Research shows that user engagement on Instagram is higher than Facebook or Twitter. How can companies use this to market themselves?
Popular culture is rife with references to Instagram, ranging from the advent of selfies to the growing tendency of people to add filters to their photographs. That said, many companies are still ignoring the online mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing service, preferring instead to market on Facebook or Twitter. What they don’t know is that Instagram offers strong extra opportunities, adding a new dimension to companies’ marketing process.
Instagram gets more engagement from users than Facebook and Twitter
Even though Facebook and Twitter are losing popularity among young customers, Facebook still has more users. The users’ engagement rate is really different though. Forrester Research led an enquiry on seven social networks, studying interactions between users and brands. Basically, these interactions are quite low. But the interaction rate on Instagram is nearly 60 times higher than on Facebook, and 120 times higher than on Twitter.
Why? First, except in the United States, there are no ads on Instagram. This is in contrast to Facebook. Second, it must be the power of pictures. Pictures capture people’s attention like nothing else. And looking at marketing trends, pictures are playing a more and more important role compared to text. Videos are even more crucial. One year ago, Instagram introduced video-sharing in its application. Short videos are very efficient in catching people’s attention.
Instagram marketing easily reaches a large amount of viewers
Stunning beautiful scenery shots are often considered as best performing on Instagram. Even if this seems not to be business-friendly — except if you are selling vacation packages — there are many ways to use Instagram to develop your brand’s image. If your products are “sexy”, Instagram marketing is easier. If not, there are still a lot of opportunities.
For one, Instagram users love following stories. Telling stories with pictures — whether showing your product or not, but always using convenient hashtags — has become really fashionable and strongly followed. Instagram is also a great tool to have the users feel that they know you better. Posting photos and videos of your staff, even of your CEO, working or having some fun at workplace is also well appreciated.
As an example, eBay has developed this kind of marketing on its Instagram account. It uploaded a picture on Instagram that showed its smiling friendly staff helping the Second Harvest Food Bank, sorting and packing almost four tons of oranges. Of course, eBay used the hashtag #Instagood, which is the second most used hashtag on Instagram, with more than 100,000,000 pictures.
Cerebos, in partnership with Akimi Technologies, has adopted a novel approach towards user engagement. It leverages on the tendency of Instagram users to take selfies, and provided a branded platform for users to shine. Further efforts were taken to integrate Instagram photos with print ads on Cleo magazine. These enhances Brand’s Innershine Collagen product positioning in the market and creating brand voice effect within the target market.
The company got very good results with its Instagram campaign: “Cerebos was able to rapidly grow a following of 2.5K in two weeks, with an astounding engagement rate of 30-40 per cent,” explained Cedric Mui Cheok Mun, Digital Marketing at Cerebos. The campaign created conversational intimacy with consumers, talking about things they are interested in and not what the brand is selling.
What is even more interesting is the speed of response: consumers reacted to posts almost in real-time. “In the past six months, we have seen an increasing number of requests from brands on Instagram Marketing. We believed Instagram has become a key marketing channel for a lot of brands to quickly reach out their targeted users,” noted Francois Martel, Accounting Executive, Akimi Technologies.
Instagram’s great strength: Instagram marketing does not appear like advertising to users
Instagram is not really about selling your products. It is more about branding, i.e. being known. But how do you measure this? The number of followers or likes is not enough to do so. That said, there are now many tools available that give accurate statistics: Iconosquare, Nitrogram, SumAll, and some others.
With this, even large companies as MNCs have begun to run Instagram campaigns. Some companies like GoPro have managed to transform their Instagram page as a place for users to show their own pictures and videos. Starbucks has a similar strategy, making its followers famous with great Instagram contests. On Instagram, fun and creativity really matter. And finally, users often easily get involved in marketing campaigns on Instagram.
Starting from this observation, Heineken led an innovative campaign which really caught users’ attention for some days. From Instagram pictures, the firm created an interactive scavenger hunt. Fans were given a photo and had to guess what the whole picture (built as a mosaic of small ones) was about. To win, they had to hashtag the right answer. It worked because firstly, people had to guess several times to get the right answer, waiting for new clues. Then, thanks to a real-time activity from the community managers, fans enjoyed a great interactive experience. For example, Heineken took advantage of the craze for the US open:
According to us, this must be Instagram’s best strength: a good Instagram marketing does not look like advertising. And users value this.
Note: This article is sponsored by Akimi Technologies.
Cerebos offers food and health supplements all over the world with diversified brands, like Brands InnerShine. Registered in Singapore, Cerebos benefits from a 60 year experience to deliver value to customers.
Cerebos’ Instagram campaign was run by Akimi Technologies, a digital development agency focussing on building useful digital products through websites and mobile applications.