How top brands are using Instagram

How Top Brands Are Using Instagram

More and more, Instagram is illuminating our social media lives with eye catching content and captivating illustrations of the world around us.

Figures released by Instagram in November 2014 show registered accounts at more than 200 million monthly actives, with 65% of whom are based outside of the United States showing its global penetration.

In an Irish context, 18% of Irish adults have an Instagram account, with trends showing growth of 1% per quarter since November 2013, according to the latest Social Networking Quarterly from IPSOS MRBI. Of these Instagram users, 41% claim to visit the network at least once per day.

From Instagrams humble beginnings in 2010, top brands quickly identified the platform as a powerful and creative means of reinforcing their identity and increasing their exposure to customers. Instagram has empowered companies to experiment with different ways of visually expressing themselves by embracing the mantra “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Brands are telling stories to their followers with images, combining light-hearted content with business related postings.

Major global companies such as BMW, Adidas and Starbucks feature in the top 20 most successful brands on Instagram. Companies are using Instagram, in conjunction with other social media networks, to run exciting, visually stunning campaigns to launch new products.

Nike

Sitting pretty on top of the list for most successful brands on Instagram with 8.4 million followers, Nike has firmly established itself as the undisputed blue-ribbon brand on the platform. The key to their success lies in their understanding of the psychology behind Instagram. Upon visiting the Nike Instagram page, Instagrammers are hit with a blend of awe-inspiring landscapes with people in situ using their products.

Nike also reaches out and engages with their Instagram devotees and created arguably the most successful ever Instagram campaign, Nike PHOTOiD. The campaign centred around encouraging fans to design a colour scheme for their shoes and then upload them with a background image of their choosing. Nike integrated the competition across other social networks also, with many entrants sharing their compositions with friends. The best submissions were collated and published on Nike’s Instagram feed.

Nissan Europe

A household name in the car industry, the European operation for this leading Japanese car manufacturer launched an innovative campaign to promote their “Juke” range of cars. This was Nissan’s first foray in to the world of Instagram campaigns and has proved a launchpad for the success of their brand on the platform.

Instagrammers were able to take a picture of themselves, upload the photo to Instagram using the hashtag #JukeDNA and in return Nissan Europe would retweet a custom image of the uploader with the new Nissan Juke.

This was a very fun project which allowed fans of the car to have their “15 minutes of fame” by being retweeted by a huge brand like Nissan, and of course Nissan received a huge volume of exposure from people sharing their custom Juke image with their friends.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Even on our own shores, traditional Irish brands are using Instagram to project their image and promote their products to both the Irish and global market. A company established in 1780 embracing Instagram, is a true indicator of the importance in innovation to remain relevant in today’s world.

When people think of whiskey, they can often conjure up the image of old men imbibing the spirit. Jameson’s Instagram page does a fantastic job at challenging this preconception. Their gallery contains many posts featuring young people enjoying Jameson. Content showing photos from Jameson sponsored music events and posts celebrating the arrival of the weekend resonate with a younger demographic than traditionally associated with whiskey drinking.

Jameson’s hugely popular annual “First Shot” competition which showcases the talent of emerging filmmakers is also given promotion on Instagram. Hollywood A-list actor and director Kevin Spacey is an ardent and continued supporter of the event. Using the hashtag #jamesonfirstshot, Jameson’s Instagram page highlighted Spacey’s association with the First Shot initiative by showing an image of the star attending the awards event. By aligning themselves with a celebrity of this calibre, and supported with a visual evidence, Jameson were able to bring some gloss, validation and Hollywood feel to their filmmaker awards.

Join the party!

We are only scratching the surface of what can be achieved through the magic and potential held within Instagram. Some of the world’s leading brands are taking advantage of this untapped digital marketing resource, isn’t it about time your business got in on the action?

Contact us today to enquire about our Instagram Masterclass which is aimed at educating businesses large and small on how to utilise Instagram to its fullest as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Written by Martin Gaffney.

Martin currently lives, studies and works for a large multinational in Cork City. He holds a Higher Certificate in Business and is currently studying a Bachelor of Business in Management at Cork Institute of Technology. Martin is an avid technophile and his interests range from engaging digital content to market research. Electronic music and Cork City FC are Martin’s other love interests. You can find him on Twitter @GaffKiiid.

