A frivolous app for pictures it is not, as the team at IHC has been increasingly delivering success for clients in terms of leads, engagement and quick follower growth through the colourful world of Instagram.
An open forum for picture sharing, rather than the more private network of Facebook; Instagram is carving a niche for marketers to deliver success for brands that either have lots of pictorial content, or can align its communications with a picture-led campaign.
Take for example the #mycalvins campaign, which has beaten other brands ‘hands down’ in terms of generating engagement – not just within the obvious demographics, but across genders and age groups:
And look at Nissan Juke, who asked users to post a picture of themselves with the hashtag #JukeDNA, with lucky winners delighting in seeing their custom photo with the new car and enjoy being mentioned by a major top brand. Nissan received a huge amount of engagement and publicity through being creative and giving something back to followers. Content marketing really doesn’t need to break the bank:
While hashtags may have been popularised on Twitter, they are also proving powerful on Instagram. At IHC we are actually finding much more engagement through clever hashtagging on Instagram than Twitter (when there is no influence from celebrities).
Every time a piece of Instagram content is posted, it should be accompanied by a short message or caption and some select hashtags. The addition of hashtags help and disseminate the picture or video, allowing it to be found by those who you are targeting, who should care about what you are posting.
For example, an oil lubricant company will target those interested in motoring – otherwise, they would not care which brand of motor oil they use. The brand might post pictures of desirable cars, or pictures of users’ cars that have been tweeted in – using the hashtags #mycar #car #<brand> when it’s uploaded to Instagram.
Another clever aspect of Instagram is the hashtags work across platforms, so if someone shares your content on Facebook, Twitter, etc, the Instagram hashtag is also published. This gives your content a much higher chance of being discovered.
This means anyone – even those without large followings posting great content has a good chance of gaining the exposure it deserves. Particularly if you are using multi-channel means of promoting your posts and delivering consistency through your communications strategy.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using Instagram – hashtags should be used sparingly and need to remain relevant. Despite the fact up to 30 hashtags can be used you should really use no more than five and every post should include a short caption.
Larger brands and accounts with an impressive following will tend to create new hashtags relating to their brands, so it needs to be kept in mind they should remain generic enough in order to be related to the entire campaign. This can be particularly powerful when connected to an integrated PR campaign. When Adidas claimed it would ignore fans who engaged without using the #allin hashtag during the World Cup it generated a large amount of publicity to support the campaign. Clever PR and integrated campaigns like this can help hashtags create momentum more quickly. Of course, failure to use hashtags completely can close off your content on Instagram so it is only seen by people who follow you – where’s the fun in that?
And fun is definitely something you can have with your all-important rich media on Instagram. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t consider the use of the in-built filters and myriad filter apps that can quickly enhance the attractiveness of your photos and videos.
Any agency worth its salt with sell you on a series of simple but hugely effective short video clips that can essentially work as a commercial, promo, teaser, or sneak peak. The video feature on Instagram gives brands the ability to make their accounts more visual, personal, and engaging. Brands that are able to creatively use video on Instagram will always have an advantage – the number of Likes and interaction can soar with well-executed and interesting video clips.
We love Instagram and always encourage clients to use it unless there’s a good reason not to. No longer should you think of it as ‘just a picture app’, as in the social marketing world of rich media, it is quickly becoming a real powerhouse for getting your messages out there and pulling your target market in.
(by Paula Amantéa, social marketing consultant, IHC)
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