The Ultimate Guide To Instagram Marketing

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Instagram: The New Era of Visual Marketing

Instagram.

You’ve heard of it.

I’ve heard of it (duh, right?).

Your 90-something-year-old neighbour with 11 cats has probably heard of it (and she probably Instagrams pictures of her 11 cats in 11 little outfits).

For those of you who haven’t (seriously?) –

Instagram is a content-driven social media site for mobile users to share updates, photos and – now – videos.

Released in 2010, the mobile app has taken the world by storm.

In fact, it has completely redefined how we think of social networking, content, and – now – marketing.

For users looking to quickly share content and connect with like-minded people, Instagram is unrivalled.

For marketers looking to engage users with their brands and products, Instagram is quickly proving itself to be one of the most powerful forces in content-driven marketing today.

Has it always been this way?

Nope.

In fact, Instagram’s marketing potential early on was limited.

Only over the last three years has it truly proved itself as a channel for marketers to truly excel.

Early Days: A World of Images

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Credit: LinkHumans.com

No brand hits one million users in three months by accident.

Instagram is no exception to that.

With a release of 6th October 2010, Instagram arrived at an opportune time.

The iPhone 4 was just releasing – and with it a camera good enough to all but annihilate the point-and-shoot market.

Stunning sunsets.

Travel snaps.

Tasty meals.

Social outings.

Instagram’s trendy filters paired with smartphone camera technology was a winning combination.

The app quickly became THE happening place to share visual content on the web.

And its exponential growth over a few years all but proved it.

 

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 “Instagram’s exponential growth 2011-2013.”

Source: Macstories.net

What drove Instagram’s initial success was its focus on a few core, exceptionally-designed features.

In comparison to Facebook’s clunky, feature-stuffed mobile app, Instagram allowed users to take pictures, add filters, and share and engage with their social network with ease.

Where Twitter let users share what they’re thinking, Instagram allowed users to share what they were seeing.

This elegant simplicity drove the app’s success and quickly placed Instagram amongst the essentials for tech-savvy millennials around the globe.

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in April 2012 proved that the app was a force to be reckoned with.

How much was the acquisition? $1 billion.

That’s $1,000,000,000.

$1 billion…for an 18-month-old start-up of 13 employees.

This opened Instagram up to a whole new audience, with users shooting up from 50 million to 100 million in less than six months.

And this was just the beginning.

2013-Now: The Era of Marketing

But users were pushing for more.

Specifically, marketers were pushing for more.

Instagram’s elegance – while ideal for a great user experience – limited the flexibility of the platform for advertising and brand promotion.

And Instagram evolved to meet these changing needs.

The era of over-saturated selfies and caramel latte snaps was quickly coming to an end.

The introduction of 15-second Instagram videos in 2013 spelled a new era for Instagram – the era of marketing.

What makes Instagram’s videos such a useful tool for marketers?

They’re…

  • Mobile-based (and so budget-friendly)
  • Quick, convenient, and easy to edit
  • Easy to tap into thousands (or millions) of relevant, engaged users
  • Shareable on a wide range of platforms – including Twitter and Facebook
  • Great for attention-deficit millennials (with a 15-second limit)

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Instagram’s video feature proved to be both popular with users – and a widely successful marketing tool for brands and businesses.

Later in the year – in November 2013 – Instagram introduced sponsored advertising.

While limited, at first, the feature is helping to redefine Instagram as a tool for marketing.

And the results all but confirm that a huge shift is underway in the world of social media advertising.

From 2013-2014, the number of US businesses using Instagram for marketing purposes nearly doubled (from 18% to 32%). In 2017, Instagram is projected to edge out Twitter as a marketing platform for U.S-based companies.

Why You Should Use Instagram For Marketing Today – Not Tomorrow

So where does that leave you – the drive, tech-savvy marketers of the world?

A good place.

In fact, a splendid place.

Instagram is at the turning point of becoming the most compelling content and social media marketing tool in the world.

