As part of our five year marketing plan, our overarching goal was to Build Key Sectors. We developed the foundational tools, established, promoted and helped these key sectors to grow within Strathcona. My Loud Speaker helped in developing key relationships and built awareness of the neighborhood’s vision. This played a key role in establishing a safe, diverse and vibrant community across the SBIA, where businesses come to thrive. And it wouldn’t be possible without a meaningful Market Plan, steering Strathcona in the right direction.

What’s Strategic Instagram Marketing?

Category: Social Media Marketing

If you’ve been thinking whether or not business’s Instagram is worth your attention – we’re here to help make your final decision crystal clear. Let’s get started with some tasty stats to really entice you if you’re on the fence.

Insta-Stats to Wet Your Appetite

After launching in 2010, Instagram has quickly climbed the ranks and become an all-out social platform powerhouse. When it comes to photo-sharing, Instagram has taken full control. As Instagram continues to gain influence and marketing power, more and more businesses are trying to capitalize the best way to use this photo-first, content later feed.

According to the 2017 statistics care of Wordstream, 80% of Instagram users are outside the US, and most users are between 18 and 29 years of age. Females are also more prevalent on the platform with 12% less males instagramming regularly. And what I personally find most shocking, the instagram account with the most followers is awarded to Selena Gomez (Really??) with a whopping 126 million people opting in for her selfies, I guess.

There are 600 million instagrammers, and 400 million of those are active on Instagram every single day. It may not be the billion user mark Facebook pulled off in 2004, but it’s only a matter of time.

It’s no surprise that businesses were quick to follow the masses as they journeyed through the infinite visual timelines. With all those teens and Millennials tuning into their photo-filled feeds on the daily, getting products out there on this particular demographic’s most native platform was necessary. There are currently 15 million registered businesses on Instagram. In 2016, Instagram was estimated to have reigned in $1.53 billion in global mobile ad revenue.

Woah. At this point you must be salivating for a piece of this Insta-pie.

When You Should Consider Instagram Marketing

Since 2015, audiences have begun spending more time than ever on their phones and mobile devices. For the first time, handheld devices overthrew the desktop. As a result, this has armed Instagram Marketing with a major advantage.

Compared to Facebook and Twitter, where users have greater abilities to prevent posts from certain accounts, Instagram knows no bounds. If your account is public, and you’re using strategic hashtags, your content will appear with a relevant search and is nearly guaranteed to appear in your followers feed. This means greater reach is at your fingertips.

If engagement is the chalice you’ve been seeking, Instagram statistics continue to boast it’s value. According to the Content Factory, Instagrammers are 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook and Twitter.

But is this right for your business?

If you’re wondering whether you’re business is the right fit for an investment in Strategic Instagram Marketing, the following description should sound a lot like you:

Young Audience

Your target audience is young, not like baby-tween young, but definitely under the age of 35. If your target audience is resting from the teens to the young 30s, Instagram could very well the the right lane since so much of your audience is engaging on this platform every single day.

Visually Compelling Product

You have a visually compelling product. This one is going to eliminate a few businesses from the pack. The cold hard truth is that Instagram is a visual platform, there’s no way around it.  Ask yourself whether your product is something that people are going to want to see, if so, you should definitely be on Instagram. This doesn’t mean you have to sell a product specifically, if you were a travel agency and can create visual content of the beautiful places your clients go – that is a surefire visual masterpiece. Get on it.

Your Competitors are There

If you haven’t thought to check, pull out your phone. You should see whether your competitors are on Instagram, and if they are, that’s your cue to catch up. If you’re thinking that your business isn’t necessarily the right fit, but your competitors are developing a following, then ignore the first two rules and jump on.

A Visual Brand Story

When you’re about to launch into Instagram Marketing, it’s equally important to take some time to consider how you could visually tell the story of your brand. If you have a clear concept, and ideas are flooding through your mind, what on earth are you waiting for? If you’re not 100% sure, you can call us. We’ll tell you.

While Instagram has been helping businesses to make sales, we would never recommend you rely on it as your main source of lead generation. And if you’re a B2B business, it’s going to be a tougher platform to give wings. It doesn’t mean you can’t give it a whirl, but you may find more bountiful platforms for your particular business.

Getting Your Strategic Instagram Marketing Started

Okay, so just about anyone can start an Instagram account and it has no cost associated with it. Win! However, posting images and creating copy for a platform that requires daily attention is no easy feat. Some believe the best thing to do is churn out as much content as possible in order to succeed.

No matter how much you post, if you don’t have a clear plan in place it is going to be very difficult to ensure your audience is actually taking the action you want them to. Whether it’s engagement, sales, or website visits, you’ll need to put a strategy in place first in order to make the most of your Instagram account.

Focus

The first thing you’re going to want to do is define your business’s vision and mission. This will begin to carve the kind of messaging and overarching strategy you can tailor your content creation plan to. It also gives a sense of the kind of personality you should be authentically communicating to your audience. Keep that in mind, hot shot.

Resonate

Secondly, you’ve got to think about who your competitors are and what really makes you different. This is what we call your ‘value proposition’, your key differentiator. This is integral to your strategy because once you know precisely what is is, you can craft it in a way that will hit home with your audience. This variation of the value proposition is what we call the Key Message. Your Key Message should be a way to communicate your value proposition in a manner that will really resonate and make an impact with your audience.

