Many brands have an online presence and can be found on Social Networking platforms. In fact in 2010, 75% of Small Businesses have a Company Page on a Social Networking Site. With Instagram becoming an increasing popular Social platform that is now owned by the most popular Social Network on the Internet, brands need to find a way they can develop a meaningful presence on this new platform. Currently, the top brands that use Instagram are Levi’s, Starbucks, Red Bull, Gucci, and abcNEWS. What brands can do on Instagram is split into 5 categories:
Promote Goods and Services:
When using this category on Instagram, brands can post creative snapshots of your company’s products and services. For instance, if a brand comes out with a new product, it can use its Instagram account to feature this new product. The picture of the product will then show up on all of the news feeds of the Instagram users who are following the brand. This is currently used by many brands and helps businesses avoid photos, info graphics or text-heavy images that may not be as appealing as the Instagram photo, which can be edited with a filter to add more visual appeal. An example of a brand that effectively promotes their products is Starbucks. The brand frequently posts close-up photos of their beverages and foods available at the coffee shop. A tip from entrepreneur.com is to not post photos of the same product more than 3 to 4 times in a day. The brand’s followers on Instagram will become disinterested in the product and will then begin to ignore any posts from the brand; or the follower may even decide to ‘unfollow’ the brand.
This category for Instagram helps a brand interact and engage current customers, and even convert prospective customers. The brand can ask its Instagram followers to post personal photos of the brands products – making sure that they tag the brand in the photo description with a hashtag. It would be then up to the brand to post the top photos onto its own Instagram account or even its website. One way to encourage followers to revisit the brand’s Instagram account is to launch photo-of-the-day campaigns. Having each day have a specific type of photo post could be a great way to encourage followers to continue to be engaged. For instance, if Starbucks encouraged followers to post their drinks everyday, with each day being a different drink or food; this would encourage customers to continue purchasing the products, as well as staying engaged with the brand everyday. One brand that has effectively launched a campaign like this is Levi’s.
Add in the Promotions:
Brands can also promote exclusive discounts and coupons directly on Instagram to encourage purchase. Being able to post photos to increase the awareness of the promotional discount or coupon is a quick, inexpensive way to boost sales. Making sure the special offer has a hashtag within the photo description is important because it allows customers to easy find the discount, and also allows consumers to hashtag the discount code themselves; this will then increase its reach by allowing more Instagram users to see the offer.
Companies can also use Instagram to go ‘behind-the-scenes’ at the office. This gives customers the ability to see what goes on at the company, while putting the viewers in a position where they can build more trust with the company and fully understand how the business works. Businesses can post pictures from company parties, charity dinners, product launches, industry events, or even for those who are employees at chains, pictures can be posted ‘in the moment’. For instance, a picture could be taken of a fellow employee interacting with a customer. One example that I can relate upon that I just recently saw on my Instagram newsfeed was one of the Instagram users I follow who works at a Starbucks posted a photo of the line-up of drinks he had to make at Starbucks during a BOGO event. Looking at this photo really gives the viewer a sense of engagement, and allows the viewer to fully understand what that individual may be experiencing at work.
Your Followers are Important:
One important factor to keep in mind is that customers are one of the most important parts of a brand; without customers, there would be no sales. It is then important to make sure your customers and followers feel they matter and are important to the brand. Brands can choose followers of the day and promote the individual by mentioning them with the @ symbol. This works the same way as it does on Facebook and Twitter. The user will get a notification and will then feel special that the brand is actually recognizing them for their loyalty to the brand. With these actions, this will make a brand’s posts more viral because they would be shared by the individual who was mentioned, as well as their followers.
The original article I read that has these 5 techniques but helped me put my own spin on this topic was from entrepreneur.com