In this transitory phase, becoming an ‘influencer’ as quickly as possible will spell the difference between a trickle of conversations and raging success on the internet’s most happening space.

Not convinced?

Here are some key reasons to hop on board the Instagram train.

Connect With The World’s Most Engaged Users

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“Instagram’s user interactions with brands.“

Source: blogs.forrester.com

Instagram users are 58 times more likely to like, share or comment on a brand post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users – according to a Forrester study.

That’s huge.

With such levels of engagement – you’re perfectly poised to get more conversions from your marketing efforts.

Not only that, with the right content, you’ll have a better chance of creating brand advocates on the platform for further your interests.

Win win!

Develop Trust and Community

With over 300 million users, Instagram is more than just a social media site.

It’s a global community.

If you’re not a part of that community, you’re voluntarily excluding yourself.

Not only does that mean missed engagement and conversions, but it also means you’re undermining the trust of potential customers.

“They’re not on Instagram? Why not?”.

Users will often search Instagram for brands before turning to Google.

That’s why it’s key to passing their vetting process – and establish a presence on the platform as soon as possible.

The World Is Becoming Mobile-Centric

With nearly 2 billion worldwide mobile users, mobile is quickly overtaking desktops.

What does that mean for you – the marketers? Well, mobile marketing is more important than ever.

And with 90% of mobile user’s time spent on applications (like Instagram) – establishing yourself in these spaces is essential.

Honing your marketing efforts for Instagram will mean you’ll continue to reap the rewards as more and more mobile users join the community.

Visual Content Marketing

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Content marketing.

It’s been the buzzword on the tip of every online marketer’s tongue for a few years now.

So, what is it?

Simply – the concept of content marketing centres on providing ‘value’ to readers.

In return, consumers will rewards brands with their loyalty, potentially becoming customers and – in the most desirable situation – advocates, singing their praises far and wide across the internet.

Visual content marketing is…well, exactly that.

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Comics

All fit the bill of visual content that can be used for marketing purposes.

The advent of the internet drove visual content to the forefront.

But it wasn’t until the rise of social media that brands truly took advantage of visual content as a marketing opportunity.

As our attention spans dwindle, and long-form sales emails and pages become an antiquated marketing strategy, visuals are quickly becoming more and more impactful.

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 “Humans are intrinsically visually wired”

Source: Visual Website Optimizer blog

But this isn’t entirely new.

While we’ve been reading and writing for a couple of millennia, we’ve been stimulated by visuals for the entire history of our species.

Like hunger, fear and lust, visual stimulation is deeply embedded in our psyche.

When something’s so integral to the human experience – it’s a no-brainer for marketers to jump at the opportunity to take advance of it.

The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.”

Social media platforms such as Instagram are tapping into a primal tendency in each and every one of us – explaining the explosive success of the site.

Brands – Nike, GoPro, Oreo – are creating a potent cocktail of engaging visuals and storytelling that’s just dying to be shared.

Take the below image as an example:

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Humorous yet appealing visuals?

Check.

Witty, puntastic text?

Check.

Oreo’s miniature cookie landscapes drew hundreds of thousands of likes, comments and shares.

No wonder.

Posts like these are a great example of visual content marketing at its finest.

The message – while witty – takes less than 2 seconds to understand, and the content’s humour and brand appeal make it infinitely shareable.

There’s no doubt Oreo’s Instagram followers is continually on the rise with this calibre of content.

Now, take the following as another example:

 

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Pretty terrible, right?

The dodgy, click bait title and complete lack of engaging visuals just beg to be avoided.

Brands looking to market online in 2015 needs to get a lot of things right – earn trust, offer value, create share-ability and advocacy.

However, even if an all-text post or advert has the potential to achieve all of these – it means absolutely zilch if it isn’t read.

Utilising visual content marketing is a surefire way to capture your readers attention, quickly communicate information, and drive brand interaction and advocacy across popular social media platforms.

Growing Your Instagram Following

Building your following on Instagram properly does more than simply increase your social reach on the platform.

