Instagram offers many opportunities for customer acquisition and brand loyalty, but it takes a little bit of a learning curve to discover and maximize all of its features. Like many social networking platforms, creating an account on Instagram is just the first step.
Last year, the platform reached the 1 billion mark in terms of the number of users. This makes it the second most popular social media site after Facebook and the 6th most popular social network after Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat.
Compared to Facebook and these other social networks however, Instagram has a much younger user base. It is most popular with young Millennials and Gen Z, and more than 4 in 5 of its users are aged 24 years and below. This means that increasing Millenial engagement on Instagram depends on an understanding of what they are looking for and what captures their attention.
Let’s take a look at how brands are leveraging Instagram to reach Millennials and Gen Z.
1. Tap a reliable influencer.
Instagram contributed a lot to the rise of influencers, or individuals who have a perceived authority or impact over the buying habits of their followers. And while the influencer landscape is changing along with the platforms that influencers use, influencer marketing remains a very effective tool for reaching target audiences.
Millennials and Gen Z have become more careful in following personalities, so it’s important for your brand to do a thorough background check before working with any influencer.
You can either ask an influencer to post about your product or you can post a photo of the influencer with your product. Here’s an example from famous Millennial influencer Amanda Steele and EOS products:
Source: Amanda Steele’s Instagram
2. Use high-quality images and videos.
Millennials and Gen Z are both highly visual generations, and they usually notice if a photograph or a video lack the perfect elements to be on Instagram. Use design to your advantage—Millennials and Gen Z will definitely remember your brand if you use consistent colors, shapes, and patterns.
Jamba Juice has mastered the art of Instagram posts. Here are a few examples from their account:
Source: Jamba Juice
3. Offer promotions.
Let’s face it. Being in your 20s can be very challenging. In fact, a significant number of Millennials have reported living paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s why Instagram can be a great platform for businesses to offer discounts and promotions and help ease the burden for younger generations while also generating interest in their brands.
You can do a promotional post with an influencer, like how Walmart did it with Freebie Guy below:
Source: The Freebie Guy’s Instagram
4. Leverage social issues.
Instagram can also be a platform for businesses to promote their causes and advocacies in addition to their products and services. The Millennial Impact Report reveals that Millennials and Gen Zers care deeply about social causes and want to be able to make a social impact.
Post about your upcoming charity event or corporate social responsibility initiative, and ask Millennials and Gen Z to participate. Check out Adidas’ #RunfortheOceans invitation:
Source: Adidas’ Instagram
5. Post interesting Stories.
Millennials and Gen Z are avid users of Snapchat, a platform that allows them to put up chronological content for a maximum of 24 hours. This feature was embraced by Instagram a few years ago and instantly became a user favorite.
With Stories, users can post customized photos and videos, ask their followers to answer a poll or a survey, and even link to websites. Stories are also very popular because of the following reasons:
- Users can see who’s viewed their Stories;
- Stories don’t flood their follower’s timelines;
- Users can customize who views their Stories according to their privacy preferences; and
- Stories can also be shared to Facebook.
6. Use Hashtags.
Don’t forget to include hashtags in your Instagram posts and Stories. You may have a compelling idea, a good sale offer, or a nice photograph of an influencer, but unless you put hashtags, Millennials won’t be able to find you.
If you need a little inspiration on what hashtags to use for your Instagram campaigns, taking a look at the top Instagram hashtags of 2019 can help you out. Using the right hashtags will enable to you get more positive impressions and take your social media engagement to another level.
It’s also good to be consistent with your hashtags and even create a unique one, since Instagram just rolled out a feature where users can follow hashtags in addition to following accounts.
At the end of the day, it’s important for all of your online marketing strategies to be in sync and provide a holistic and seamless experience for your followers. You can use your Instagram posts and Stories to link to your brand’s website or email, so you can provide your followers with more information about your products and services.
Use email marketing in conjunction with social media channels like Instagram to foster deeper engagement with your Millennial and Gen Z audiences.