Native Tongue

An important thing to note when considering any particular platform is its native language. Instagram brought with it the dawn of the emoji and the real revolution in hashtagging. You need to get acquainted with how other brands like yours use Instagram’s native tongue in order to feel like a good friend of the audience you’re trying to reach. You’ll always see more engagement if you come from an authentic place. Corporate jargon and overly salesy copy isn’t going to do you tons of favours here. So take some time, and know that each platform’s native tongue needs to be treated with respect, and the respect will come back your way from the audience.

Engage

If there is one thing we’ve learned from Instagram, it’s that you get what you give. As is the nature of social platforms. In order to start building a loyal following and gaining traction, you need to spend the time and invest in liking, commenting, following, and being just as active as you want your audience to be. It seems like fun, right? However, it’s easy to overlook the importance of getting on the platform and doing far more than just posting alone. There are, however, some great apps that you can program to auto-like and comment on posts with relevant hashtags to your account. Let the robots do the work, we’re living in the future!

Consistency

Ok, so back to visuals. When you’re using this platform, you want to create a consistent feel for your brand. 60% of the top brands on Instagram use the exact same filter on every post. Your audience will take one glance at your page, and they are seeking a specific and defined style. That in and of itself, is a full time task. You need to be thoughtful and enlist the help of professionals if you are struggling to nail down the aesthetic that’s going to build a following for your brand. When developing a strategy first, you’ll have a moodboard and a better sense of how to execute a consistent feed that suits your brand, product, or service.

Call to Action

What is it that you want your audience to do exactly? Think about this for a while as you’re strategizing. Your call to action should be clear in your mind so the content is always working towards something clear and simple. No scattered nonsense, just that sweet, sweet focus.

Fails in Instagram Marketing

Posting photos may seem relatively simple, but it’s a little misleading. You can easily find yourself in an instagram marketing flub without the right strategy in place.

Denny’s

Right off the cuff, I have to mention that ‘Moons Over My Hammy’ is one of the most perfect culinary creations of modern times. I don’t want to fight about it, I’m right. However, when it comes to Instagram, Denny’s content is lacking a few key components of a stellar Instagram strategy: a vision, a message, consistency, and it seems so disconnected from their actual brand.

Here, you see some playful copy trying its best to line up with that modern millennial meme based humour. It doesn’t really work, and it doesn’t have much to do with their brand. Although, points for those excellent comments from their followers.


Image: Denny’s Instagram

I’m not sure whether the following post really gets your tastebuds thirsting for a meal at Denny’s. It’s a crying shame. As I’ve mentioned before, Moons Over My Hammy is an epiphany, a veritable flavour country, and it’s about as timeless as a pair of Chuck Taylor’s. Again, the comment section is living – but with feedback like “DENNYS GET HELP![sic]” – maybe they should take the feedback.

Just post pictures of Moons Over My Hammy, please. For me. For everyone.


Image: Denny’s Instagram

Nintendo

Again, as a precursor, Nintendo was a large part of my childhood and I feel like I am bashing on a childhood friend. But even childhood friends need to hear the truth from time to time. While Nintendo has been competing for relevancy since Playstation and XBox all but took over the market, they have found their niche: cuteness and handheld devices. Their loyal fan base continues to patiently await their next system.

Who remembers Animal Crossing?


Image: Nintendo Instagram

Their content is mainly focused around their cutesy characters made famous on systems that are long since retired. While it does speak to their following and the reason they’ve become brand loyal, it doesn’t encourage new interactions and excitement about their new handhelds.

Plus, what is this? I’m not usually the type to turn way cheesecake (I’ll never turn away Moons Over My Hammy) but it seems out of place and tacked on. You don’t need to post cheesecake just because it’s #CheeseCakeDay.


Image: Nintendo Instagram

Wins in Instagram Marketing

Sometimes though, brands harness the power of Instagram and get big time results from their strategy.

Robson Street


Image: Robson Street Instagram

Robson Street, Vancouver’s well-known downtown shopping district. Robson Street gets a great win by using their Instagram account to showcase a clear message, “where people come to indulge in style.” (We helped them with that by the way).

You can see by their content, that their visuals wholly support that message, showcasing the lifestyle and stylish offerings happening right there on their street. You get a great sense of what you can expect from the brand. They also get extra nods for posting high quality imagery, blending their retailers, fine restaurants, and cool happenings.

METRIN


Image: METRIN Instagram

Metrin Skincare is another lovely brand we helped to elevate their insta-game. Starting with strategy sessions, we identified their target and their value proposition. They have loyal clients all over the world who use their products to help with multiple skin problems, whether aging or acne. We developed the message “we are more alike than different,” and helped to develop a plan to highlight the very real people (men and women) who use Metrin to showcase their stunning natural skin. Their Instagram account quickly gained more visual consistency with bright white images that highlighted the product and the people that have a personal affection for their brand.

Beforehand, their feed mostly consisted of product shots, however by switching the focus and bringing in the human side of the brand, they were empowered to develop a more authentic and engaged audience. We can’t wait for more of their beautiful images to start flooding in.

In Closing

If you feel like your business would benefit from a more energetic and active Instagram, we develop comprehensive communication plans that can help guide your social platform to success. I mean, it’s what we do.

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about specific key elements of an effective marketing plan, read our 50+ page booklet on How to Write A Strategic Marketing Plan That Yields ROI – complete with explanations

Faye Alexander

Faye Alexander loves to type, scribble and scrawl because words are her favourite play things. As an editor, writer and social media professional, she brought her skill-set to the evolving world of Marketing. She has a passion for inciting meaningful dialogue through crafted content and opening doors to two-way conversations. Some of her favourite words include, but are not limited to: feminism, effervescent, spoon and malarchy.

My Loud Speaker Marketing | Creative Strategies. Authentic Approach. Proven Results. We Get Sh*t Done.