A growing number of marketers are tapping into the power of Instagram to tell their brand story. With features such as Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, and video uploads, Instagram offers plenty of ways to share a brand’s message to a large, yet targeted audience.
Instagram is a social media platform dominated by the digitally native millennial – 55% of all online 18-29 year-olds in the U.S. are active users. It has also emerged as the most engaging of social media platforms, with an engagement rate 58x more than Facebook and 129x times that of Twitter.
The social platform can be an economical way to build your brand’s reputation and following. A whole new generation of digital vertical brands (such as Glossier and MVMT Watches) have launched into stardom on Instagram, building cult-like followings and turning entire industries on their heads.
How do you build and tell your brand story on Instagram? To get started, here are five ways to create and showcase your unique brand story on the platform.
1. Provide a unique and engaging visual experience
Instagram is an inherently visual platform. Building a consistent and unique brand experience is essential to establishing your online brand identity.
There are certain photography tactics that every brand can leverage to create high-quality, high-performing Instagram photos. These include focusing on lighting, picking one central subject, looking for patterns, and not overdoing your filters. Apps such as VSCO or AfterLight can help with correcting lighting, exposure and more.
2. Share behind-the-scenes images of your brand, your people, and events
Millennials are the first generation to be truly open not only to receiving ads, but also to engaging and sharing them. To optimize on this generational characteristic, consider sourcing content from your customers. User-generated content, which in layman’s terms just means real customer photos and videos, can add transparency to your brand and its products. Using real images of your customers and your product “in the wild” can inspire sale: placing real customer photos on your website is proven to increase conversion by 2X. Why? 92% of customers trust their peers over your brand.
Consider arranging an Instagram takeover. Hand over the reins of your Instagram account to a social influencer who sports your brand and has a similar audience to attract the attention of their fans and followers. Showcasing your brand from a different angle might help to attract new customers and audiences.
3. Make use of Instagram Live and Instagram Stories
Instagram Live and Instagram Stories are two powerful features that allow you to deepen your connection with your followers and tell your brand story in a fun and more authentic way. Instagram has evolved into the place to post highly stylized, curated photos of “perfect moments.” With the introduction of these features, Instagram looked to “lower the bar for sharing all types of photos and video — and not just the carefully planned and painstakingly touched-up photographs that are typical of the service,” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram.
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Instagram Live or Instagram Stories can give a behind-the-scenes look at brand-sponsored events, office culture, or tutorials for your products. Try using Instagram or Snapchat stories to highlight current sales and highlighting customer photos.
4. Connect your Brand with a Cause
For a brand to thrive, it’s necessary for it to not only to align, but to embed itself into customer relationships that go beyond its product offering. What this means is: Don’t be afraid to support a cause. Millennials connect with brands that support the causes that they care about. Sixty-four percent say shared values is the main reason they have a relationship with a brand and 74% believe authentic brands are the ones that care about something greater than their bottom line.
Extra kudos if you can align yourself with a cause that your target audience cares about. In the outdoor industry, you hear a lot about ‘the tribe’ and culture of the community. Particularly, you hear about brands wanting customers to believe in what they stand for, not just to buy their products. Try not just to align, but to embed your brand into customer relationships that go beyond the product offering.
5. Use Instagram contests and campaigns
Photo contests are a powerful way for businesses to engage their customers. They are the fastest way to increase engagement on social media. While brands may decide to launch an Instagram marketing campaign for a variety of reasons (i.e., build a robust Instagram community, launch a new product, etc.) it is ultimately looking to increase brand awareness, customer engagement, and brand affinity.
In order to run a successful social media marketing campaign, be sure to:
- Set your campaign goals
- Choose your social networks
- Engage with participants
- Display collected content from participants
- Measure and analyze your campaign’s success
By analyzing your campaign’s submissions, you may uncover surprising new information, such as how your customers are actually using your products post-purchase, and accumulate valuable user-generated content to display across other marketing channels.
Instagram is an ideal social platform for building and telling your brand story in an engaging and authentic manner. Share high-quality photos and videos, create authentic behind-the-scenes content in real-time, connect with a cause you care about, and celebrate your customers by sharing user-generated content. Instagram offers the best means by which to humanize your brand and to extend your brand’s message to a highly engaged audience.