Growing your following the right way will significantly increase not only potential conversions but increase the number of brand advocates who will spread the word of your cause.

Integrate Facebook With Instagram

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After Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, the two social platforms have offered a greater deal of compatibility for users.

Integrating Facebook with Instagram is an easy way to rejuvenate your Facebook page with fresh content and open your pages to new audiences.

When it’s such a simple thing to do, it’s a no-brainer.

Integrating…

  • Expands your Facebook and Instagram following
  • Hashtags are active and reach users on both Instagram and Facebook
  • Provide your followers with more choice
  • Offer fresh, relevant, user-generated content to your Facebook users

How To Integrate Facebook & Instagram

Luckily, the process is made easy, with Facebook and Instagram both offering integration functions.

Here’s how:

  1. On Facebook, type ‘Instagram’ into the top search bar. Select the Instagram under ‘Apps’ entitled ‘Instagram feed for your fan pages’.
  2. Click the blue button entitled ‘Go To App’ – this will install the Facebook Instagram application.
  3. Allow permission for the Instagram app. Click the blue button ‘Allow’.
  4. Select the pages you want the Instagram app to appear on. Complete the process by clicking ‘Add Instagram feed tab’. Repeat the whole process to add the tab to multiple pages.
  5. A login window will appear. Fill in your Instagram account information, and click ‘Login’. Instagram is now available on your selected Facebook page.

See Facebook’s official guide for a variety of other integration options.

Using Instagram Hashtags Effectively

Food Glooby – A Positive Example

With over 400 million users, it’s clear that bringing attention to your content – no matter how hilarious, relevant or useful it is – can be a challenge.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do – and hashtags are one of them.

Hashtags help you reach a wider audience of relevant Instagrammers – and increase your following.

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Nice image, right?

Sure.

But without the use of relevant hashtags, the post will be limited to Food Glooby’s followers.

Hashtags – #healthyeating, #foodporn, #food and #foodphotography – open the post to a wide variety of Instagrammers browsing exactly those categories.

See below:

 

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With the added hashtags, Food Glooby exponentially increases its potential for new relevant, engaged followers.

With the small effort it takes, it’s idiocy to not make use of hashtags on Instagram.

How To Add Hashtags On Instagram

It’s simple. Let’s add it here, anyway:

  1. Add your photo or video. Choose a filter.
  2. Add hashtags to ‘caption’ after your actual caption (if you have one).
  3. You can also add hashtags to your post’s comments.
  4. Quickly find related hashtags on Tags For Likes or trending hashtags on Websta.

Tips straight from the horses mouth.

Some popular Instagram hashtags: #love #me #tbt #cute #photooftheday #happy #beautiful #fun #food.

How many hashtags should you be using?

Refer to the graph below (courtesy of Bufferapp.com):

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Interactions (y-axis) increased exponentially when hashtags reach 11 (x-axis).

Simply put – for more followers and interactions – use 11-15 relevant, carefully chosen hashtags.

If you feel this is a little spammy (it can be) – use 2-4 highly relevant, selected hashtags for your post.

Getting The Most From Hashtags

So, we’ve learned how to add hashtags (easy, right?).

But how do we maximise the effect of hashtags?

Here are some tips that’ll get you started.

Be Relevant!

To get the full benefit from hashtags, they need to be relevant.

When you’re posting food images – use #food, #foodporn, #picoftheday, etc.

DO NOT use #smile #nature #cute.

Irrelevant, spammy hashtags will do no favours to your brand image.

Take the below example:

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Look at the number of hashtags. 30 – Instagrams limit.

That’s far too many – it comes across as desperate.

And they’re not relevant to the image (a repeating whale pattern?).

There’s no surprise that the image has zero interactions.

Tap Into Trends

Social media – especially Instagram – moves quickly, and is driven by trends amongst its user base.

Keeping up-to-date with these trends is vital to stay relevant on the ever-changing platform.

Keep up-to-date with the most popular, trending hashtags on Websta.

