It can be hard to keep up with all the social media sites that are popping up, let alone distinguish which ones are important for business. Instagram recently surpassed 700 million monthly active users, and everyone (brands included) are starting to take notice.
The bigger question is what role Instagram should have for your brand. While it may be tempting to publish the same content on a number of networks for additional reach, this can actually jeopardize the engagement you receive. How so?
Each social network attracts a certain type of consumer based on the content you produce. A prime example is the big Canadian bank, RBC. Their Facebook page is an avenue to amplify web content and post general updates relating to the business.
In the above image, RBC highlights jobs for students, with a link to their website with the full spread. Some businesses also find it easy to use Facebook for customer inquiries through its Messaging feature.
In contrast, a social network like Twitter is known primarily for its immediacy. Twitter is seen as a more public medium, in that one’s profile is generally open and meant for interaction with others, opposed to Facebook which is restricted to friend groups. Using the same example of RBC, it is clear that they emphasize their approachability by having a public message option.
This report from Econsultancy confirms RBC’s approach; consumers prefer to voice their thoughts over social media opposed to the traditional phone-in support line. They prioritize an immediate response over their other concerns regarding customer service. Twitter users can also spark engagement from their friends, who can piggyback on their tweets, helping it to gain traction and ensure a response.
So where does this put Instagram? The social media giant has too gained its place among the business community. Specifically, Instagram is the perfect medium for building a dedicated and engaged following. Users with high-quality photos and a specific niche have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers, who without fail, consume the content of these “influencers”.
The difference with Instagram is that users feel a direct connection with the accounts they follow. A fashion influencer that posts an image of a flamboyant outfit inspires their followers; that society has no limit on how they can express themselves. The next photo could be a casual Friday outfit that gets the same level of engagement, with their followers relating to the feeling of comfort over pleasing others. Influencers have authority over their fans, and this carries over to brands as well.
This can sound a bit fluffy, so Kissmetrics backs it up perfectly with this excerpt:
“Instagram is a visual platform. We already know that pictures get 5x higher engagement on Twitter, and photos make up 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts. With Instagram, it’s all photos and video.”
The value to Instagram lies in its ability to stirs its users’ emotions, specifically by using photos and videos. The translation for brands is not immediate, but is very significant.
Brands need to let users feel like they are part of the business. While that can mean part of the physical process (and brands do a great job of that too), it often means having your followers associate their lifestyle with your brand. A prime example can be seen with Hudson’s Bay and Steam Whistle Brewing, and their recent work with influencer Victoria Hui.
Whether their followers are getting ready for a summer picnic or are sitting at their desks wishing they were, both Hudson’s Bay and Steam Whistle Brewing hit home with content like this.
It may seem daunting at first, but your brand can amplify its messaging tenfold once you narrow down the image you are looking to portray. Think you’ve got an idea? Our influencers would love to help.