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How to use amazing Instagram content to boost your digital marketing

If you don’t care about the future of your business or customers, stop reading now.

Instagram is a tremendously powerful platform and it’s your duty to leverage it for your business. User engagement levels are 15 times higher than Facebook, and over 75% of leading brands are already present on the platform.

Maybe you already knew that or you are already using Instagram.

But are you using it like the pros?

Most people are going in blind and then wondering why that photo of John’s leaving drinks didn’t get any likes; or why that whiteboard brainstorming session didn’t get any feedback; and don’t get me started on stock images of the product. The images aren’t appealing, and who wants to follow an assortment of photo garbage?

People want to engage with you, but most of the content you upload doesn’t relate to them.

It’s key that you get involved, start with a good foundation, create meaningful interactions with your community, and fine-tune your message to improve your brand’s visibility.

What’s the best way to do that you ask?

I’ve been playing around and experimenting with Instagram for the last two years. With ups and downs I’ve built a strong following by captivating and engaging my audience. I won the ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign by Tourism Australia, helped their marketing team with one million Instagram followers, and was a finalist in the first ever Insta-Film Festival.

These experiences have taught me a number of ways to organically grow and maintain a strong following. Yet nobody teaches these things in school.

I want to share with you a few examples and techniques that have helped me along the way. Here’s a teaser to skim the surface.

Examples:

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1. Pick Your Topic
Cats, food, fashion, nature, portraits, sunsets, selfies. Whichever you select, your photos need to be centred on that topic. Consistency is key.

If you have a talent (everyone does) you could showcase that. Be it dancing, drawing, literature, fashion trends, great cooking or an obscure interest. There are bound to be people searching for the same interest.

Pick a topic that you’re most happy with and stick with it. It will define who you are.

If all else fails, just take photos of your pet.

 

pick

 

2.  Hashtags (Done Right)
Ok so people (usually always) say you need to tag your photos. Each photo is allowed a maximum of 30 tags. But wait!

Stop hash tagging so much! You’re annoying people.

As you’re posting you can tag your photo with some relevant tags (zero to eight maximum), then wait and put the remaining tags as a comment so that not many people will see them, but makes your photo still findable in search.

 

hashtags

 

3. Reaching out to Accounts
To take you photos to the next level you need to get them in front of a huge audience.

There are hundreds of accounts with huge followings that repost other peoples photos. If they pick your photo you’ll get credited, and get great exposure.

 

accounts

 

Your job is to find accounts that post similar photos to you. Tag your photo with their name, tag their account and hashtag in your caption or in a comment under your photo, and hope they love your photography.

The more accounts that feature your photos the more likes and followers you get. In order to be featured your photos need to be epic.

———–

 

Here’s your chance to learn a lot more.

We’re offering you a course in the coming new year 2015 with some amazing material that will definitely help your business succeed. If you’re interested then drop us a line.

I’m @daxon on Instagram, or tweet me @daxon

 

Online + Offline = Bottom Line

Online + Offline = Bottom Line for Institute of Directors

Conor Lynch presented to an audience of Irish business directors for IOD Ireland last week about how Online + Offline = Bottom Line.  His short presentation focuses on the opportunities available using social media and digital listening.

Please get in touch if you would like Conor or one of our team to come and talk at your business event.

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Select The Right Digital Channels For Your Next Campaign

For any type of campaign or marketing plan your business has run in the last few years (and certainly in future), digital channels may be playing an increasing role.  They make your audience easier to reach, providing instant delivery and the chance for rapid response.  Any offer or update you deliver digitally also allows easy sharing over social media and possibly best of all, digital marketing channels are so easy to measure.  Digital can now stand shoulder to shoulder with traditional marketing channels in the majority of businesses.

The various types of digital marketing channels all hold different strengths that will make some more important for your own business to focus on.  The mix you select depends on your own goals for your online marketing plan, the type of message you hope to deliver, and of course the audience you hope to reach.  Let’s start with a quick look at some popular uses of different channels.

Digital Channels – The Usual Suspects

Email – For lengthier announcements like new product launches, monthly newsletters, email is often the channel of choice

SMS – Great for bite size offers and updates.  Often includes a prompt or code to redeem on another channel (e.g. purchase online with voucher code).