Take advantage of trending popular and unknown hashtags – but only if they’re relevant.

If you abuse irrelevant trending hashtags – things could end, well…terribly.

Instagram’s user base is intelligent, engaged, and loves great down-to-earth content.

Give them what they want.

And remember – you’re human!

Act like it.

 

Users will only support brands that fit with their ideals.

Spamming 30 irrelevant hashtags simply don’t look natural – and will limit the number of prospective followers you have.

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Engaging Your Ideal Audience

With over 400 million users on Instagram, it’s clear that bringing relevant users your content – no matter how hilarious, relevant or useful it is – can be a challenge.

Luckily, there are some clever techniques you can make use of to build a highly relevant audience on the platform.

 

Know Your Industry & Your Competition

Never has this age-old advice been more relevant.

Instagram is complex, ever-changing, and is filled with eager brands vying for their audience’s attention.

Developing an intimidate understanding of your industry and your competition is vital.

Follow Hashtags (Events and Interests) – Being active and engaged in relevant spaces is important – and industry events and interests are an important part of that. Don’t simply follow these hashtags, however.

  • Engage with competitors.
  • Engage with users.
  • Like, comment, and offer value – tips, advice, content, or otherwise.

Analyse Competitor’s Profiles – What are your competition doing well?

  • What are they doing badly?
  • See how their followers respond to different content.
  • Visit active user’s profiles and engage with them – prove to them that your brand is more interesting, engaged and beneficial – but show, don’t tell.
  • Steal them from your competitors.

Follow, Regram and Empower Your Audience – These are the obvious ways to engage with the Instagram community.

  • Engage with relevant users – but remember to offer value.
  • Regram, the best posts, provide helpful tips and comments and share interesting content.

Creating Awesome Relevant Content

Instagram is driven by content.

Naturally, it makes sense – as a marketer – than you make sure the content you create is as effective as possible.

Creating content that is funny, poignant or useful is key – content that engages with your ideal audience.

Here are some tips.

The Idea

  • Don’t just post content that’s visually appealing.
  • Post content that embodies your brand, and connects with your audience uniquely.

 ‘Behind The Scenes’ – Show what life is like in your world – it helps humanise your ‘brand’ – building trust in the process.

  • Pictures in the office, at events, and of your surrounding community all work well – don’t be afraid of getting in front of the lens, either.
  • Bonus points for funny, unusual, or creative pictures.
  • Hubspot is great for showing their office lifestyle through images.

Timely Event Coverage – Like Wendy’s, you can take advantage of events creatively to promote your brand or products.

When there’s already a social buzz, it makes sense to ‘piggyback’ on that buzz.

Whether it’s a sports event, something in politics, or a holiday – it’s all fair game.

Show Your Products – Ideally, show your customer’s enjoying your products – like GoPro.

Don’t have products?

Show us where the magic happens.

Even a well-taken photo of your offices in work can be appealing and interesting.

Contests/Giveaways – Posting designed images of competitions and giveaways is a great way to stimulate engagement from your Instagram following.

Luckily, Instagram’s platform is perfectly poised for it.

Take Oxfordshop as an example:

 

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This simple competition is a powerful method to attract both traffic and potential conversions to Oxfordshop’s website, as well as boosting their own exposure and following on Instagram with the ‘like/share’ instructions.

It’s a win-win. Instagram is also perfectly poised for impactful deals like this.

Editing

Filters – Photos with filters receive 21% more views.

That doesn’t mean you have to go overboard.

Use filters that mildly increase the brightness and warmth of your images.

Examples:  Earlybird, Mayfair, Amaro, Rise and Valencia.

Exposure – Amp up the brightness a little more than the darkness – lighter images gain 24% more likes than darker images.

Colour – Avoid ‘oversaturating’ your images.

Slightly bluer/colder images are 24% more popular than red, overly warm images.

Cropping – Make sure images are entirely ‘symmetrical’ or asymmetrical’ – no in betweens.

Keep photos even.

Try to follow the rule of thirds.

