Marketing Ideas for Insta-Success!
Social media has become an essential part of marketing in the digital space and you can no longer take a ‘when I feel like it’ approach to using it. To effectively use social media to gain traffic and attention, it will need to be well thought out and planned according to your industry, audience and brand. The way you use the tools available to you will directly impact how your consumer will see and interact with your brand, how they will interpret your brand’s personality beyond your overall themes and imagery, and ultimately whether they are interested in your product or service at all.
It may not convert leads as directly as other marketing tools, but with people now checking their phones about 150 times a day and an average of 4.4 hours of our daily leisure time being screen based, online marketing and social media marketing will be vital to your 2018 strategy. With social media, it will be a case of playing the long game, but to see results your content will need to be well-managed, well-placed and of genuine interest to your target internet users.
The first step for you then will be to understand where on social media your audiences are, so let’s check the stats! Facebook is an all-rounder; whether your audience are in their teens, 20s, 40s or even 80s, Facebook is somewhere you will likely find them. It boasts 2.07 billion monthly active users worldwide, making it the most widely used platform out there. Twitter is less so, but still has 313 million monthly active users, with the majority being aged 18-29, closely followed by 30-49 year olds… And it’s worth bearing in mind that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is actually those who are aged 55 and above! Then there is Instagram, which has recently skyrocketed in popularity with over 500 million monthly active users. 59% of internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and 33% of internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 use it. Instagram drives the most engagement per post compared to any other social network - that is 84 times more than Twitter and 10 times more than Facebook. Other platforms to look into are YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest… You will need to tailor your content not only according to your audience but also according to the platforms that you are using.
So in terms of marketing, there’s a lot to choose from and it will definitely be beneficial to use a few of these platforms in the creation of your social media strategy. Below we will delve deeper into the world of social media marketing, and specifically into Instagram marketing, by taking a look at some interesting examples of creative visual content that effectively portrays the brand’s identity and is great for user interest and engagement.
Posting a variety of types of content will make your feed more interesting, more engaging and will stop it being too samey! Think about using photography, stock or original, videos such as ‘how to’s’ or vlogs, branded graphics, infographics, UGCs and so on.
Original photography is particularly effective. It can be an expensive tactic but it will come across as a more accurate and ‘true’ representation of your brand than any stock image can. You can really get a feel for the product or service, making consumers more likely to trust the company with their hard earned cash. A great example of a brand using original photography is 1Rebel, who are a London based gym targeted at the young professional female. They make use of a range of content on their Instagram feed, including all of the kinds of visuals listed above. Their original photography is often centred around their trainers, where they use their staff as a representation of their brand. They make the post seem to be more about the photographic aspect and the talent of their trainers, but with the added bit of ‘oh and look at how good the space is’.
Another type of post that is bang on trend at the moment is Instagram’s Boomerang tool which takes a very short video snippet and loops it, so that it becomes a back and forth of the original clip. This is being used left, right and centre at the moment and makes for some seriously cool and ‘likeable’ content. Forever 21 do this really well - take a look at this cute Boomerang on their profile!
To encourage engagement, your posts should genuinely interest, entertain or help the user. One way of encouraging this is to post quotes and tips styled to your own branding. This works really well for a lot of different industries. Keep your content focussed, consistent and balanced to build a profile that not only captivates but also motivates users. For SWEAT! - one of our clients in the fitness industry - posting motivational and visual posts helps to inspire their members to stay engaged whilst keeping to the style and branding of the gym.
Banding your customers together to make them feel like they are a part of something and belong to a community is a great way to encourage loyalty and continued engagement. Slimming World do this using their hashtag #swfamily, which helps their members to not just feel a part of the Slimming World community but also to feel connected to one another. This not only helps them on their weight loss journeys but also gives the company some great content and engagement.
Recognising and rewarding your most engaged followers will also contribute to community building and is a great way to encourage engagement from others too! This could be a simple share, a like or a shout-out to thank them more directly. Lots of brands deploy User Generated Content to fill up their feeds, and with it being recommended that brands post 1-2 times a day, UGCs can be a real lifesaver.
