May 20, 2014

Get 'Gramming

As a user, I see Instagramming as a true art form. I love how the social platform allows users to display snippets of everyday life in a unique and artistic way. Scrolling through my newsfeed brightens my day, as I get to peek into the beautiful little moments that those I follow are experiencing. With such emotional pull, it's no wonder that marketers and advertisers are instinctively drawn to Instagram. The platform offers an array of opportunity for brand promotion and consumer engagement. Further, due to Instagram's social nature, it's also a great tool to use for real-time marketing and campaigns.

So, with all of its branding glory, why do marketers and advertisers still struggle to use Instagram effectively? The conundrum lies in a few areas:

  1. Everything's Manual: Instagram offers no APIs to schedule or monitor posts. Although marketers can use APIs to receive hashtag and location parameters, there's still nothing akin to HootSuite or Facebook's scheduling feature on the app.
  2. Their New Native Ads are Risky: With the limited launch of Instagram's advertising program (with companies including Ben and Jerry's and Levi's), it's still unclear how users will receive these in-stream ads. The ads are disruptive and, within an app that can be deeply personal and connective, could dissuade users if not done correctly.
  3. Hard to Connect: It can be markedly difficult for brands to gain followers and interest on Instagram. If a brand lacks unique content, consistency, and/or fluency in Instagram tagging, an Instagram account can quickly become an afterthought in a brand's social arsenal.

Even with these hang-ups, Instagram can still be a great social tool for brands to leverage. The platform is highly engaging, as it offers brands the chance to further cultivate their identity and integrate into users' everyday lives. But, with such barriers, how can marketers move forward? Here are a few Instagramming tips:

  1. Stay Consistent: Content and timing are key for Instagram success. To truly engage, brands need to actively post throughout the week. Brands also need to keep content aesthetically consistent and appealing.
  2. Make it Special: Simply recycling content from Facebook or Twitter will not do. To truly engage users on Instagram, brands need to actually spend time creating content unique for the platform. Thankfully, Instagram is a simple app in nature, so once themes are in place, feeds can easily be filled with meaningful and unique images.
  3. Remember the Point: Let's face it. We all want to see pretty pictures at the end of the day, and brands need to keep this in mind when 'gramming. Posting bland product shots or boring office photos just for the sake of content won't engage a consumer.

Overall, the best Instagram accounts offer unique images that capture special moments, big and small. There is no one formula for success; however, as with any successful campaign, brands need to first know their consumers, their brand story, and how these two things align. Then, brands can deliver consistent and thoughtful content that stays true to both of these points.

When good branding and Instagram-savvy align, marketers can create meaningful connections that simply cannot be found on other social platforms.

Have any tips for Instagram success? We'd love to hear! Share your comments.


Topics: Instagram, Blog, Paid Social