Brands that have wholeheartedly embraced Instagram are now a testament to the marketing and sales-driving power of the self-proclaimed “home for visual storytelling.” Simply put, Using Instagram to drive sales is now an essential marketing channel for your brand.
Instagram as a Brand-Building Power Tool
Why? Well, to be honest, it’s unlike any other. Think about it—in a roundabout way, Instagram is kind of like one of those insanely expensive power tools with enough bells, whistles and artificial intelligence to basically construct a small home on its own.
Instagram has tiny saws for cutting through the competition, pliers for grabbing potential customers and an array of driver bits to snuggly secure your organic following. Perhaps the biggest difference? This tool’s entirely free.
Simply put, if you don’t take the necessary time and energy to master Instagram’s multitude of built-in features, you’ll be in a world of hurt when it comes time to tighten the very nuts and bolts—can’t seem to get away from this metaphor—that keep your brand’s digital marketing strategy both relevant and effective.
In Today’s Digital Age, Instagram Is a Must-Use Platform
If you’ve yet to have taken the Instagram plunge, don’t be too hard on yourself. Shockingly, you’re not alone. Try this on for size—less than two years ago, 19 percent of marketers said they wouldn’t make Instagram a top-tier marketing priority, and 23 percent said they wouldn’t dare use it at all. Needless to say, times have changed …
Thanks to the widespread successes of companies that have managed to hop onboard with Instagram’s “evolved form of window shopping,” brands are now reaching more customers than ever before, says Rachel Gillett in a piece on social media marketing for Fast Company.
Even better? On Instagram, brands are much more than an afterthought, interruption, annoyance or paid placement. Instead, they’re dominating the channel. By far, their accounts are the ones that not only build the most impressive followings, but demand user engagement. No wonder Disneyland was the most geotagged location on Instagram in 2015.
With 75 million people from all over the world logging into and actively using Instagram each and every day—35 percent of them multiple times per day, believe it or not—Instagram is basically a digital candy store full of young, eager eyes.
Regardless of size, success or popularity, if you haven’t started an account for your company or don’t feel like you’ve really given Instagram the attention it deserves, now is a great time to start. Serving as a friendly nudge in the right direction, the following are three ways to make certain that your brand builds a social-selling presence both quickly and organically on Instagram:
1) Stick to Your Image
One of the most enticing aspects of Instagram is that it’s visually appealing. Filtered posts are easy on the brain and enjoyable. When a user taps on your brand’s Instagram handle, they are then brought to your account’s main page. Rows of square images populate this home base and provide a user with an immediate first impression.
If it’s full of disharmonious photos and videos, your brand’s true identity will struggle to make itself known—in fact, it may even drive some users away. However, on the flip side of things, if said identity is relatable, inviting and pleasing to look at, users are more likely to give you a follow and slow their respective scrolls when your content appears on their feeds.
By making a conscious effort to post only that which will aesthetically and thematically compliment the rest of your account’s content, you’ll begin to organically gain followers who like your brand’s core message, values and overall look.
Remember—consistency is key. MailChimp, for example, is a company that provides their clients with email marketing services, but their Instagram account is all about pushing bright colors, light-hearted fun and goofy employees.
By deliberately maintaining bright, complimentary colors throughout all posts, their Instagram account’s home page stands out from those of their competitors within the same professional space. In short, there’s a great deal of creative unity.
In utilizing this aspect of Instagram’s layout and design, MailChimp is able to perform a huge marketing task—convince users to click “Follow,” but more importantly, to believe that their brand is friendly and easy to work with.
2) Engage Exponentially
At the end of the day, the main driving force behind increasing your brand’s visibility and creating sales on Instagram will come from audience engagement. Though it might seem like something small, it will most assuredly pay off exponentially.
By way of earnestly liking other image and videos, tagging users and strategically including relevant hashtags in your posts, steps are taken to place your brand in front of potential customers.
What’s so exponential about all of this you ask? Tagging your followers in a few posts, for example, is a great way to get organic followers. Once their friends see that they’ve been tagged in an entertaining, well-crafted post, they’re likely to get in on the action and engage, as well. When this kind of public outreach ceases to be an irregular occurrence, organic follower growth gains momentum.
What’s great about this method is that companies of all sizes will tremendously benefit from follower engagement. Still a bit confused? Take a look at what Coca-Cola—a company that proves you’re never too big to keep building your brand by way of social media—has done on Instagram. They regularly tag and share their followers’ cola-themed posts, which then further promotes the personable side of their “Share a Coke” ad campaign.
Another highly effective social strategy for businesses of all sizes comes from the creation and implementation of the occasional Instagram contest. Drinkwel—a company that makes vitamins and electrolyte drinks to help with hangovers—has mastered the art of holding contests to gain followers.
It’s crazy, but simply adding something along the lines of, “Double tap to win!” and the occasional “Tag a friend!” helps build their brand’s popularity. If it works for them, it can and will work for you, also.
Many companies on Instagram have only scratched the surface of what user and follower engagement can do for them. It’s an exponentially valuable method which will no doubt build your social media presence and ensure high numbers of loyal, lifelong followers.
3) Association Pays Off
When Instagram is involved, don’t be afraid to go big. Just as thoughtful follower engagement will grow your brand’s body of followers, so too will any interaction with celebrities, global companies or otherwise notable people. To make this happen, consider using some solid “regramming” techniques.
Well-known television host Giuliana Rancic recently posted about a breast cancer awareness t-shirt that was sent to her by @FEClothing—a clothing company that donates portions of their profits to charity. By regramming Rancic’s original post, they widened their reach, gained followers and upped their brand’s public profile.
If a powerful Instagram account happens to mention your brand—or even something related to your brand, to be honest—you have a golden chance to make your marketing all the more effective.
Celebrities love Instagram and regularly engage with top-notch followers and invaluable partners, so why not position your brand as one of them? The rich and famous have major visibility potential on Instagram. As such, a tasteful mention or regram has the potential to drive real revenue for your brand.
Untapped Brand and Sales Potential
Instagram is poised to quickly become one of the biggest players in not only the world of e-commerce, but the sales world, in general. Because of this, your brand will no doubt benefit from any one of the strategies that have been presented here.
More than ever before, with new features being regularly thrown into the Instagram marketing mix like the “Shop Now” button, locking into this incredible platform will be the smartest move your marketing team makes this year.