As a company Instagram is fast becoming a necessity, we aim to learn from the best by examining how 5 companies are using Instagram marketing effectively.
Instagram is unique as a social network: the image-based platform encompasses positivity, enviable lifestyle influencers and above all a focus on the aesthetic.
And its reach? Enormous. In April Instagram hit an astounding 700 million monthly users, doubling its user base in two years. Social media marketing is a great, easy and free way to show a brand’s innovation, nurture and connect with your current customers or refresh a tired product line by building a new audience.
To put it another way: Instagram is a marketer’s dream. As a result, many businesses are seeing success on Instagram already, and many more are jumping on the bandwagon to show themselves as a Instagrammable lifestyle brand, one hashtag, emoji and boomerang at a time. All of this makes getting more Instagram followers more important than ever.
So which companies are doing Instagram right, and how? We take a look at the #crèmedelacrème of the Instagram Business world:
We couldn’t do a post about great Instagram accounts without mentioning Starbucks. Love or hate the overpriced coffee, from its Instagram-perfect Unicorn Frappuccino to its holiday cup hashtags that drive user involvement (remember that controversial red holiday cup?), it’s clear that Starbucks is well-deserving of its title as the top Fortune 500 company for Instagram engagement. Starbucks has carefully maintained its image-conscious brand appeal on its social media accounts, cultivating its current audience by retweets and reposts of images as well as jumping on trends to show awareness of its potential market.
A giant on the high street, e-commerce sites and now on social media, Nike is the second most-followed brand in the world on Instagram with 73 million followers. What does it have to thank? Well, it just so happens that Nike is the ideal Instagram brand, with their seamless blend of zeal, innovation, and fitness… or is that just what they want you to think? Regardless, Nike epitomises Instagram marketing with inspirational, current and seasonal campaigns in pictures and videos that show off products, drive involvement and get people inspired. As Business Insider points out, Nike’s spin-off accounts including @NikeWomen, @NikeFootball and @NikeRunning recognise a diversity in consumer demographic, and each profile has a markedly different feel.
Adobe uses its Instagram account to show the capability and versatility of its products in action. It exclusively posts designer work that has been created with Adobe products, simultaneously connecting with emerging designers to inspire audiences, driving engagement and encouraging use of #adobe hashtags to extend reach. Additionally, the company shows itself as a market leader in good design, and an innovator in technology by readily adapting to the social media platform - both concepts crucial to the company’s identity.
Reflecting the diversity of resonating content on Instagram, Old Spice of course uses its traditional blend of self-awareness and humour to connect with its social media audience. Old Spice enjoys an enormous reach through viral social media sharing of its tongue-in-cheek video campaigns. In 2015 Old Spice launched a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ game on Instagram, through tags that led users to various social media accounts and navigated through a maze which finally leads them to a joke about the marketing budget for the campaign. In this bold and innovative social media move, Old Spice exemplified the basis behind inbound marketing and its effectiveness - without directly pushing products, users are encouraged to spend more time with the brand and thus brand equity is made more valuable.
In a move that plays on the influx of beauty queens of Instagram, creates media hype for the company and directly benefits the business for free, in 2014 Marc by Marc Jacobs famously launched an open casting call over Instagram. Applicants were asked to use the hashtag #CastMeMarc, with the winner landing the new ad campaign. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there were upwards of 70,000 #CastMeMarc applications, with winners announced on the company’s Youtube channel which further cross-promoted Marc Jacobs’s social media channels. The competition and hashtag has been revived twice since, looking for beauty vloggers and groups of friends to depict the brand as fresh, young and diverse.
These companies recognise what works with social media marketing, not just what content resonates with their targeted demographics but also how to use a digital platform to its full (and free) potential. However, as business increasingly shifts into the online world, it’s important to remember that whilst the digital environment serves marketing in many ways, new capabilities are not necessarily a way to cut costs.SEO marketing, extended reach and a decreasing need for brick-and-mortar retail bring with them high competition, volatility and a constant threat to brand equity. With this in mind, marketers should turn their attention toward analysing their own industry risks and toward protecting their brand’s reputation and products online.