Instagram and other social media channels can be used by brands for a whole lot of their marketing goals. These platforms can be utilized to drive traffic towards your site or web shop, in pursuing lead generation or even for getting on the spot sales. That’s sort of the beauty of the whole thing, you are free to use it as you wish. One major possibility that shouldn’t be missed though, is one of the best things it’s good at, in our humble opinions. And that’s in the branding opportunity it offers to companies, organizations or even people!
From the start, social media was about the person. You created a profile and tried your best to construct the perfect version of ‘you’ online. You shared content that you found personally interesting and thought that your friends would like too. If someone went to your profile, it was pretty simple to figure out what kind of person you were, and whether or not they shared the same interests as you do. Yes, a lot has changed since the dawning of social media, but this principle has persisted. Social media tells us who you are, and companies are not excluded from this.
Getting clicks to the website? Fantastic. Getting someone to make a purchase from your Instagram account? Even better. But you definitely shouldn’t stop there. Instead of focusing solely on traffic and conversions and screaming ‘shop now’ all the time from your accounts, use social media how it was initially meant to: tell people who your brand is. Here is how you go about it!
Choosing the Best Platform
To start things off, remember that not all social media platforms are made equal. While it may be tempting to want to be everywhere online, not all platforms will 1) support your brand or 2) be worth the time or energy. Before going off and making accounts on any platform that exists, the first thing you need to do is some research. The big question is: where is your target audience most active? There are tons of secondary research available online about consumer demographics and their online consumption patterns. Think With Google is a must have for any one into digital marketing, for example, so take a dive into the trends to figure out where you should be.
Besides being where your audience is, another factor to think about is what kind of brand you are running. Does your brand rely heavily on pictures? Is it highly visual? Then Instagram is a definite must. Is the bulk of your products home decor or a bit on the pricey side? Then you can look into Pinterest. This social network is the go-to place for users seeking inspiration, plus the active users there have more purchasing power compared to non-users. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is a good bet. Besides coming out on top in lead generation, LinkedIn gives B2B companies the chance to connect with the top quality, professional networks. If you’re more curious on LinkedIn, we encourage you to check out some more of their data on ROI for B2Bs.
Of course we can’t discuss social networks without discussing Facebook. Above all, this is one channel that you really shouldn’t miss, no matter what type of brand you’re working on. The number of users on Facebook is continuing to steadily increase and the new features that are always coming out provide brands with many tools to understand and reach their audiences.
There are simply way too many social media sites to choose from so we won’t delve into every social one out there. But the key is figuring out where your target users reside and which platforms match your industry and goals the best. It’s better to be successful on a few channels than to have all there is to have and not be able to see any positive ROI from them. Or worse for your brand; not being able to keep up the quality on every single account.
Developing a United Front
Once you have your key channels for your brand’s marketing plan down, you need to work on your image on each one. There is somewhat of a two-edged sword here when it comes to constructing the brand profile on each of the platforms. On one hand, what works on Instagram may not work on Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat or even the huge Russian social media site VK. Each platform is nuanced in its own special way and how people use them.
For instance, imagine you’ve created a post on LinkedIn filled with quality content: a detailed piece of text filled with handy takeaways and all there is to know about how your brand provides value. It’s a hit on LinkedIn, so you decide to repost it on Facebook, and the results are grossly disappointing. There was absolutely nothing wrong with your post. The issue is neglecting to acknowledge the differing norms on each platform. Your post was probably too formal or too long for Facebook; it’s as simple as that. When deciding on content and how to package it on each channel, take note of the norms of each of them and only post content in the forms that they respond best to. One workaround with this is to practice cross-referencing among your accounts. Instead of posting the entire LinkedIn post on Facebook, for instance, reframe it to fit Facebook’s norms and direct them to LinkedIn to read more.
On the other hand, you don’t want to differentiate your content so much that it seems like what’s going on on Twitter is completely worlds away from what goes on on Instagram. Your social media sites should complement each other and come together to form a coherent whole. If it seems like Brand A is running Instagram and Brand B is running Snapchat, you’re going to have a problem. Our advice? Adhere to the norms, but don’t lose your identity in the process.
Maintaining the united front can be as simple as using the same handle on each platform and using the brand’s logo. Besides that, utilize the company colors as much as possible and everywhere you can. The point is to give users the same ‘feel’ no matter where they want to connect with your brand at. A brand should adapt to the various platforms while still keeping their brand voice solid, just like an individual is able to adjust to different situations while still remaining themselves as they do! It’s a bit of a balancing act, but the payoff is great for brand recall since users can easily distinguish your personality from competitors because of your interconnected social media sites.
Fostering Your Connections
As a brand on social media, the more qualitative people (read: active and engaged with your content) you have connected to you, the better it is for you. Having an impressive amount of engaged followers acts as a signal of legitimacy to your brand. It says that if all these people like this brand and interact with it, it must be for a good reason. But, besides this psychological effect, it also pays off for you in trying to increase your reach online. All of these platforms are pretty dense with content, so trying to break through the noise is a task in itself that takes time and energy. The biggest networks, Facebook and Instagram, have algorithms in play that determine what gets served to users. The more people that indicate that your content is good by engaging in it, the more likely your content will be showed to others and help you to grow.
Growing a following, of course, takes time. And there are different tactics out there to making this happen. It all starts with being active on the platform. If you are posting engaging, useful information, people will genuinely appreciate your content and even better, share it among their networks. And once this starts happening, it’s your brand’s job to engage them. Reach out to the people who react positively to you, or who you think your content would be suited for. And make sure to respond to everyone that you can!
If you would like to speed up the process a bit, then one way to go about it is to jump on board with influencers within your industry. These people have access to the audiences that you want to reach the most. So, it would be great to reach out to them to see if you can collaborate together. If your brand has no budget for this as yet, or don’t want to launch a full-blown collaboration, then luckily, it’s not your only option. Cite them in some of your works and let them know that you did so. If the content is something of actual quality (as it should be), some influencers are likely to share it with their followers. Another option is to invest in advertising on Facebook or Instagram to increase your brand awareness. We detail how to get started with it in this handy blog.
Social media is a powerful tool for elevating your brand, it can encourage (electronic) word-of-mouth and help you to participate in the conversation with your audience of interest. Your brand’s presence on social media allows you to benefit from customer insights without having to set up your own marketing research. You’ll figure out what people say about you and how they use your products/services, plus you get to know them on a level you never were able to before. So make sure to give it a shot! Choose what channels work for your brand, keep your brand’s image consistent and get to producing interesting content and engaging with your audience. It’s worth it, trust us.
We hope our tips will help you create a coherent and stunning feed and build your brand on Instagram! Now it’s time to check-out Preppr and learn how to schedule and auto-post to Instagram 😉