Modern-day marketers have a wealth of means at their disposal for promoting brands. Pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, content marketing, and especially social media, can all work towards increasing the presence of a particular brand in the mind of the consumers. Ideally, one should use all available channels of interaction to promote a brand, but sometimes you simply lack the resources to do so. In situations like these, it’s often more cost-effective to pick a single approach, and stick with it until you exhaust all the branding possibilities it has to offer.
In the past few years, Instagram became one of the most commonly used marketing tools, and for good reason:
- in just 7 years, Instagram has acquired 800 million users
- there are over 2 million active advertisers on Instagram
- 80% of users follow a business on Instagram
- 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded
- Instagram’s advertising revenues are projected to reach $6.8 billion by the end of 2018
If these statistics are anything to go by, Instagram is well on its way to becoming the leading branding platform on the market. This makes it a perfect choice for businesses with a limited marketing budget looking to get the best possible return on their investment. With that being said, as is the case with every branding effort, success is not automatically guaranteed. Instagram campaigns can underperform or backfire, same as any other promotional strategy, so it’s up to the marketers to come up with an approach that works.
Instagram Branding 101
Lets go over some of the basics of using Instagram for branding purposes. At its core, Instagram is a much simpler platform to use than Facebook or LinkedIn. Its main function is to host user-created images and video, in addition to offering rudimentary search, comment, and chat features. As you might expect, the content is the star of the show here. People use Instagram to get their daily dose of selfies, cat memes, and food-porn images, and they will start following your brand if you can provide the goods they are looking for. Since there are millions of content creators competing against each other to provide the aforementioned material, you need to narrow down the scope of what you are offering to stand a chance at attracting a decent following. So before you start uploading, make sure you have gone through the following steps:
1. Set Your Goals
All forms of digital marketing are driven by metrics. You need to have a set of quantifiable goals you want to accomplish before you start, so you can keep track of progress and make any necessary adjustments along the way. The most important metrics to take into account are the number of followers you have, and how engaged they are with your content, as measured by the number of likes and comments.
2. Find Your Target Audience
Once you have decided on the goal for your Instagram branding campaign, it is time to find the people that are going to help you achieve it. Think about the kind of person that would be interested in your brand, and try to figure out what kind of content they would like to see from you. Take a look at the profiles of people that are following your competitors if you are not sure where to start.
3. Decide on the Tone
After figuring out who your audience is, you should start working on producing the right kind of content for them. Begin by figuring out the tone of your content, i.e. the kind of feeling you wish to engender in your audience. Some brands take a more whimsical approach, some try to be more informative, others try to be edgy in order to provoke a reaction.
4. Pick a Look
Your choice of tone should determine the overall aesthetics of your content. Certain styles and techniques are better at expressing particular moods – monochrome photos evoke a sense of nostalgia, comic strips are great for producing a laugh, etc. Make sure to implement the style you decide to go with consistently, as this will go a long way in showing that your brand means business.
5. Create Content
Finally, put all your ideas into practice and create content that your audience will enjoy consuming. If you find that people are not responding as well as you have hoped, repeat the whole process from the beginning until you make something that works. If you are satisfied with the results, there are some additional optimizations you can make to get the most out of your content, which we will explore in the following chapter.
Going a Step Further
Your Instagram branding campaign can be further enhanced by working in tandem with other branding strategies. Here are two of them which don’t take much additional effort to implement, while offering a good ROI.
Improve your aesthetics
If your company is selling products and services, your branding strategy likely involves creating visually appealing designs for things like packaging, stickers, office supplies, and the like. Make sure to get on the list of the best package designs in the business, then cement your advantage further by snapping a few photos of the latter and posting them on your Instagram account. This can work equally well for all kinds commodities, provided they have inherent aesthetic appeal.
Get in Touch With Influencers
In terms of social networking functionality, Instagram is fairly limited. Nonetheless, you should use all the tools you are given to help your brand grow even further. Specifically, you should constantly be on the lookout for influencers whose content matches your own, and then try to establish a relationship with them. Having an influencer on your side can significantly boost the number of your followers, which is crucial for spreading brand awareness.
Instead of trying to create branding content based on what you think the people want, you can give your audience the opportunity to have a direct say in how your branding efforts will proceed. Crowdsourcing branding is a way to cut down on marketing costs, which is something smaller business with tighter budgets are certain to appreciate. If your brand is co-produced with the public, it will feel more authentic than one that is the sole product of your marketing team.
Branding is a process that involves multiple channels of communication to get right. Nonetheless, certain branding strategies such as Instagram marketing have a measurably greater impact on the results. While you can achieve a certain measure of success just by promoting your brand on Instagram, you should look into other approaches as well, in order to give you an edge over competitors that are doing the same thing.