Think Like An Instagram Marketing Expert

From the former post Social Media Marketing Conundrum: Does Instagram Work For My Marketing Plan?, we discussed some unfortunate cases of some companies using Instagram to promote themselves and didn’t receive enjoyable results eventually. However, few unsuccessful examples don’t mean that Instagram is not an ideal gold mining place to dig treasure. This week I had attended AdvertisingWeek’s seminar “The Instagram Effect“, where I learned some inspiring marketing ideas and how they leverage Instagram to meet the companies’ objectives.

The panel session includes four well-known experts (from left to right):

The Instagram Effect

  • Daniel Habashi, Brand Development Director of Instagram
  • Alexandra Press Maguire, Digital Marketing Director of Gilt
  • Keri La Ra, Global Social Media & Digital Compliance Director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Nader Ali-Hassan, Digital Marketing Director of Progressive

In the beginning, Daniel gave us a brief report about Instagram’s latest statistics and how this platform assures businesses to invest more money and effort into it:

  • Instagram has 400 million monthly actives worldwide
  • 75% of Instagrammers live outside of the U.S. and use it 20 minutes per day
  • Users uploaded 18 million photos per day with 3.5 billion likes a day
  • 63% of millennials use Instagram to learn about products and services
  • 74% of millennials take action (e.g., make comments, visit websites, search the products online, refer to friends) after being inspired by a post

In plain English, Instagram contains an immense amount of users who frequently use the platform to search for brands and products for inspiration, which is good for businesses to get involved in this process: to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. 

Moreover, Daniel outlines the three main benefits for companies to establish an Instagram accounts:

  1. Instagram helps marketers to do more: It brings users from visual inspiration to real action and from consideration to conversion.
  2. Instagram can drive more relevancy: By integrating with Facebook’s personalized marketing scale, Instagram can bring the users from Facebook to Instagram, which allows brands to reach the targets they want.
  3. Instagram helps all size of businesses to achieve their goals.

And now welcome our three interviewees! The following are their comments that I found significant and relevant to Instagram marketing:

The changing landscape of social media marketing

Keri: Instead of viewing social media as complimentary marketing effort, it is actually at the forefront. Social media change the way brands launch new products and search for new partnerships in the market. This challenges the brands to use different voice even if the brand stories are the same across platforms.

Is unique or exclusive content to Instagram is mandatory for success?

Nader: Mandatory may not but definitely recommended. Sometimes we have to pull from what we have. Looking at the creative process and what our audiences acquired of us. Mostly, we end up not creating customized content that specifically for Instagram.

How does Instagram work for Progressive, the insurance company?

Nader: The leadership of our company is constantly challenging us to come up with innovative ideas….For us, it is about being first. We are trying to constantly look for that next thing. We test and we measure things. That’s what great about digital marketing in general. We can measure everything. We know who’s coming in and going out. What they are doing with the content. We know when it works and when it doesn’t work. And it was like that fast (snap fingers).

How do you guys think adding values to your followers? 

Keri: Sometimes adding value is to let them know a new brand launch and really make them feel like they are getting sort of a sneak peek of what’s going on. I think it’s not only just about posting a traditional post of bed type….It’s again going back to find relevant content that speak to them. It’s not 40% off on Instagram. It’s about quality content.

Nader: It’s the moment of the joy at the end of the day. We all slide. We wake up in the morning and slide through the feeds to see what’s going on. That little bit of something funny or tip….It’s not just a sale or value code or shop now….if I’m going to interrupt you in your most sacred place…I wanna make sure that I’m giving you something that worthy of that interruption….That’s what I want from my brand and that what I want my brand to show other people as well.

Alexandra: We definitely want to add value within our feed and showcase a lot of how to style our items. We have so much product and there are many aspirational nature to many fashion brands…Because we are E-commerce, we have to balance how to sell the items that are for sale right now and how are we styling them and make them look beautiful….We are extremely elevating what we had been posted and we test a lot. We are putting a lot of version out there…and making sure that we are talking to the right customer with the right message at the right time.

To sum up, even though Instagram have accumulate a large base of users for brands to target, at the end of the day, if a brand really want to be successful on Instagram or social media platform, it really need to work on what “value” can they bring to the users or potential customers, no matter what size you are or what category you are in.

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