Crop out anything that distracts from the main subject.

For more tips, check out this nifty infographic.

Apps

Basic Editing – Afterlight, Snapseed.

Functionality – VSCO Cam, Camera+.

The Caption

It’s ‘just’ a caption, right?

Guess again.

Your caption is a vital part of the message you’re conveying to your audience.

Here are some key tips to creating a highly-effective caption for your Instagram posts.

Tell a story – Brands like GoPro and General Electric always include a fascinating story relevant their brand, the image, and the community at large (e.g. if the image is user-generated).

Share information that’s funny, surprising, insightful, or inspiring.

Keep it short and sweet.

Use a CTA – It’s a waste not to include a CTA with each post.

Ask your community a relevant question.

Tell them to share relevant content.

Send them to a relevant page or hashtag.

Their options truly are endless – and will depend on your brand and the post itself.

Inspire, Entertain, Provoke – Whether it’s an inspiring quote, a funny ‘behind the scenes’ story, or surprising details, write a caption that makes an impact on your audience.

Don’t be afraid to surprise or push boundaries (don’t go overboard).

Top Marketing Tools For Instagram

Marketing on Instagram without tools is like…digging a 10-foot hole with your hands or riding a horse bareback – unnecessarily challenging.

Luckily for you, Instagram – being one of the most popular social media sites today – has a huge range of support from third party developers.

We give you the rundown on what you need to use to optimise your Instagram marketing experience.

Account Management

IconoSquare

Created in France, IconoSquare is an account management solution to help you organise and analyse Instagram information.

Honestly, it’s priceless.

With features like a viewer, analytics, manage and promote, not only can you keep creating and keep tracking of all of your engagements – you can also analyse what’s working and what isn’t, and quickly promote your content.

Viewer

After you log in with your Instagram details, you’ll be welcomed by the ‘Viewer’ page.

This is where your feed of Instagram content exists.

You can sort this by your followers, your media, what’s popular, and more.

Analytics

This is where the exciting stuff happens.

The Analytics page allows you an insight into how well your content is doing a wide range of metrics:

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Look to the bottom right for true analytics gold, however.

There, you’ll be able to break down – in detail – your content and engagement performance – down to what hashtags are working, when you should and shouldn’t be posting content, and more.

And it’s all laid out in pretty graphs and tables.

Neat, huh?

Promote

This is where the creative stuff happens.

Link your Instagram account to Facebook, create cover photo collages, photo galleries, RSS feed and follow button code, and much, much more.

Expert Tip: Look at the ‘brand’ and ‘influencers’ index on the ‘Analytics’ page to see the most relevant, popular accounts on Instagram.

Look at what their posting and how they’re engaging – and learn from them.

Other Tools

Agorapulse – A great ‘all-in-one’ management suite that includes Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Follow and respond to social engagement and quickly create stunning charts and graphs on your performance.

Collec.To – Minimal and basic, this is a solid option for those looking for a simple rundown of their social content stats on Instagram.

Analytics & Reporting

Gaining an insight into your performance in Instagram is vital.

Without analytics data, you’re left blind – constantly testing out what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s a rundown of the top analytics tools.

Curalate

Active across Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, Curalate provides users with a powerful solution to tracking the performance and conversions of posts, create hashtag campaigns, find posts and content relevant to their brands, and seamlessly engage with other users.

 

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Source: Damionbrown.com

Starting at $12,000 per year, it isn’t cheap.

However, for the serious Instagram marketer, the price is worth it for the insights the tool provides.

SimplyMeasured

Calling themselves the ‘world’s best social analytics’, Simply Measured, if anything, is confident.

But it has every right to be. Covering Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vine, Pinterest and Instagram, it’s one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching analytics tools out there.

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Source: Damionbrown.com

Simply Measured also offer a ‘free 2-month report’.

This report includes a rundown of your posts, comments and general engagements – and what performs best and worst.

You have to jump through a few hoops to get it, but it’s more than worth the effort.

