Instagram is a community of over 600 million people and came about from an idea of making mobile photos more easily shareable, editable and professional looking. What they probably weren’t planning on (but maybe hoping for) was becoming a social media tool that millions check into multiple times a day and marketers depend on to impact their business goals.
Instagram is no longer just a picture editing app; it’s no longer just a social network it has become a crucial part of our marketing strategies.
When done well, Instagram can be used to drive engagement, keep your audience involved in your brand between purchases and maybe even remind them it’s time to visit your site again. It’s a place to easily keep touch and even learn something about the people who buy from your brand; you can inspire, share and create a real culture around your brand that otherwise would not exist.
What Do The Top Instagram Accounts Have In Common?
When you think of the best Instagram accounts, what comes to mind?
- Millions of followers
- Amazing Photos
- Hundreds of likes
- Thousands of video views
- The best captions and hashtags
How are they getting these results?
How are they creating their content?
It’s because they know their audience. Just like anything and everything you do within marketing you have to know who your audience is and where to find them. Your audience is the key to your success!
Below we dive into three different brand’s Instagram accounts and how they use this social media platform for reaching their audience, driving engagement and creating communities.
1. INVOLVE YOU AUDIENCE
Can you make one of your consumers feel more special then recognizing and appreciating them for using their product? This might have been done in the form of a thank you email, or maybe a discount sent in an email, or maybe by holding a giveaway or contest. But now, with Instagram, you can make your consumers feel really special just by noticing and sharing their content.
I know when I tag brands in my Instagram post it’s because I think I am using their product in a way that they would proud of, that maybe they wish they would have thought of and I want to get noticed for my efforts.
Target does a great job mixing their content with their audiences content. The purposefully pick photos that fit so naturally in their feed, and you can’t even tell they didn’t make it. Just look at how they recognized and asked permission from @Seriouslydaisies to use her photo. This is how you involve your audience the right way.
When brands add content from their consumers, it adds something special to their page. It gives it a sense of authenticity and makes people think “hey, I could do that too.” Social media has given brands a better peek into, and understanding of how people are using their products and they should share that. Not to mention it gives your own team a break from having to come with new content all the time.
2. FOCUS ON YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE, NOT YOUR BRAND
No one likes someone who only talks about themselves, and the same thing can be said about a brand. You shouldn’t use social to sell (at least not always) you should use it to influence, show-off, inspire and grow.
Kraft, the American food processing, and manufacturing group have done a great job of this on Instagram. I mean how boring would their account be if they just went into grocery stores and snapped pictures of their packaged products or their manufacturing facilities?
(Pictures from the @kraftrecipes Instagram Account)
Instead, they have created a Kraft Recipes and Tips account on Instagram that is full of just that. Hundreds of pictures of delicious foods and videos of amazing and easy-to-do recipes. It inspires their audience to make dinner using their products and shows them how easy it is to do. The even better news for Kraft is that picture of food is one of the most likable things on Instagram. How could you not like a picture of a birthday cake? Easter dinner or homemade pizza night?
If you are a brand like Kraft, you could have easily ridden off social media. But they thought about what their audience would be interested in, how they used their product and created a space for their community to own on Instagram.
Consistency helps tell your brand’s story. Consistency is not dull or predictable, it creates a flow between your different social accounts, ensures that what your audience sees in their email, a targeted ad and your website will all be similar and is also what your audience should feel each time they check your Instagram account. This is what helps your audience know it’s you when they see a picture while they scroll through their app.
Consistency helps you develop a style that is unique to your brand. It helps reinforce your brand’s vision and beliefs. A perfect example of this is Lululemon’s Instagram account. They say who they are right at the top
(Picture from @lululemon Instagram account)
And they show who they are with their pictures. The best part is they have added their unofficial hashtag, #thesweatlife to their account, so users know if they are taking part in something that is happy, healthy and fun they need to add that hashtag to their picture too. Their message can be found in everything they do; it’s consistent. They have created a cult-like following for a reason, and it’s not because every single one of their Instagram posts is a picture of their product.
(Picture from @lululemon Instagram account)
It’s because it is people, who look like they are living an excellent life, are wearing their product while doing it. See consistency doesn’t mean posting the same thing every day or even every Thursday, it means your audience can understand why you would use that photo or post that video. They know your message and how the content in your Instagram account compliments it.
Wrap It Up
As you see above, different brands, all successful, use Instagram in different ways. The reason it works is that they are creating content their audience will respond to.
The good news is you don’t have to be a big brand to utilize these tools. All you need is an Instagram account and a content plan that uses the three lessons learned above. Remember, this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take time to build your brand on Instagram but utilizing Instagram is going to be an essential ingredient in your social media growth.
Make sure to check out our e-book, 30 Social Tests To Run for more ideas of how to create engaging content on Instagram and other social media platforms.