Instagram is a platform ruled by appearance and has changed quite a bit since its inception in 2010. It started out simply as a photo sharing app, with 1 million users and has grown rapidly over the years to become one of the most downloaded apps in the world. Instagram now has 1 billion users (and is still growing).
For brands, Instagram offers marketers immense opportunities to connect with their current and potential target audience; with 60% of users use Instagram to seek out new products and 80% of users follow a business. It’s not just a platform of aesthetics, it’s a place of business. Instagram is a chance for brands to get their goods and services in front of consumers using a variety of tools like, Instastories, promoted posts, insights, influencer marketing, etc. All these tools allow the brand to extend its reach and develop a look and voice that its audience can connect with.
Instagrammers like stories and you can use your account to tell your brand’s story; Foschini does this well. They strongly position themselves as brand that caters to the fashion and beauty needs of all women; from their account you see that they champion boldness, strength and diverse representations of beauty.
By having an Instagram account, marketers are able to create a culture around the brand and a holistic view of the brand to their audience. It’s about being human and showcasing who you are and why you do what you do. Everything about the way that the brand is presented on its Instagram page should be in line with the brands purpose. This is everything from the bio, hashtags that are utilized, to the type of content that is posted by the brand and brand ambassadors. Airbnb is a great example of a brand that tells its story well, Airbnb does this through user-generated content (USG). Their timeline is flooded with images that they have repurposed for marketing, to show off beautiful locations that their users are couchsurfing in. Their bio reads: Airbnb opens the door to interesting homes and experiences, even if it’s just for a night. Share your stories with @Airbnb. Book from our feed:abnb.co/instagram.
Through brand ambassadors and people who are just passionate about the brand, you can extend your reach beyond your immediate market. Which essentially means that you’re reaching more potential customers. Instagram is a way to direct traffic to your website, generate interest around a new product or service through organic and paid posts. A brand that’s been doing this well is Converse ZA; they use influencer marketing to infiltrate niche markets in South Africa, direct traffic to their stores and showcase their products worn and styled in different contexts.
Another brand that I’m impressed by is Adidas, through their NTWRK AREA3 platform Adidas engages South African creatives and influencers, by giving them merchandise to interpret creatively. This has resulted in a page full of eclectic and interesting content that showcases the clothes and sneakers in a manner that’s locally relevant.
Many brands have managed to use Instagram to market themselves successfully, drive sales and acquire new customers. To reiterate the above: if you use Instagram correctly, you will manage to build trust between the brand and the consumer, you create a culture around the brand and extend you reach into new markets. Instagram’s currently testing a new feature that will allow creators to share directly to their followers; which makes sense since 68% of people say they use the platform to connect with creators. Instagram is a lucrative space for brands and it’s just going to keep growing, as Instagram developers keep adding new ways to make the shopping experience more convenient and seamless.
Sources: Bigcommerce.com, Instagram business