Social Rank

100% free, (yippee!),

Social Rank allows you to develop a better understanding of your audience – sort your followers by their top posts, most liked content and most used hashtags.

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Source: Social Rank

Most importantly, Social Rank allows you to engage with your audience better.

Understanding their habits and preferences means you can optimise the content you post to tick their boxes and drive positive engagement.

Other Tools

Squarelovin

Totems

Tag Sleuth

Automation

With multiple social media accounts and – potentially – multiple Instagram accounts – time is precious, and automation quickly becomes a marketer’s most valuable asset.

Here’s a rundown of the top tools that’ll make your Instagram experience simpler and time-efficient.

Schedugr.am

With Schedugr.am, you can schedule posts directly from the web rather than your phone – a rather unique, useful feature.

Supporting multiple accounts, it’s the minimalistic scheduling tool that’ll make your Instagram experience far easier.

 

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Source: Kimgarst.com

What’s particularly great about the tool is the ability to schedule multiple posts in bulk at different times.

The convenience of posting from your laptop/desktop is any marketers dream.

Schedugr.am even includes built-in editing tools for a more convenient scheduling experience.

Instagress

Instagress is an interesting tool.

It’s literally an automated bot that likes, comments and follows based on set parameters (hashtags, geolocations, etc.).

For some of us – the thought of using bots to do our dirty work is off-putting and unethical.

For others, it’s a valuable, time-friendly way to increase their engagement.

IMAGE_17 Source: Instagress.com

Whatever your opinion on the matter, Instagress works.

It can seriously increase your social engagement and followers.

But it’s not without risks of awkwardness… (see this post for some hilarious mishaps).

Archie

Another automated engagement tool, while Archie has fewer features than the likes of Instagress, it is a much more affordable alternative, running at $19/month.

Archie – simply put – allows you to input hashtags.

The tool will then automatically like posts found under those hashtags.

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Does it work?

Certainly.

Over at 1099-Mom, they received 200 new followers in a week – simply from Archie’s automated liking.

The great thing about limiting activity to liking is your feed rather than following is your feed won’t be filled with spam posts, and you avoid embarrassing automated comments.

Other Tools

FollowLiker

Latergram.me

The Most Effective Brands On Instagram

As Instagram’s popularity has skyrocketed, there have been a few wildly successful brands that have dominated the visual sharing platform.

Nike, Starbucks, GoPro, Victoria’s Secret – all are among the most popular brands.

From stunning content to phenomenal social engagement, there are a few things that the most successful brands on Instagram get right.

We’re going to look at a few of them.

GoPro

There’s no brand that screams and shouts ‘adventure’ more than GoPro.

With over 7 million followers, it’s clear they’re doing something right on Instagram.

And that success is increasing exponentially:

IMAGE_19 Source: Trackmaven.com

From April to December 2014, their image interactions nearly doubled – from 110,000 to 200,000.

That’s an exponential increase.

With such levels of growth, GoPro must be doing something exceptionally right.

Let’s look at their content:

 

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Notice something interesting?

Out of these nine posts, not a single image or video includes their products.

Every post does a lot more than that – it captures a certain lifestyle.

It says “look at the awesome lives our customers are having with our products. Join us when you’re ready.”

Almost all their content is user-generated, submitted to GoPro.com.

And their ‘Photo of the Day’ competition keeps fresh content pouring in.

“Our products in the hands of our customers enable compelling, authentic content that organically increases awareness for GoPro and drives demand for our products.” – GoPro

Look at competitors – Nikon, Canon, Sony.

They have a fraction of GoPro’s followers.

GoPro defines themselves by directly showcasing how their products fit into the lives of their customers.

Let’s look at their interaction:

 

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Fascinating, user-generated content?

Tick.

A vivid, enthralling story to go along with it?

Tick.

GoPro includes a short story, a shout-out to the photographer, and relevant hashtags along with each post.

Not only that, they include a call-to-action (be it to submit new content, enter a competition, or follow a hashtag).

And it’s always relevant to the content – you won’t see any sales-talk here.

