Only two months after launching in 2010, Instagram had already amassed one million users. Less than a year later, they had already climbed to ten million users. Talk about a welcome solution to what is often seen as a saturated marketplace.
Today, Instagram boasts over three hundred million users. Recent research has also found that over 50% of individuals on Instagram follow brands on the platform.
All of the information above should lead marketers to one simple conclusion: Instagram has definite potential for engaging both B2B and B2C audiences.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of attending a session at Social Media Marketing World that included Matt Rozen, the Director of Social Media at Adobe and Jenn Beening, the Social Media Planner for San Diego Zoo Global. Both of these companies have done amazing things with their branded Instagram accounts and shared some very useful tips for other companies trying to improve their strategy for marketing their brand through Instagram.
5 Instagram Marketing Tips
#1 – Be More Interested in What Your Audience Creates
Especially when venturing out on a new platform where you don’t have a lot of experience, it can be easy to fall into the trap of only creating content about yourself. While Instagram can be a great place to show a behind-the-scenes look at your company, it should also focus on what your audience cares about and shares on Instagram.
Adobe for example, has dedicated a lot of their time and strategy to showcasing the amazing images that other members of the community has taken and then shared them with their followers. This serves a couple objectives. First, when a large company like Adobe publishes something, others take notice and this creates a great opportunity for the user whose photos were shared to increase their network. Second, they are able to curate some really awesome imagery that they would not otherwise have access to, which creates more value for their followers.
Below is an example of how Adobe has successfully executed this initiative:
#2 – Tell Stories in a Visual Way
A picture, or a video is often worth 1,000 words. We’ve all heard studies about how people learn and connect visually. Great visual content on platforms like Instagram present a great opportunity to tell stories that will engage people with your content.
The San Diego Zoo has (and takes advantage of) so many opportunities to tell the stories of the beings that they care for on a daily basis. Everything from stories about the most recent babies to join the world to interesting facts about sloths to draw in new visitors. Each image and video is touching in its own right and paints a picture of what sort of experience visitors will have when they go to the zoo.
Laughter is the best medicine. Molly had a difficult birth, so our keepers intervened and raised the young bonobo in our nursery before she was reintroduced to the troop. Bonobos are considered the most #endangered of the great apes, so every birth is extremely precious. #tbt #throwback #baby #bonobo #instacute #smile
A video posted by San Diego Zoo (@sandiegozoo) on
#3 – How to Plan Content for Instagram
Both representatives from Adobe and the San Diego Zoo gave great advice about how companies can go about tackling their content planning for Instagram.
The team from the San Diego Zoo takes a look at the upcoming week to see if there are any updates planned for release (events, baby animals being born, etc.) and they make sure to include those as image or video post on Instagram to correspond with the release. They also spend time curating user generated content and evergreen content that can be shared throughout the month. All of their posts are organized in Google Drive to create easy access for anyone that is involved in the process.
If they are working on a larger campaign, they’ll plan out the content much further in advance. An example is that of their upcoming 100th anniversary in May. Their goal is to cover 100 years at the San Diego Zoo and they’ve already begin reaching out to their community and begun asking them to share their experiences at the Zoo using the hashtag #SDZ100. They have a whole timeline they are creating for the 100 year anniversary and will be incorporating content from multiple sources to create the best user experience possible for their guests and followers.
#4 – Curating Content on Instagram
A large part of Adobe’s strategy is to publish curated or User Generated Content (as we covered in tip #1). A creative company like Adobe recognizes the opportunity that exists within their community of creative designers. They have an opportunity to tap into that creativity not only to feature their audience and get them more involved, but to provide some really killer content for the rest of their audience as well.
Much of the time that the Adobe team spends planning for Instagram content is used to curate the best of the best when it comes to visual content.
#5 – How to Effectively Manage Publishing & Engagement
When it comes to your approach for creating content on Instagram, the goal should always be quality over quantity. If you were faced with the option of publishing three mediocre posts a week or one impactful, creative post per week, which do you think would best serve the needs of your audience?
The content you publish on Instagram should be genuine, high quality and align with the needs of your audience.
When it comes to managing engagement on Instagram, branded hashtags are a great way to track how your audience is responding and resharing content. Additionally, with the quick access to Instagram on your smartphone, you can check, share and like information on the go that represents the brand in a positive light.
Instagram Marketing, Are You Prepared?
Instagram (like other social media platforms) is one that requires attention and creativity to not only capture new followers, but keep their attention on an ongoing basis. What have you found has worked (or not worked) with your approach to Instagram marketing?