Telegrams, the Grammys, Kelsey Grammer—every era has its gram. For us, it’s Instagram.
Like the metric weight measurement, but faster, brands have cottoned on to the importance of this gram, and many of them are using it to bring in kilos of customer engagement. Instagram is set to surpass Twitter as a marketing platform in 2017.
So what does a brand have to do to turn Instagram into #winstagram? The answer is video. Maybe we’re biased because video is our bread and butter (…and filling and plate), but Instagram videos have a proven success rate for brands. Instagram Video allows users to post 15 second clips, filtered or unfiltered, with the option of editing them using the app’s inbuilt editor.
Make your videos useful
There are many ways to use Instagram video creatively to truly stand out from a feed of static (though expertly filtered) images. A picture tells a thousand words after all, and with videos moving at at least 24 frames a second, a single Instagram video can pack in the depth of an entire Tolstoy novel.
One brand churning out Russian classics on the daily is celebrity ‘naked’ chef Jamie Oliver. (Remember when he called himself that?) Oliver’s Instagram videos give followers entire recipes, delivered in a frantic 15-second segments.
Another brand using Instagram Video to its fullest is Now This News. The news channel condenses interesting news stories into short clips, complete with subtitles for those browsing Instagram without the sound on so their boss can’t hear them. These are examples of videos that hold up as useful entities on their own, unsupported by the brand they are attached to, which perhaps conversely will drive users to seek out more content from that brand, and maybe even make the odd purchase.
Sell Your Brand Culture
If your Instagram Videos just show your products with text like ‘BUY THIS NOW’ and ‘CLICK HERE TO SAVE £££’ superimposed, you are doing it wrong. As a social platform, and an image-based one at that, Instagram is all about capturing your brand’s culture, thus adding appeal to your brand when customers encounter it in a retail or service environment.
Share video that give customers a peek behind the curtain (literally if you run a theatre, metaphorically if you don’t) into the culture of your company, or into the kind of lifestyle you want customers to associate with your brand.
Fans of sportswear and arguments about pronunciation everywhere would have seen that 60% of Nike’s Instagram content was lifestyle-based last year, over the marketing (and directing) standard of calls-to-action. Traditional product photos were thrown aside in favour of lifestyle photos and videos that happened to include the products. Sort of like TV product placement but on the product’s own show.
As brands like Nike have found, this method of Instamarketing is the most effective.
Smash the hashtags
It’s all well and good creating great videos for Instagram, but there’s no point doing it if no one will see them. That’s where hashtags come in.
Using hashtags outside of Twitter or Instagram is pretty #basic at this point. We’re hoping our ironic detachment helps us pull it off, but you’d be forgiven for getting #annoyed that we keep #usinghashtags. So we’ll #stop.
Despite how infuriating they are when used obnoxiously, hashtags are as crucial to an Instagram marketeer’s arsenal as Mesut Ozil is to the Arsenal.
Popular hashtags like #love and #tbt are useful for increasing impressions and potentially picking up new followers, but to bring in new fans and customers you need to use tags that are relevant to your industry or service, or even specific to your own company.
Your brand hashtag doesn’t have to be the same as your brand name. Instead it can be your tagline, or something else people will associate with your business. KitKat’s hashtag #HaveABreak is very popular among eaters of the chocolate-coated wafers and enthusiasts of the Ross & Rachel relationship model.
It is also important to keep on top of trending hashtags. If anything relevant to your brand starts trending, it’s time to get involved with something funny and creative, preferably sneaking in your brand hashtag to pick up new followers.
Use Instagram Stories
Okay, we know Instagram Stories is a huge rip off of Snapchat, but Instagram Stories can actually be quite useful for brands.
Brands are using Instagram Stories to bring followers closer to products, sharing longer, more in depth lifestyle content with their brand at the forefront. Yoga clothing brand Beyond Yoga has done this.
Instagram Stories has also driven brands to ignore our second piece of advice and post text-based videos with calls-to-action in them. Pacific Northwest Wonderland have seen success with this. Video-wise, it is still a weaker tactic, and it does less to build your brand. But Stories does allow you to post time-sensitive special offers, driving sales and engagement directly and quickly among those who already follow you.
Keep all of these tips in mind and you will be winning the marketing InstaGrammy in no time.