At GoPixel we are starting to look at other social networks, like Instagram, and platforms, like Fancy and how brands can best use these to market themselves. Instagram, with its 150 million users, dwarfs Pinterest, and with newly appointed COO Emily White, from parent company, Facebook, is looking at ways the popular image sharing app can generate revenue.
Generating revenue from its popularity is something brands have been trying to figure out for themselves for a while now. Some, with or without the help of influential celebrities, have so far done well promoting themselves even before Instagram rolls out advertising solutions. Here are five examples from brands who have used Instagram as part of their marketing mix.
Images convey a sense of place, emotion and a connection which words often fail to transmit. Burberry regularly posts images of London, as a way of building on its existing brand image as a traditional British fashion house. For an international audience, of American or Chinese customers, this strengthens their perception of Burberry, leading to a deeper emotional connection, and therefore more click through’s and purchases.
Everyone should know that social media is an engagement and communication tool, not a broadcasting system, so brands need to be careful how they promote products. However, Starbucks is one which seems to do it right most of the time on Instagram. They publish images which capture the essence of the seasons and moments, making emotional connections through images between their coffee and customers.
Like Pinterest, there isn’t stringent competition guidelines on Instagram, so brands can be more creative than on other social networks. Competitions are a great way of driving up engagement rates and web traffic.
Pro-skater Tony Hawk posts images with skateboards in random locations in cities around the world, followed by a photo of a landmark, as a clue as to where he is. Combine this with hashtags and basic guidelines regarding how a winner is picked, and you’ve got a social contest.
Behind The Scenes
This is something which has been used on Pinterest, too. The younger demographic Instagram attracts makes this a perfect platform for giving customers a curated ‘behind the scenes’ – read fun – insight into a brand. Fashion retailer, ASOS, does a great job promoting themselves this way.
Instagram is a social network which, like Twitter in its early days, is dominated by celebrities – compared to Pinterest which is the domain of power-bloggers. Therefore if your brand is lucky enough to have some celebrity fans, then work with them to promote your products.
With the appointment of COO Emily White (whose mentor at Facebook was COO Cheryl Sandberg) they now have a team of four who work with the thousands of brands currently on Instagram. Ms. White’s job is to tie the ‘cool’ factor and favourable demographics – teens and young adults – in with brands marketing objectives, show them how they can generate revenue. For brands who target the demographics on Instagram, and have suitable products or services, the next move would be to engage on this platform before advertising solutions are promoted, so that the most effective strategies are already in place.