As firms seek new ways to reach potential customers, Instagram has grown into an especially attractive option for certain demographics. Intuitive, straightforward, and available on nearly every device, Instagram excels at immediately engaging viewers and keeping hold of their attention for the long haul. According to Statista, Instagram has nearly a billion monthly active users — second only to the behemoth Facebook among social media channels. Even more impressive, 500 million of those users are active on Instagram each day. It should come as no surprise then that Instagram content sees 23 percent higher engagement rates than similar Facebook content. Nor should it be shocking that proactive firms are clamoring to utilize these high engagement rates to build their audience, position themselves as thought leaders, and attract new customers.
“Instagram gives us an opportunity to connect with the general public by sharing insights into topics on the minds of our clients, as well as providing an intimate look into life at Goldman Sachs, and we think people will find there’s a lot more to our firm than simply being a financial services company,” states Goldman Sachs Global Co-Head of Brand & Content Strategy Amanda Rubin.
Just as email and instant messages must be properly retained and supervised to meet your firm’s unique regulatory requirements, so too must business-related Instagram content. Yet with the increased adoption and use of Instagram by firms of all types and sizes, many lag behind. The 2018 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report from Smarsh found that while social media channels such as Instagram are in high demand as communications tools among both clients and employees, a little under half of all survey respondents do not yet have a supervisory solution in place around Instagram. Firms in regulated industries will need to bring Instagram communications into their recordkeeping purview, which is best accomplished using a tech-driven solution to retain, supervise, and publish content to Instagram, with capabilities to conduct e-discovery and to automate related workflows.
However, there is a caveat to keep in mind: Facebook has announced plans to restrict API access to Instagram personal accounts starting in December of 2018. By early 2020, Facebook plans to eliminate API access completely. As a result, firms — specifically regulated firms, who must capture all electronic communications for monitoring and supervision — must switch to business accounts to remain compliant. Facebook has created a replacement for personal accounts, dubbed Instagram business accounts, that will serve much the same purpose while maintaining API access for partners. Once linked to a Facebook Page, an Instagram business account allows admins to post and promote content right from Instagram, which makes it easy for readers to contact a business and offers access to additional metrics beyond those offered by personal accounts.
It’s important to get a head start on creating a transition plan as soon as possible. The complexity of this plan will necessarily hinge on the number of products, services, and users represented by your firm’s personal accounts, but luckily Facebook has made it easy to convert a personal account into a business account. In “Settings,” just tap “Switch to Business Profile,” then ensure that your account is linked to a Facebook page with a correct and verifiable email address, phone number, or business address — and that’s it. You’re done. Depending on how many personal accounts your firm utilizes, the task of shifting each of them to a business account may take time, which is why it’s crucial for your firm to begin now versus waiting until 2020.
Instagram is an increasingly valuable tool, but as with all other communications channels flowing through your firm, it requires diligent oversight if it’s being used to conduct business. The shift from personal accounts to business accounts is not too daunting, but it does take time. With a bit of planning and foresight, your firm can be more than prepared to utilize Instagram to its fullest potential.
Visit our Instagram Capture page to learn more about how to enable a unified compliance and e-discovery workflow across all communication channels being used for business within your organization. And for more on the unique compliance requirements presented by social media, read Social Media Triggers Ongoing Compliance Requirements. Retain, search, and review all your content in one place, creating efficiency and providing peace of mind.