Instagram is the world’s most trendy and fashionable photo-sharing app, giving marketers an opportunity to target users through this social media platform. As of June 2018, Instagram had reached 1 billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September 2017.
Many brands are using Instagram to engage users through their creative and thoughtful content. An estimated 71% of US businesses use Instagram. With features like Instagram Live and Instagram Stories, this visual media platform allows marketers to tailor their content for users based on their choices. Some of the brands who have had the most success with Instagram have come up with unique and customized strategies to increase traffic and generate leads through this channel.
We have outlined five brands that have used innovation and creativity in Instagram marketing to achieve great results, from which you can take inspiration.
1. Starbucks – #RedCupContest
Starbucks is one of the brands that introduce innovative marketing campaigns during the holiday season. It creates share-worthy content and inspires its audience to get involved. In 2016, it stuck with the tradition, bringing back its Red Cups for the holidays. Starbucks has not only managed to make Red Cups memorable in the mind of its loyal customers but has been able to drive engagement too.
The brand came out with competition for Instagram users known as Red Cup Contest, asking coffee lovers to take a beautiful, creative picture of the red cup. They were asked to post the pic with #RedCupContest hashtag and get a chance to win $500 gift card. During the four-day contest, Starbucks got high engagement with over 40,000 posts tagged with #RedCupContest.
User-generated content (UGC) is always powerful. If used correctly, it can be a brand’s best friend. By offering rewards for the best picture, or video, or comment, you can increase your traffic. #RedCupContest is a smart UGC campaign, compelling fans to participate and engage online, and giving them prizes. It helps in increasing sales because people have to buy a red cup first to take a picture. Starbucks also highlights notable entries on its Instagram Story during the contest.
You too can create contests to promote and generate buzz, using hashtags and offering prizes for participation. This will make people enthusiastic about commenting, posting and sharing on Instagram.
2) Airbnb – #WeAccept
An effective marketing campaign is one which not only represents your brand but sends across a powerful message of humanity. This concept was adopted by Airbnb, expressing its stance on the issue of acceptance with the #WeAccept campaign when the US government closed its borders for refugees.
The campaign highlighted the need to accept people, regardless of their race, age, social class, background, gender or ethnicity. The inspirational social media campaign started with a video and was followed by photos of people from various ethnicities, sharing about the role of acceptance in their lives.
Launching such a social media campaign was a good move by Airbnb as it welcomes guests from every culture and background. The company got huge support from people, and it witnessed a tremendous increase in its site visitors, with the campaign garnering over 113,744 views on Instagram till date.
Customers appreciate it when brands consider social responsibility important. It shows consumers that they have a strong sense of ethics and morals. The theme of acceptance enabled Airbnb to present itself as a more approachable and reliable company on Instagram, which your brand too can exhibit. Businesses can run marketing campaigns that are relevant to current events and matter to their followers in creative ways and create more engagement on Instagram. You too can have beautifully crafted captions and brilliant storytelling on topical issues to drive traffic on Instagram.
3) Adidas Neo – #MyNeoShoot
In order to create a buzz in social media, Adidas came up with #MyNeoShoot marketing campaign on Instagram for its Neo range in 2015. It was an influencer-driven social media marketing campaign in which the company invited its followers including influencers to create Adidas-inspired posts with the hashtag #MyNeoShoot. The best content creators were chosen for the Adidas photoshoot.
To launch the campaign, Adidas partnered with celebrity influencers like Selena Gomez to raise the awareness of Adidas Neo.
The contest got viral. Adidas received over 12,000 entries into the competition, and #MyNeoShoot had over 71,000 mentions. The company’s Instagram followers grew by 41,000 in one month.
This campaign is a perfect example of how brands can derive benefits by reaching out to fans through Instagram and getting them to engage with the content. Adidas could wisely leverage the popularity and potential of Instagram as a visual channel. By asking influencers to join, Adidas could popularize the hashtag. Influencers also enabled the company to build customer loyalty amongst its existing customers.
You too can engage your target audience by leveraging the benefits of Instagram’s image-focused content. For consumers to connect with your brand, it is essential that they experience your brand on an emotional level and share their experience with their friends, which Adidas was successful in doing. By combining contests and influencers for your Instagram marketing campaign, you can garner customer loyalty, enhance brand awareness, and increase engagement rate.
4) Ryu- #WhatsInYourBag
One of the techniques which brands adopt in Instagram marketing is giveaways. Vancouver-based athletic clothing retailer Ryu ran a marketing campaign through Instagram known as #WhatsInYourBag. The company asked its followers to share photos of what they carry in their gym bag and tag along with the campaign hashtag, giving people the chance to win prizes. The campaign revolved around collecting user-generated content (UGC) from the followers and incentivizing them.
Ryu also promoted the campaign on Instagram stories, which helped the brand reach even more Instagram users. The result was – the campaign could generate more than 32,000 posts and increase the brand’s followers to over 20,000.
Hosting a contest is an effective way for brands to engage their target audience and spread their word. Ryu shared the contest on its page, and its followers continued the trend and made the campaign a success. When hashtags are used creatively, they can be an excellent tool for creating a buzz around the topic and gaining reach.
Another great idea is incorporating giveaways, which boosts awareness about the brand. Moreover, brands that promote their campaigns through Instagram stories can keep themselves on top-of-the-mind of their followers and reach a wider audience.
5) ASOS – ASOS Insiders
ASOS launched a marketing initiative called “ASOS Insiders.” Through “ASOS Insiders,” the influencers used their affiliated Instagram accounts to give fashion tips and style advice, wearing and mentioning about ASOS products. These influencers are usually fashion, beauty, or lifestyle bloggers with an existing base of followers. Each individual “sponsored account” has tags that begin with “asos” such as “@asos_olive” and “@asos_lesley.”
Instead of having other accounts to promote its brand, ASOS has made influencers of its own, each of them functioning as a personal brand ambassador. These influencers have complete freedom of posting whatever they wish to, that which connects with the brand. They not only provide fashion and style tips but behind-the-scene insights into the brand and general lifestyle-related information. Their posts include links that enable their followers to “buy the look.”
This is an innovative strategy by ASOS because it helps in getting influencers’ existing followers to their sponsored Instagram accounts with content more relevant to the specific brand. It is also more organic and authentic than traditional marketing campaigns. It has led to increased visibility for the brand as well as the influencers.
Through these insiders, ASOS has been able to create brand awareness and build a large following of loyal customers. You too can communicate with your customers in creative and authentic ways on Instagram, resulting in organic following and long-term engagement. Finding the right influencers is crucial too in increasing engagement rates.
You too can utilize user-generated content, create giveaway contests, leverage current events, or partner with influencers to build a similarly massive, engaged following with your Instagram account. By taking inspiration from these five brands and using ingenious ways to leverage visual content via Instagram, you can make people want to know more about your brand and buy your offerings.
Due to intense competition, diversification and creativity will be important for a brand to set itself apart from the crowd. Don’t limit yourself to the same type of content, but use innovative visual storytelling techniques and see what works best for your brand and your audience. Make the required tweaks and adjustments in them by remaining true to your brand to perfect your campaign and achieve Instagram marketing success!
Nidhi is working as a content and brand strategist at ProDesigns – a graphic design company, recommending strategies to meet customers’ goals and deliver a superior user experience. She provides content leadership, ensuring that a consistent brand message is delivered to the audience.
Image Credit: Post image provided by the author. Featured image from Pexels.com