Instagram is the place to be for brands right now, assuming you have anything visual whatsoever to talk about. And even if you don’t, it’s time to change that. Here’s why – and how, with five tips for developing a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Take notes!
Tip #1: Throw Expectations Out The Window To Uncover The Unexpected
When evaluating any social site, it’s important to understand its demographics.
Pew Research Center saw the percentage of Americans using these top social networks had stayed pretty much the same between 2016-2018 – except for Instagram. That number when up from. 28% in 2016 to 35% in 2018. And that trend continues elsewhere too.
There are more than a billion active monthly users on Instagram and they are from all over the world. They span every age range too, it’s not just teens/young adults on Instagram, that’s for sure! Though if that is your target audience, you’ll be happy to know that 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds were using Instagram in 2018 – a number that has certainly increased this year.
Not Just a B2C platform
It’s important to understand that any consumer-facing brand can do well here. Heck, even the business-to-business crowd is taking note and making Instagram marketing magic here:
But you’ll only do well if you go with the flow – and that flow is all about two seemingly unrelated things: consistency and capturing unexpected insight. Brands need to stand out and be consistent about their Instagram marketing effort. It’s a tall order to fill, requiring that brands understand what an audience will appreciate and what (in contrast) is just a waste of time.
Identifying affinities in one of our pre-made templates helps a ton there. You can search for:
- Content Affinities
- Cultural Affinities
- Emotion Drivers
- Music Affinities
- Health/Fitness Affinities
And so much more, as well as creating your own custom searches. Instagram users love discovering new products – really! 60% of users learn about new products on Instagram – so make sure your brand’s products are in that number.
One way to do that is by narrowing your Instagram marketing strategy efforts . . . but not too narrow. You want to be found by a wide array of users, after all – just the right users.
Tip #2: Find Your Place In The Sun by Narrowing Your Instagram Marketing Strategy Efforts
“80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram” according to Instagram internal data – so it’s worthwhile being a business on Instagram. The potential Instagram offers can feel overwhelming, particularly if you have competitors participating and already doing well there. And odds are, you do.
Finding your place in the sun can feel impossible as all the good beach spots are taken, but there’s always room for one more on the brand awareness spectrum. You just have to be willing to muscle your way in to make room.
Britvic did precisely that in the crowded U.S. juice market. Using NetBase for their social intelligence, the company and its agency partner Zocalo defined a “precision marketing” strategy for getting the right content to the right people at the right time. They muscled Fruit Shoot straight through to the mom crowd and experienced a 200% increase in purchases.
Pumpkin Beer, Anyone?
Or – connecting back to our Affinities conversation above, if a brand wanted to explore a Food Affinities query, for example, there’s lots of intel available to power this ‘narrowing your focus’ effort.
The example below is obviously around an alcoholic beverage, so wouldn’t apply to just any food affinities – nor would you want it to. That would be too broad.
But some ideas that bubble up could call for unexpected combos, particularly if they happened around a holiday, as they seem to be here from the “Halloween” mention under Trending Things. Maybe this is where Pumpkin Beer was born, or where an “Awesome Avocado” beer could be?
It’s all worthy of exploration as you think through your Instagram marketing strategy:
Tip #3: Learn From Yesterday
You need to get a bit of traction going here to have something to learn from. Assuming you’ve been active on the visual giant for more than three months – how has your brand been doing on Instagram overall? Learning from what you did right (and wrong) will offer a baseline to measure against as you go.
But how do you do that?
If you’re sharing a specific style of posts and seeing little engagement, it’s hard to know where to turn next. Why aren’t people responding? Taking the temperature by monitoring conversation around your brand can provide clues.
Our Usage and Attitude widget drills down to discover precisely that – no guessing required.
It displays a “honeycomb” visualization containing sections labeled with the top Emotions and Behaviors or Things for your audience. The size of each section correlates to its number of associated posts or authors.
Here (below) we can see the Emotions and Behaviors of some JetBlue patrons:
And then explore further, by clicking on a specific cell in the honeycomb to see summary metrics and sound bites (not about JetBlue, but from other unrelated analyses created for illustrative purposes):
Tip #4: Monitor Instagram Marketing Today & Be Topical
As you look at things today, there are some action items to keep in mind – things you should be doing immediately, if not sooner – so open that Instagram app up!
When posting each day, are you setting aside time to interact with those liking, commenting and/or messaging your brand? You should. Responding immediately is key to ongoing interaction on Instagram:
And try to stay topical when possible. The fear of “trend jacking” scares brands away needlessly, particularly around events. There’s often some relevant niche ready for a brand to exploit – in a good way.
Imagine a toy company staging current events (with its toys) to capture conversation and engagement. Trend jacking or a super clever idea? Lego obviously felt it was the latter. They were right:
And when creating these topical promotions and interacting with followers, take special note of who is interacting and add them to your potential influencer list to explore when you have a moment. As even folks with modest follower numbers can prove wildly beneficial to your brand.
You can also run an Influencer Identification Report to capture top brand advocates and trends, and improve familiarity with influential audiences. Capturing trending terms and hashtags influential folks are discussing in your category is always helpful when it comes to content creation.
Pickle Juice Posts
Imagine you were selling Pickle Juice, and wanted to find out what influential folks were saying about the topic. You’d have plenty of targeted insight to follow after performing a super simple (on the front end) search:
Hashtags, emojis, brands, people and things all related to pickle juice! And summary metrics with sound bites to boot. So much data there to apply to your pending pickle juice posts. Not to mention, more than a few influential pickle juice drinkers to potentially collaborate with:
Tip #5: Plan For Marketing on Instagram Tomorrow
While you don’t want to base tomorrow on what you learned from yesterday, nor what you’re planning to do/have done today, as that could muck up your commitment (from Tip #1) to tossing caution to the wind and keeping your brand open to whatever possibilities online throws at you – beyond all of that – you do need to be mindful of what’s come before. Use it as a benchmark. Or more like a bench.
Stand on your past successes and challenges to look over the wall of expected next steps – that path other brands would take – and use it to further your resolve to keep those other brands guessing. Master that “you’ll never guess what we’re up to next!” vibe and you’ll keep all eyes on you, including potential customers, as you capture those unexpected ideas and audiences using your amazing social analytics tool.
Reach out for a demo to get started!