What do Gucci, GE, Patagonia, Jamie Oliver and Disney have in common? They all have been experimenting on Instagram since Instagram’s inception four years ago. Four years, yes where did the time go?
Here are five lessons you can learn from these early adopters.
1. Creating the value of the dream
Actually every business is about value. You offer something valuable in exchange of money. Value to your client is not just the product or service itself, but the desire or dream he or she fulfils with it. How is your brand going to communicate to fulfilling that desire, or realising that dream?
Inspire a movement around what your products make possible by sharing experiences; Experiences from other clients, your employees, your leadership and your partners. Help your Instagram followers dream and engage with you.
2. Cultivating your brand niche
As I mentioned in my previous post there is more than 200 million users on Instagram. But obviously you do not want or cannot address to all of them.
Finding your brand’s niche with #hashtags and nurturing it is the key to success. Use the #hashtags for listening and reach. They can promote your brand and products, help you keep track of mentions and connect with people in particular communities.
Tip: How to pick the #hashtags you should listen to?
Once you know who do you want to target (your niche) make a list of the key words they would use to find you and search for those hashtags. A brand interested in targeting empowered female entrepreneurs would start with #femaleentrepreneur or #mumpreneur.
But the hot hashtag to find them is #girlboss, title of Sophia Amoruso’s book with 114200 photos curated under it. Listening to the generic and more obvious ones is the way to find hot trends that will connect your brand to that particular community.
3. Engaging with the community
Instagram is a social network, where the operative word is social.
Watch out for these two signs that indicate a failure to be social:
– Accounts that follow a very few or nobody shows a lack of socialness. There will always be influencers, tastemakers and competitors to follow. You must be aware of what is going on to be able to deliver value, to be social. Is your Instagram account following others?
-Accounts that do not answer followers’ comments. Nurturing relationship with your followers take time. But managing these relationships properly definitely pays off. Companies should establish guidelines about who responds to comments, how quickly, how often and in what tone. Ask yourself, who answers comments on my Instagram Account?
The 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that “by spending as little as 6 hours per week, ￼ 66%+ of marketers see lead generation ￼benefits with social media”. “Another 50% who spend 6 or more hours report it has helped them improve sales”
Acknowledge your followers and interact with them, answering their questions, featuring their pictures, and making contests. These are ways to grow your community and convert followers into clients.
4. Being personal and showcasing your passion
“Use your content to express your brand authentically, not commercially”– Gary Vaynerchuk in Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
And your passion, always show your passion! Showing your personal point of view, your brand values and voice, what makes you unique is exactly what Instagram is about.
“Instagram works because not everything that comes through my feed is a product selling itself”. This is the verdict thrown by BOF after a comparison between Instagram and Spring, a Instagram-like app to shop on your phone. Brands should pay special attention to this warming.
5. Being consistent
Confusion works against building confidence and trust. Your clients must trust you before making the decision to buy from you. And consistency is key to building trust on Instagram and social media in general.
Consistency about the times and themes you post. Sustain you account’s activity sharing regularly and at optimal times. Ensure high quality of content by keeping it engaging.
Consistency about the colours and backgrounds of the pictures and videos you upload. The most engaging and attractive accounts have a defined style; A style-guide of Instagram if you may. For example, a simple defined stye could be achieved by posting with the same filter, adding frames to pictures to fit into Instagram, using a consistent background, using the brand colours or a combination of these.
What can you learn from the early adopters in only one line? it is about being strategic.
Thank you for reading. If you found this post useful, why not follow me on Instagram for weekly musings on how to win on Instagram: sisiandcompany. Or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions