Content marketers have mastered the art of promoting their brands on Facebook and Twitter, but some are still confused by Instagram. This highly-visual social network tends to attract younger audiences but continues to grow in popularity with almost all demographics. It seems impossible to ignore, but some brands aren’t sure how to use it.
It’s okay if you manage a highly-technical enterprise B2B brand. You can still use Instagram to promote your business and connect with potential clients. Here’s what you need to know about this social network and how you can creatively engage with users to grow your marketing efforts.
Know Before You Go: Instagram Facts
Instagram was launched in 2010 and rapidly took off in the following years. At first, most people assumed Instagram would be a fad. Like Snapchat, everyone assumed people would grow bored of sharing square photos with weird filters. However, in March 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion and started taking steps to increase its longevity. Today, many people prefer Instagram to Facebook, and use the app to connect with friends, brands, and influencers.
To give you an idea for Instagram demographics, the majority of users are between 18-29 years old. In fact, only six in 10 adults have Instagram accounts. Women are more likely to use the network, with 38 percent of women saying they have Instagram accounts compared to 26 percent of men.
This isn’t to say that a brand that targets older men should stay off Instagram, it simply means they need to be more targeted with their messaging. In 2017, 71 percent of US businesses used Instagram for marketing, and the network brought in an estimated $1.53 billion in ad revenue. If you’re not tapping into Instagram for your content marketing strategy then you’re already behind the curve.
Keep Your Message Top-of-Mind With Content
Image via Instagram by iamtheswimreaper
One of the main reasons brands use Instagram marketing is for keeping their message top-of-mind with users. While driving traffic is important (as well as generating sales), Instagram can be used to politely remind customers that you exist and they should pay attention to what you have to say.
A fantastic example of this is Water Safety New Zealand, an organization dedicated to keeping people safe in the water. They wanted to create a campaign to encourage people to stay safe this summer and take precautions to prevent drowning deaths. To achieve their goals, they created “The Swim Reaper,” a grim-reaper-like figure that hangs out on local beaches waiting for people to enter dangerous situations.
The Swim Reaper shares updates from his time on New Zealand’s beaches in visually striking photos. The account has more than 200,000 followers and is known for its dry, sarcastic tone. In particular, this campaign was meant to appeal to young men between the ages of 15 and 30. These beachgoers only account for 14 percent of the total population, but a third of all drowning deaths.
Every time someone sees the Swim Reaper or likes a photo on Instagram, water safety stays top-of-mind, effectively sharing Water Safety New Zealand’s message.
Change Up Digital Media Assets to Keep it Interesting
When most marketers think of Instagram, they think of smartphone photos shared with a creative filter, which makes them worry about sacrificing the professionalism of their brand. However, the network can be used to share a variety of visual content without damaging your brand integrity. A few common digital assets used on Instagram include:
- Infographics and Charts: if you want to drive traffic to your visual content or share an alarming statistic with followers, consider breaking out your charts and posting them online. These snippets will bring readers to your blog and make them hungry for more.
- Gifs: you don’t have to share clips of the Kardashians to tap into Gif-marketing. Consider turning your visual charts into Gifs to add motion to your content. This will make the posts more eye-catching and keep people interested.
- Mini-Explainer Videos: if you can showcase a product and how it works within a few seconds, then you can use Instagram. Almost any video can be Instagram-ready with a few edits and added subtitles.
Brands can have professional Instagram success if they visualize their content in engaging ways. Quality content is always interesting, even if it’s presented on an unconventional network.
Climb Into the Trenches With Instagram Stories
While branded visuals are great, you don’t always have to put your most-polished foot forward on Instagram. In fact, many brands use the channel to give their audience behind-the-scenes peeks of their organizations. For example, your brand could show your CEO reviewing his notes before speaking at a conference or walk followers through the production floor to see how your products are made.
The next time you’re out of the office, or just exploring your workplace, consider filming an Instagram story to add a personal touch to your brand. With a little creativity, your audiences can connect with your brand personality, and put faces to the names they interact with.
Tap Into Influencer Marketing
Instagram has become a hub for influencer marketing, with hundreds of brands reaching out to people with thousands of followers. In fact, the 50 most followed Instagram accounts have more than 2.5 billion followers. Currently, there are more than 14.5 million sponsored Instagram posts and brands are expected to spend $1.6 billion on influencer posts in 2018 (and $2.38 billion in 2019).
You don’t have to be a beauty brand to tap into influencer marketing on Instagram. While these types of products are certainly popular, influencers share everything from their insurance options to home energy decisions. Even B2B brands can tap into influencer marketing with a little creativity.
It’s okay if you don’t have a large Instagram presence. Influencer marketing can help you reach new people without having to rapidly grow your follower base.
Instagram success relies on planning and creativity. Once you have an idea of who you want to connect with and what digital assets you need, you can launch your marketing plan to drive traffic and engage with users. Don’t stress about using Instagram for content marketing. Take a deep breath, hone your creative strengths, and get ready to put your best filter forward.