GoPro does a great job of staying genuine and relevant – all the while posting awesome content.

Key Takeaways

  • Sell the sizzle, not the steak – demonstrate the benefits of your products rather than the products themselves
  • Empower your community – let the users share your content – and reward them with shout-outs, competitions and deals
  • Use subtle CTAs – even on Instagram – a call-to-action is necessary. GoPro points directly to related competitions, deals, or their website, increasing traffic and conversions in the process.

General Electric

If there’s a brand you’d never imagine being wildly successful on Instagram, it’d be General Electric.

The multinational conglomerate has its fingers in many pies – energy, engineering, healthcare, finance – the list goes on.

Pretty boring, right?

Guess again:

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GE offer an exciting take on science and industry.

Stunning, high-quality images and close-ups of technology, industry and science behind-the-scenes contribute to a sense of wonder and inspiration.

A mix of original and user-generated content, GE doesn’t just post pretty images.

It engages users with a compelling story:

 

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On the day of the above post, GE gained 2,910 new followers – a 4,619% increase in their usual new followers each day.

A user comment summarises it nicely – “if they can build this, how good is your new washer going to be?”.

GE take full advantage of the awe and wonder their products generate.

“We love the idea that Instagram lets us share this intersection of science and technology, but doing it from a very visual, artistic point of view. When you’re as complicated as GE, how you tell the story and how you bring the company to life is incredibly important.” – Linda Boff, General Electric

And they realise that people are interested in science and technology – just not the nerdy details.

They give their users exactly what they want. This extends to their competitions and engagement, too.

Called ‘Instagrapher’, GE’s most popular competition has Instagrammers photograph something within three of GE’s areas.

Entries have to tag their posts #GEInspiredME.

The winner is dubbed GE’s ‘official photographer’, and gets to tour GE’s facilities all around the world:

 

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Not only do competitions like this increase brand engagement and reputation, but it also provides GE with thousands of free, user-generated content for their use.

It’s a win-win.

You can see a clear distinction between a brand that simply reposts dull content and one like General Electric.

The latter has truly captured the ‘essence’ of who they are – and understands what their audience’s interests and desires.

The content they produce sits in that perfect sweet spot in between.

Successful brands have an intimate understanding of their own identity – and their customers.

Only by understanding these two integral things will you truly be able to inspire and engage with your audience effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Get personal – show your brand or company from an intimate, unseen perspective to interest your audience and win their trust
  • Tell a story – like GE’s competitions, tell a story about your company and your products – and don’t be afraid to involve your audience
  • Think differently – aviation engines? Who would have known? There are beauty and fascination to be found in the most ordinary and obscure things – sometimes it takes a little thought and creativity to find it

Concluding Thoughts

Instagram is a fascinating platform where users dictate the content they create and are exposed to.

As a marketer, connecting with your target audience is consequently an exciting challenge.

The process is entirely creative – as you learn, adapt and evolve your brand on one of the most impressive social media platforms around.

In case you missed anything, here are some key takeaways from this article:

  • Realise the importance of visual content – and place a renewed focus on this in your marketing efforts
  • Use only relevant, up-to-date hashtags for each post (between 2-12 – more is spammy)
  • Learn from your competition and your ideal customers, observe the content they share / like, and either match or improve on that content
  • Continually engage – like, comment and share on posts, focusing on the quality and relevance of each interaction
  • Offer value through each post – be it a competition, an entertaining thought, or inspiring story (remember to include a CTA in each post!)
  • ‘Growth hack’ your page with handy tools such as IconoSquare, Curalate, Schedugr.am and Instagress
  • Follow the most successful brands on Instagram – Oreo, Nike, GoPro, General Electric – and learn from their success (don’t be afraid to ‘borrow’ ideas!)

If you have any thoughts, comments or questions, feel free to post them below.

Marketing on Instagram is a hefty subject, and I’d be happy to offer any tips or advice to get you on your way to becoming an influential brand on the world’s most exciting social platform. 

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