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3 key insights for brands curious about Instagram

Thu, 15/09/2016 - 09:29

Does your brand have an Instagram account? Many South African brands just have Instagram because they want to be on the platform. But they have no idea what the platform is about.

If your brand is using the same social strategy for Facebook on Instagram and if you think that Instagram Stories is only for millennials wanting to show off their cat’s tricks, then this blog post is for you.

Treat Instagram as an artistic platform

In my opinion Instagram is about visually creative and aesthetically beautiful content. It’s a platform that gives its users the opportunity to be an artist. Often brands think that they can use the same designed visuals across platforms and unfortunately this does not work on Instagram. Brands that excel on Instagram are brands that treat Instagram as an artistic platform. A brand needs to use the platform to connect with their followers on a visual level without product placement and direct advertising.

It’s all about making the product a part of your day and using Instagram to document that journey. A few of my favourite South African brands that really understand this include local jewellery brand Dear Rae, fashion brand MrP, and furniture brand Weylandts. All three have one thing in common and that’s a consistent theme. If you scroll through their visuals you'll see that the posts are aesthetically beautiful and that there is an ongoing colour, texture or campaign theme.

Advertise on Instagram wisely

Instagram advertising is tricky. On one hand a brand wants to get their message out and grow the fan base, on the other hand having sponsored messages show up in user’s timelines can feel intrusive. The key with Instagram advertising is creating content that appeals to the audience that you’re targeting. Remember that this isn’t a platform where designed artwork is necessary. A high quality lifestyle-based photo, with a catchy caption and a call to action will get your message out.

A good example of a brand that has been running effective Instagram sponsored ads is haircare brand TRESsemmé. Their adverts are lifestyle based, have a quirky, relatable caption and are artistic. They sell the product without product placement. Once you go onto their Instagram page you'll find a well-thought-out platform filled with beautiful visuals, short clips and, most importantly, a gallery that looks like an art piece.

Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a recent update that Instagram launched. It allows Instagrammers to post a short clip or several clips that will be displayed on the top of your feed. These videos will not appear in your gallery and not affect the overall artistic theme of your brand’s Instagram account. Brands such as Father Coffee, Typo and Foodblog Cape Town are a few of the South African brands utilising Instagram Stories. The reason it works so well is because it gives users an insight into the brand’s day to day activities.

Whether it’s behind the scene at a photoshoot, a story of a chef whipping together a decadent meal or a barista creating foam art, we want to see it. Brands are often afraid to post content that has not been approved and scheduled but with Instagram Stories, brands are encouraged to be more casual, less planned and more eager to catch stories worth sharing.

*I compiled this information originally for an interview with Media Update. Their article, Social networks zone in on the art of storytelling, was published on September 2.