Instagram is associated with lifestyle bloggers, celebrities and taking pictures of your food but can this important institution be harnessed for business marketing? If so, how do you amass a following on Instagram? How important is content, brand or engagement? We figured there was only one way to find out.
A hotly contested competition saw a few members of the Curated Media team take to Instagram with shiny new Instagram accounts to see who could get the most followers. However, the real prize could be found in learning about one of the most underused social media tool in the business world.
Every member of staff learned something valuable about the social media site, and about using it as a way of marketing a business or brand.
This week we talk you through our Curated contest and analyse why Instagram may be the “unsung hero” of the content marketing world.
Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing service that allows its users to take pictures and videos, and amend them via filters and other tools. Primarily used to share pictures it combines two of the aspects of Facebook and Twitter, with “Likes” and “Followers” being features on the site.
Hashtags are also available to add to photos to attract relevant attention. The beauty of Instagram,and we mean beauty in it’s purest sense it that it allows a quick glimpse into so many worlds though a continuous rose-tinted feed.
Our competition saw members of staff launch food, health and lifestyle blogs, with each competitor attempting to get the most followers. What we soon discovered, is that Instagram was more than a photo sharing site and that it posed a great opportunity for businesses to build their brand. Here are our main lessons learned from the #instacomp.
The three main competitors were as follows:
Cook Like a Man - “Sometime businessman, 24/7 masterchef. Follow me in my quest for office cuisine at its best. Every picture a masterpiece. Every Lunch a banquet!” This account was dedicated to the cooking of the everyman. Simple (and we mean really simple) lunches hand crafted with love. Whilst there was much debate as to whether this account was in fact a ‘comedy’ account, the owner claims it was a genuine effort to display his culinary skills. As the eventual winner of the competition, he had the last laugh.
Hallowed House - “Food // Fashion // Beauty // Life” This was a more classic lifestyle account charting health and beauty products, recipes and general interest. Whilst this account was hailed as being the most aesthetically pleasing, the real challenge for this account lay in competing with other lifestyle accounts and finding a niche market. Placing second, Hallowed House had a high engagement rate with other Instagram users but was preaching to a market of fickle followers.
Daveys Dinner - “Endorphin Junkie. Royal Marine #commando in training. Pictures of my #lowcarb #lunches and #fitness stuff. Wait until cheat day…” This account had the potential to slot right in to the instagram sub-community of fitness junkies with great low carb meal idea and hardcore fitness inspiration. However, the lesson learned here was that consistent posting and engagement are essential in creating a successful account and cultivating followers.
Instagram is another platform to build a reputation. Whilst there is no direct way to share links or content on Instagram, it allows businesses to share images, and direct traffic to your site through Instagram. Customised images can be used to direct users to your site, and Instagram photos can be shared across other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. A recent survey from Forrester found that Instagram content generates 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more than Twitter.
Furthermore, content strategies for Instagram differ from the professionally drafted strategies seen on Twitter and Facebook. Numerous companies approach Instagram using a lighter tone, often using it to show staff working or some of the most light-hearted aspects of your office. You can use pictures snapped in parties, industry events, charity dinners, and many other places to show a different side to your business, but keep the client informed. This can add to businesses reputation and shows that you have employees at the heart of all your success.
Instagram provides a platform for those you wish to engage with to see very quickly what you are all about. It lets them see right into your working world through carefully selected images. Using Instagram to market your business allows you to amass followers and then direct those followers to your other social media channels,
Businesses such as Starbucks have fantastic success on Instagram by posting special themed cakes, new coffees and appealing treats that customers can buy in store. Using appropriate hashtags, this content is immediately exposed to people who may be interested in buying such goods. A huge perk of Instagram is that it is free. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you do not need to pay to have your posts exposed to a larger audience - a picture always gets maximum exposure under proper hashtags.
While it is important to create insightful and accurate content, it is equally important to make sure that content is exposed to the correct market and shared across all possible channels. Instagram is one of the largest social media sites with over 150 million monthly users. Even if your company uses social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you are still potentially missing out on numerous customers by avoiding a certain social media site, especially one that is as unique and simple as Instagram.
Next week we look at the which social media channels work best for you, and which ones you could potentially evade.
If you would like some help to nurture your own content, Curated Media can help. We work with lawyers and law firms to help fulfill their online content needs. Our team of experienced writers, lawyers, online marketers and web developers have the practical knowledge to curate, as well as create. If you requrie any further knowledge on the importance of online content, read our in-depth content odyssey.