Take a look at this post from Adobe, they cleverly use UGCs as their main type of post. This way they not only have tonnes of potential content, but the content also promotes their products and what they can do (e.g. below will promote their Creative Suite).
To get those UGCs, or just to build some brand hype, it could be good to take a leaf out of ASOS’ book. Their hashtag #AsSeenOnMe encourages their customers to post photos of themselves in their new purchases from the site. This not only generates some great UGCs but also builds a nice little area where their customers are promoting them. It may take you some time to build up something like this, but you could even consider tapping into popular hashtags that already exist to get similar outcomes.
Keeping track of popular culture and referencing it in your posts will be really effective in getting engagement from your users. It will get them to pay your post attention! This is a tactic that will definitely depend upon and vary according to who your target audience are and you’ll need to be wary of coming across as cheesy... but if you do it right it can really pay off. Keeping up to date with the language that your customers are likely to be using is a perfect way of putting your brand into the life your user leads. If you use their language, their ‘in’ jokes and their phrases, you’ll be relatable and will come across as one of them, which makes you seem both trustworthy and 'in the know'.
Missguided tap into their audience really well, employing the language used by their consumers as well as referencing popular culture and social media trends that have been impactful on the social channels that their followers use.
Nowadays consumers are looking for authenticity, they will be more likely to choose one brand over another if the former has values and a culture that align more with their own - for example if they can demonstrate more focus on social responsibility than their competitors. This is especially true amongst millennials. This kind of authenticity establishes a better relationship between the consumer and the company and is likely to help ensure the longevity of the brand.
Absolut Vodka are known for their support of a number of causes, particularly the LGBTQ movement. They know that their audience are part of a new generation of liberalism and activism, and they use their social platforms not just to promote themselves and their product but also to spread a message that they believe in.
Social media now serves as a means of storytelling, whether that be through written content or visual. Users want to see content that is genuinely interesting to them. Brand longevity is just an equation after all - originality + authentic storytelling.
Your brand’s social media might have an end goal of converting leads and improving your ROI, but this doesn’t mean that you should fill your feed with pushy promotions! Think of ways to incorporate your product in a smart way, a subtle way. This will be far more effective than a big shouty 'BUY ME' style of post, no one likes having products shoved down their throat.
For instance, Barrio, a Shoreditch bar, posts photography such as this picture of a bartender making a cocktail and having a great time doing it. Their cocktails and cool space aren’t the main focus of the photo but those elements still come across...and in a really fun way!
Video content is a great way to get your users to engage with your profiles and products. Showing off your USPs in a video is likely to get your message across really effectively in an IRL (In Real Life) kind of way. Take a look at Wilson’s take on video content!
Advice style videos and vlogs also make ideal content. These will certainly position you as an expert in your field, making you appear knowledgeable and trustworthy, both of which are key in converting leads and developing a loyal customer-base. A great example of this would be food preparation videos. We’ve all experienced getting lost in them as we scroll on a Monday evening. Buzzfeed have been really smart about this, have jumped on the trend with a passion...and have been selling copious amount of recipe books as a consequence.
A fairly recent addition to the Instagram toolkit is the ‘story’ feature. They’re a post separate to the rest of the profile that are only available to view for 24 hours, similar to Snapchat. They’re great for more short lived messages to followers. You can use them to post photos, videos, boomerangs, polls and, if you have enough followers (10,000 being the minimum), you can even link them to parts of your website.
Check this out from SoulCycle:
GIFs in stories!
This brand new feature from Instagram allows you to put a little extra spice into your story by adding a GIF over the top, this is fun, trendy and definitely worth a shot! Shake Shack loves to use these GIFs...
Another new feature to make your stories precisely what you need them to be is the new type mode. Get your message across with pretty backgrounds and funky writing, and finish it off with a little emoji, sticker or GIF!
A final note...
This list is by no means exhaustive, but content ideas are only limited by what you and your team can think up! You should start by thinking about your industry, about your audience, your budget and your skills in-house and from there you can work out how to create the most effective content for your organisation, whether that be in-house or through an agency. You’d better get brainstorming!