will be your potential customers. The more followers you have, the more customers you’ll likely get.

Instagram is more popular among the younger generation. Therefore, if young people are the target audience for your product or service, choosing Instagram is an excellent idea. There are two kinds of accounts you can own on Instagram — a personal account and a business account.

The difference is that a business account allows you access to more features, including analytics information such as user engagement, and buying and managing Instagram ads. If you need an account for your retail business, you better opt for an Instagram business account.

Why is an Instagram Account Better than a Website for Retail Business?

If you’re contemplating on either choosing an Instagram account or a website for your retail business, the following reasons show why an Instagram account is better:

  • More economical
  • Easier 
  • More efficient
  • Quick result

More economical

Opening an Instagram business account is free; you needn’t pay anyone to do it for you, and the company won’t charge you either. This is unlike registering a business website. You may have to pay hundreds of dollars to set up a good-looking, functional business website. In some cases, you may have to spend thousands of dollars in registering and maintaining a business website.

As a retail business owner still trying to grip your feet and grow your business, Instagram is an excellent place to start. You can channel the money that would have been diverted to registering a business account to grow your business further in other ways.

Easier

You don’t need anyone to write codes for you to register an Instagram business account. It is easier than registering a business website which requires hiring a professional web designer. You can complete your Instagram registration from the comfort of your room or office. Except if you’re a professional web designer, you can’t register your business website yourself.

More efficient

It is easier to attract more customers on Instagram than with a website. As mentioned earlier, Instagram has over a billion users, all which are your potential customers. You can push your content to as many of these users as possible, increasing your chances of getting more new customers.

More so, people don’t necessarily have to search for your service or business on Instagram before they find what you’ve uploaded. Still, for a website, they need to search Google or directly visit the site before they learn about your business.

For Instagram, once a person shares the content on your business page, many of their friends will see the content as well and will likely follow your page. If they too share the content, it’ll display on their followers’ timeline as well, who may probably take similar action. That way, your business page is rapidly reaching a massive number of people within minutes, and many of those who saw your content might be interested in what you offer; thus, they might patronize you.

That is not the case with a website. For people to share the content of your website, they still need to use a social media platform like Instagram. So, why not opt for Instagram directly?

Quick result

You can register an Instagram business account now and begin to get customers in the next few minutes. On the other hand, you still have a long way to go after registering a business account. It is unlikely that the site will begin to attract customers to patronize your business immediately after registering. Therefore, if you need a better option to market your business and get instant rewards, Instagram is an excellent way to go.

Cons of Choosing Only Instagram Account without a Website for Retail Businesses

  • Less formal
  • Customers won’t know much about your business
  • You aren’t in control

Less formal

Where would you direct a potential investor who desires to learn more about your business and perhaps invest in it? How does it sound to say you have no business website, and instead, you provide an Instagram ID? If this happens to be you, the investor might lose interest and assume you aren’t serious about doing business.

A website makes your business look more formal and allows you to introduce people to what you offer formally. Instagram, on the other hand, is more of an informal way for people to know about your business. Therefore, if you only depend on Instagram for your digital marketing without a website, you might lose in situations where you need to introduce your business formally.

Customers won’t know much about your business

People can only know more about your business if they find enough information that spells out what you offer. Instagram may not provide you with such an avenue. The platform doesn’t allow you to write much content or make long videos. Therefore you only have to summarize everything you need to say about your business in less than a one-minute video or a short caption under a picture.

You aren’t in control

You don’t own Instagram; therefore, you aren’t in charge. Yes, you might post whatever you like, but there are limitations to that. There are rules you can’t violate, and those rules might change at any point. Zuckerberg may also decide not to shut down the platform’s operation; thus, if you’ve relied solely on it, you may have to start afresh from another platform and struggle to build a larger audience from scratch.

So, what should you do?

You shouldn’t only rely on Instagram to market your retail business; you need a website as well. Combining these two is the best way to go. You can link your business website to your Instagram page. In this case, your website is the primary platform for your digital marketing, while Instagram is the secondary platform increasing and driving traffic to your website.

This is what many retail businesses like Comme_ca (a retail business page with over 1k followers) on Instagram do.

To link your website to your Instagram page, you should follow the tips below:

  1. Open your Instagram page and click on your profile picture at the top right corner of the screen. Click on profile
  2. An interface will appear, showing your profile; click edit profile which you’ll find at the top of the screen
  3. Click bio
  4. If you need to edit your bio, do so and add paste the URL to your business website
  5. Click submit

You’ve successfully added your website link to your Instagram page. Now, anyone who visits your IG page will find the link to your website, which they may click to learn more about your business.

Why Should You Link a Website to Your Instagram Page?

It helps to build trust and credibility

The first thing most people do when they find your Instagram page before patronizing you is to check your profile to see if you own a functional website. If there’s no URL to your website, it automatically reduces their trust level, and they assume your business isn’t legitimate enough. Once you lose their trust, they might end up passing by and not patronizing what you offer.

On the other hand, should they find a URL to your website in your IG profile, they assume you’re legitimate. Opening a functional business website requires time and money. Therefore, if you have an active business website in your IG profile, it boost your business credibility.

Your website is strictly about you

There are many things calling users’ attention on Instagram; hence, they’ll likely spend less than 30 seconds interacting with your profile. The IG algorithm is designed to push multiple contents before people, all competing to gain attention. 30 seconds in your profile isn’t enough for people to learn enough about your business.

However, once they land on your business website, all they see is your content. They might spend up to 30 minutes or more on your website, perhaps reading blogs. If your blog content is interesting, they might be convinced to patronize you.

You need a website for SEO

Who turns to Instagram to search for solutions to their problems? Perhaps very few people compared to those that turn to Google for such service. Instagram, like other social media platforms, doesn’t rank on SEO. Thus, no matter how valuable the content you upload on IG is, it may not appear on Google search results.

That way, you’re losing a lot of audiences who would have patronized you. On the other hand, if you upload valuable content on your website with excellent SEO optimization, it’ll appear on Google search results. Since the search is intentional, people will likely read more of your website content when directed by Google than they’ll when they find accidental information on their IG page.

Websites are more organized

You can have different sections on your website where people can check for additional information. For instance, the “About Us” page will be specific about the information about your company. You may also have other links talking about each of your products or services. For example, Bear Mattress is a retail company that sells mattresses online. Their website contains links about “bed bases,” “help center,” etc. Visitors can choose to visit any one of their choices which they can’t find on Instagram. Such is the beauty of owning a website.

As a retail business owner you shouldn’t only rely on Instagram to grow your business; you need a website too. When you combine these two tools, and you do it the right way, your business will thrive more. While Instagram earns you the traffic, your website dishes out everything people should know about your business, thus, convincing them to patronize you.

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