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Video: A Close Look at How Brands Leverage Instagram

In this video, George Kamide discusses new developments with Instagram and shares strategies on how brands can use the platform to capture users' attention at the level of imagination. Next up in our social media video series, Price and George focus on another image-rich platform, Pinterest.

  >> Click here for a direct link to this video.



George Kamide: Hi, and welcome back to the blog. In our last social media video, Price walked you through the basics of Instagram. Today, Instagram Part 2, where we dig into the photo sharing network a little deeper. Since we last talked about Instagram, the network has swollen to 300 million followers. A few third-party products have come out that seek to make brands' accounts shoppable. And last but not least, and most exciting for marketers, the network released Carousel Ads, but more on that in a moment. Instagram has been frustrating for some marketers. The network has been slow to integrate ads, targeting hasn't been very precise, and there hasn't been clean click through from individual posts making attribution tricky at best. But each social channel has its own unique strengths and Instagram, with its active user base and their demanding aesthetics, is particularly well-suited to branding and upper-funnel objectives. It's not just about photos. It's about selling your brand at the level of imagination. So, how do you do that? Well, you start with the audience. They're the foundation for everything. What does yours want? This is one of the insights our social audit uncovers. For one of our retail clients, we recommended they adjust their Instagram strategy to include more lay-down imagery. The result was a 486% growth in followers in six months. And this success bears out something that Price mentioned in Part 1, which is that images which appear authentic tend to outperform commercial product shots. In this same vein, Mercedes-Benz sourced the inspiration for a successful campaign last summer from an unbranded conversation on Instagram. To promote their new GLA SUV to a younger market, the brand based its content on the popular #ThingsOrganizedNeatly theme. The carmaker hired influencers to post photos with the same aesthetic with its branded hashtag, #GLApacked. In other words, you may not need to start from scratch. More than likely, your target audience is already telling you what they like. From there, you craft the campaign around a particular topic or user behavior. Now, if you're light on resources, consider tapping into Instagram itself. The network is a hotbed of creativity – bloggers, photographers, enthusiasts, you name it. Instead of trying to replicate their content, try collaborating. West Elm frequently hosts Instagram takeovers letting influential users post their decoration stories over a couple of days, effectively telling a visual story on behalf of the brand. And the subject of storytelling leads us back to Carousel Ads. Instagram likens this new product to a multi-page print spread in which users can scroll through a series of photos that tell a unified visual story. And, at long last, marketers, you can click through to site. Instagram is continually refining its features, but the primacy of the visual experience is likely to remain a top priority. So, it should be yours when formulating your strategy for the channel. If you have any more questions about social strategies, find us at merklerkg.com. Next up, Price takes you through Pinterest.