How to Shine Online by Marketing Your Brand on Instagram
With recent statistics showing that 60% of Instagram users find new products on the app, it’s no surprise that most of the world’s most successful brands are leveraging Instagram in their social media marketing strategy. Chances are you're already marketing your brand on Instagram. A lot of information about how brands can use Instagram effectively include the same advice: take great quality images, edit your photos with a consistent theme, use relevant (big and small) hashtags, and post at times when your audience is engaged.
So, we asked 7 experts to take a deeper dive into how brands can leverage Instagram to shine online. Learn how to use native Instagram features to build brand loyalty, how to incentivize your customers to amplify your content, how non-visual brands can leverage the app, and more.
1. Build trust by showcasing your team on Instagram stories
Jered Martin, OnePitch, @JmoMonk
One of the best ways to tell your story on Instagram is through a story! Do a quick reel of each team member, what their role is, and talk about their personal selves (i.e. hobbies, interests, favorite things to eat, etc.). This builds trust among new and existing customers because they see WHO is behind the brand and not just a logo with a name.
2. Non-visual brands can focus on humanizing their brand
Crystal McFerran, Velo
Since I work for a non-visual brand in a typically boring industry (IT), our approach to Instagram has been to focus on humanizing the brand by sharing images featuring employees and clients, architectural shots of the downtown area and our office, interspersed with seasonal and motivational content. Instagram has really helped drive our brand forward, particularly in terms of recruiting. Because we've effectively communicated the company culture, we've successfully recruited candidates through Instagram and greatly increased brand exposure.
3. Incentivize your customers to share your products on social media
Matt Edstrom, BioClarity
An effective Instagram strategy that can help grow your brand's audience is to leverage your target consumers’ personal network to advertise and build brand awareness for you. Incentivize your customers to share your product on their personal Instagram accounts, which will allow you to tap into their network of friends and family, effectively amplifying our branding efforts - further helping your company earn new followers and business referrals through these personal endorsements.
4. Use Story Highlights to strengthen your brand’s identity
Vanessa Williams, Ignite Social Media, @IgniteSMA
Instagram has several native tools that can help brands tell their stories to strengthen loyalty with fans. A recent addition is Instagram Story Highlights. Highlights allow brands to group stories into overarching themes that live permanently on the brand's profile. This feature should be used to bring to life the brand's identity and core values. Another tactic is using Instagram Stories poll feature to gather feedback from fans and then using the results from the poll as content inspiration for future posts. This tactic will enable fans to feel like they have a say and feel empowered by the brand.
5. Don’t sell until you’ve established your brand’s credibility
Zach Benson, Assistagram
Start with inspiring people, building your tribe, building trust and a community. Once you have the credibility and rapport, only then show your product every once in a while. Don’t try to aggressively promote your product by posting product shots with calls to action telling people to buy. An aggressive approach will most likely turn customers away.
Think about what your audience wants (not your business!), then create your content with that in mind. Ask yourself if your customers want to be inspired? Happy? Motivated?
Social media content is all about peaking people’s interest, making them feel or imagine something, and if possible making it educational. You really can’t go wrong with inspirational quotes and motivation. People will stay with you because you’re giving them that great feeling, not selling to them.
6. Inspire action beyond liking your posts
Benjamin Gullett, RMD Advertising, @RMDAdvertising
Brand loyalty on Instagram is tied to the virility of your brand’s visual content. Adapt your brand’s voice, with the intent of being more conversational, and reveal the character and personality behind the brand by being bold with relevant copy and energetic emojis. Brands should increase engagement (and inspiring action beyond just liking each post) with the frequent reliance on consumer generated content. This takes your brand’s image from an intangible product to one consumers can see in the real world. Video content certainly catches the eye, but the perfect image for your brand can also be just as valuable.
7. Partner with influencers
Darwyn Metzger, Phantom Firm, @DarwynsTheory
The fastest way for brands to grow Instagram audiences is to partner with pre-existing influencers within their vertical and do either collaboration posts or an influencer takeover of their story for a day. For example, a sneaker brand should partner with an influencer known for their footwear to produce a series of posts and stories related to their offering. This is jet fuel for bringing the perfect customer into your audience. The key is to truly understand what your ideal follower would actually want to see on your page, and then work backward from there to craft content accordingly.