September 29, 2015
Instagram announced last week that their social photo sharing community has grown to more than 400 million users strong. With new Instagrammers joining every second, the visual communication platform has quickly become one of the most important components of the visual marketing space.
Focused on sharing moments of your life as they happen, Instagram is known for its simple, singular focus on photo and video delivered in the here and now. Not only is it renowned for its plethora of photos of food, pets, and selfies, but it has also, more importantly, peaked the attention of marketers on an international scale as a new way to engage younger audiences.
While Instagram has become a facet of our personal lives, many of today’s top brands have spent the past five years seeking ways to engage with their fans on the constantly expanding platform. After all, why wouldn’t they? Twenty percent of all Internet users utilize Instagram and there are 80 million photos posted daily from users all over the world.
Instagram has proven to be an effective tool that allows celebrities, bloggers, and youth-focused brands to effectively reach today’s global audience. But how exactly can you ensure that YOUR brand is using Instagram as an effective means by which to engage with your target audience?
Determine if Instagram is the right platform for your brand.
The social media landscape is constantly changing and evolving. In a world where new social media platforms emerge as quickly as cat videos are uploaded to YouTube, it’s important to question whether or not a new social media platform is right for your brand.
Fifty three percent of all users on Instagram are ages 18-29 – making the Instagram user base one of the most millennial-heavy in the industry. Does your brand cater to this audience? If so, Instagram is a must. Be wary, though. Millennials, in particular, crave authenticity and know when a brand is trying to push their message or product.
Develop an informed strategy.
What’s your goal? If you want to expand your presence to include Instagram, make sure you have a well-informed strategy in place to build and engage your following. Are you solely looking to gain followers or are you looking to engage those followers in an effort to build brand awareness? Think carefully about who your target audience is, what their likes and interests are, and how they’re currently engaging. Then, craft your strategy around your findings.
Remember: Your brand’s messaging is just as important on social media as it is in your other marketing efforts – so it’s important to understand your brand audience and the way they communicate. HBO or GoPro followers will expect something different than those who follow Starbucks or Chipotle. Take aesthetically pleasing and creative photographs that are worthy of sharing and engagement, and make sure they’re something your brand can be proud of.
Leave your mark.
Whether it’s an effective branding campaign, quirky hashtag, or promotional contest, determine what it is that’s going to help you leave your mark on the Instagram and social world. Take Oreo’s brand insta-success story for example. During Superbowl 2013, Oreo unleashed a clever commercial that had a three second call to action asking viewers to vote #cremethis or #cookiethis. Then, they directed millions of attentive Super Bowl viewers to Instagram. In a matter of weeks, Oreo followers grew astronomically, growing from 2,200 to 86k in a matter of weeks. However…
Keep them engaged.
A large Instagram following is absolutely a sign of social media success. But how exactly do you keep followers engaged once you’ve acquired them? Are you making a conscious effort to keep your target audience engaged with your brand? Are you liking their posts? Commenting on them? Following them back? We seem to forget at times that social media is exactly that – social. Be human.
Give your followers a reason to want to follow your brand in Instagram. Consider a social media contest that allows users to use a branded hashtag and share their own photos. Bring creative visuals and effective captions to the table and perhaps you’ll gain a loyal follower (and eventual customer).
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