Social media is now the primary source of information and news for many people, and visual marketing is growing rapidly.
37 per cent of marketers cite visual marketing as the most important form of content for their business, people retain information six times better when an image is included and, by 2019, 80 per cent of all internet traffic will be directed towards video content.
These statistics are compelling. In order to be successful, brands need to leverage visual platforms in order to capitalise on this opportunity. With monthly user traffic now reaching over 700 million, Instagram is a great place to start.
With that in mind, here are the top five ways successful brands use Instagram in their marketing strategies:
Build Real Connections With Your Fans
Instagram users love to take a look behind the curtain and meet the real people behind brands. It adds a new dimension to the relationship you have with your fans. Intel – a brand which, on the face of it, may not seem like the “Instafamous” type – do this brilliantly on their page.
The new Instagram Stories feature is making this even easier. After posting a photo or video, brands are following this up with a behind-the-scenes video of how the shot was set up, giving more context to the campaign.
Engage Users With Regrams
Users adore having their photos regrammed by the brands they love. It’s a great way to open the door to two-way communication and show your brand being used by real people.
Lifestyle brand Anthropologie uses this strategy ingeniously. For example, in 2016 they ran a cookie recipe competition where users were asked to share their own cookie images on Instagram for a chance to win a $250 Anthropologie gift card. They then regrammed the winning photos on their Instagram account.
Similarly, Starbucks regularly post images of their customers engaging with their products, making them feel part of the brand story.
Showcase Your Personality
What are the attributes that define your brand? Humour? Inspiration? Beauty? Instagram is the perfect place to create brand associations that will stick in the mind of your customers. Consider the tone of voice you use in other areas of marketing, and think about how this could translate into visual format.
Ben and Jerry’s are a great example of a brand with clear existing positioning who have translated that personality brilliantly on their Instagram page.
Instagram is the perfect platform for visualising ‘how to’ guides. If your brand takes a particular ethical stance or sells products that could benefit from inspiration or education, this is the place to bring your message to life.
Ikea is a great example of a brand that uses Instagram to inspire their customers, regularly posting ideas for how to use their products in home environments on their feed.
Tie Your Brand To Popular Trends And Cultures
Instagram is the place for users to visualise their identity and pledge allegiance to cultural cliques. Not only is it a great place to research the latest trends – it’s an opportunity to tie your brand to the ones that resonate with your customers.
Sharpie uses its products to create artwork that associates their brand with cultural trends. For example, this recent post shows how their pens can be used to produce custom decorated shoes.
Instagram offers incredible opportunities for brand managers to build value, identity and connections. As important as it is right now for companies to embrace visual marketing, in two to three years time it will become imperative. Make sure your brand is on the train before it leaves the station.