Many brands are already jumping into the Instagram craze. Why not? Instagram has over 800 million monthly users (which is, by the way more than Twitter), and companies wouldn’t really miss the chance of reaching a wider, more interactive market. But if you will come to think of it, what does it really take to be popular on Instagram? How is it different from any other social media marketing approach?
Apparently, Instagram users are unaware shoppers. It literally means that. They are not aware that they are already online shopping. As they view posts and photos on their feed, they are unknowingly looking for products and services that they unknowingly like. Basically, as you post on Instagram, you are already pitching without actually selling to them. This results to enquiries in the form of comments and, of course, sales and income. Easy money, isn’t it? Well, not really.
Is it enough just to be on Instagram? Is it enough to be just another company lurking around social media networks? If you want to penetrate the Instagram market, you’ve got to do more hard work than other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. There are many articles and guidelines published online, describing how you can succeed on Instagram, but upon careful analysis we only realize one secret in gaining popularity (and income) on IG: Be like a beauty brand.
Yes, you read it right! You have to market makeup, cosmetics, fashion, and any other beauty brands to persuade the Instagram market. Unlike in search engine optimization, Instagram doesn’t care too much on keywords or rankings. It’s more like a combination of Twitter, where you have to have a lot of followers to be popular, and Facebook, where you need to be visible all the time but you also have to be relevant. On Instagram, you have to steal the spotlight among other striking images and posts. You post has to be that photo that will make them stop scrolling the entire feed. If you want to be popular on Instagram, you have to be a show stealer – shiny, glittery, shocking. You know, fancy and elegant yet desirable and pleasing.
Standout with unique and eye catching images
Since there are a lot of beauty brands in the market, every cosmetic company has to feature something unique and eye catching to have a space in store shelves. Their product has to be have something extraordinary to it so it people will actually buy it. Otherwise, they are just another makeup product sale.
Same as in Instagram; your photos or images has to be something unique and eye catching. It cannot be just a plain photo of your product or company or services. It has to look professional and creative. It pays to add some art direction and conceptualization in your photos. It adds more impact and selling value if your photos are artistically presented. Your images has to have its own personality to drive the photo-centric market.
Just like in beauty brands, you have to show off your brand’s aesthetics by flaunting all the good assets of your company – and showing it in an enticing, persuasive way. Your photos has to be in professional quality. You cannot just simply take a photo from your mobile phone, use some filters, and directly post it. Make your every photo a masterpiece; make it in high quality (technically and aesthetically).
Instead of just using the default filters on Instagram, you can utilize different photo editing tools to make your images stand out. Yes, don’t worry, editing photos are totally acceptable these days. Just make sure that it’s not going to be too far from the original photo. You can settle by editing the lighting, shadows, contrast, brightness, and other effects but do not overdo it where you had to twist reality. Photo editing is only to enhance your posts not to alter the facts. You can study the different principles of photography and editing.
Influencers are the new word of mouth
Have you seen how celebrities promote beauty products and can you also notice how consumers post their experience in using their newly-bought cosmetics? That’s one of the secrets of beauty brands in marketing – they don’t just sell, they make other people sell for them. Having someone, especially the popular ones, who believes in your products and services is a great testament that you are offering a good and satisfying brand.
If you are to relate this marketing strategy to any brand, it only means one thing: brand ambassadors are important. As a start, you can create a team of popular people on Instagram, let them try your products and services, and they can share their experience on Instagram. These IG stars already have their own audience so it will be easier for your brand to penetrate the market. Also, through their promotion, you can increase the number of your followers.
Another technique that you can incorporate in your Instagram campaign is utilizing hashtags. Since IG feeds change really quickly and your post can be buried under those posts with more interactions, you can include hashtags so people can search for you anytime. In this way, you can easily discover your own community and potential fans.
Have a story connected to the product
If you will notice, beauty brands (and other companies as well) incorporate stories in their products. They like to tell people how it is done, where it is from, and what makes the product special. The longer the story, the better the product looks.
The seal of great marketing and popular influencers may not be enough; the consumers need to know that your product is not just a product. It pays to have some back story of your business and the creative process beneath those glossy features.
Nike is one of the brands that has a rich story. They manage to maintain this tone and inspiration on their Instagram posts. Through the use of photos and short videos, you can feature more story about your business and industry, and you can create them in an artistic way. These short stories can entice the interest of your target market and can help persuade them to support you. Also, these types of stories is something that your followers would want to engage to, meaning they want to be part of that story.
But, you have to be wise enough to be honest. The millennial generation has the ability to know if you are just forging your stories for marketing purposes (even without Google). Since brands saw this strategy to be appealing (not just in the beauty industry), many are just creating fake stories to make their brands look interesting. What’s worse, though, is that some people are ‘creating’ the stories for marketing purposes. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep your stories real.
Find your niche and stick with it
So other companies, beauty brands stick to their niche – if it’s makeup, it’s just makeup; if it’s enhancement products, it’s just enhancement products. You cannot be a jack of all trades because you will be a master of none. One of the biggest problems of companies these days is sticking to their brand identity, due to the many opportunities and possibilities that you can create.
For your social media campaigns, it’s important to develop your brand identity and be strong in keeping it. If in case that you have multiple brand focus, then you have to make sure that you create different social media persona for each. How does it work? Let’s start with the names.
Stay recognizable by using consistent name and photo for your Instagram profile. It’s okay to have sub-brands but make to keep it in theme. Let’s take a look at the Instagram profile of CNN.
Although they manage to create a lot of sub-brands profile in Instagram, CNN’s main brand is still recognizable on all logos and profiles. It’s important to keep it that way. When you choose an Instagram name and profile description, always make sure that you can still be identified across all social media platforms. Consistency is the key. All your efforts will go to waste if your online image is cluttered.
If you’re finding it hard to create your brand image, you can maximize the information about your target market. You can pattern your brand’s identity based on who would you want to sell your products. For example, if you are targeting the millennials, you can study how the millennials are using Instagram and what posts do they usually like and follow. In that way, you can have an initial guideline on how you can promote your brand. Know what your people like and you can work around that concept.
It’s not just about the images
Many would have think that Instagram is just about posting striking photographs. If you would want to use Instagram to market your business, you’ve got to do something to actually make a dent in the long Instagram feed. Using the marketing techniques of beauty brands can help you stand out among the crowd. Create an Instagram, make it your marketing technique, and show the world that there’s beauty in your brand.