Website – With the rise of content marketing, a company website often houses important areas like the company blog.  It is now usually the hub for many digital marketing campaigns.

Mobile Apps – Often used by existing customers. GroupOn, Booking.com, eBay are some of the companies keeping customers ‘captive’ while browsing this way.

Social Media: Facebook – Great for awareness based campaigns.  Allows brands to humanise themselves and improve interaction with their audience.  Useful for promoting offers too.

Social Media: Twitter - Useful for building interaction, and for improving customer service satisfaction.  Suited to important announcements, breaking company news and pop-up sales.

Don’t Overload Your Digital Audience

 

As you can see above, some digital marketing channels are more suitable for certain messages than others.  It is important to bear in mind too that many members of your audience may have simultaneous access to several of these channels at once.  The smartphone means that your offer could be received by SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter all at once to the palm of the owner’s hand.  This can reduce the effect of the message you hope to deliver so consider this when planning a campaign across multiple digital channels.

 

The Power Of Measurement

Digital marketing channels offer a reliable, instant and easy to digest measurability that can be key in monitoring performance during and after a campaign.  You can actively monitor digital metrics such as responses and shares, viral reach of your social media posts, click-through rate and many more. We explored metrics such as this in a previous post.  Match what you are measuring to your own marketing goals and all can be useful signposts on the road to a successful multi channel marketing campaign.

Always be testing

It could be seen as conventional wisdom to say that younger consumers, especially ‘digital natives’ are best contacted through digital means.  Will they eagerly share an offer posted via social media, or any digital medium that pops up on their smartphone?

Then consider older consumers, do they still prefer the tried and tested ways, loving a letter in their postbox to offer them a discount or bonus?

If you assumed this is the ‘norm’ for these different types of consumer, this may be a good guess, but what about your customers, can you be so sure?  Don’t rest on your laurels and assume you have everyone figured out.  Your own audience will tell you by previous behaviour how they can be tickled with an offer and what digital channels they are happiest to respond by.  Your own findings may even surprise you.  Launch, test, refine, repeat!

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In Summary

Whether your next digital marketing campaign is primed to raise awareness, build customer interaction, increase sales or to generate new leads, you have many marketing channel options to ensure you can deliver your message successfully.  Match your channel mix to your own campaign focus, always be aware of what your customers are telling you by their previous responses.  Don’t be afraid to evolve the process over time.

The next time your business has a new product or offer ready to promote by digital means, delivering it appropriately to your audience is a big step in turning a good campaign into a great one.

 

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Match Metrics To Your Strategy – A Focus On Facebook

We have looked at the main success factors in great digital marketing last week, so today we’re going to laser in on one of the social media giants: Facebook.

Besides your own website, Facebook is arguably your online shopfront.  With this in mind, using Facebook to build customer satisfaction is key but monitoring your performance is just as vital.

 

Facebook – Made to Measure

Okay, so you have built up a healthy following and you feel you are engaging your fans well.  Regular updates and the odd cat meme?  Excellent, but remember that every aspect of your Facebook interaction with fans can be measured to hone your efforts further.   One point to note however, is to link these metrics with your Facebook strategy.

The basic (and the most popular) metrics to note are fan count, likes & comments.  As these grow, they provide many a marketer with a warm and fuzzy feeling of success!  Simply speaking, a rise here is a positive step but if not allied to your objectives they mean surprisingly little.

Measure Against Your Goals – An Example

A brief example that this humble writer can recount was from time spent working with a local visual arts festival.  One early objective was a campaign for artistic submissions launched worldwide to give the festival an international flavour.   The net was spread wide to forums, Facebook & Twitter communities etc to attract them.  After this big push, the event’s Facebook friend count increased by 400% in three weeks!   Cue the celebrations, until the next phase of marketing began.  This was centered upon promoting ticket sales and attendance, where local fans are the obvious target.   The discovery was sobering – our hyper-inflated friend count revealed that most of these new fans were international, from Asia, South America, even Australia…  None exactly in a position to attend a festival in Dublin!

Ready, Take Aim, Measure

What to take from here is that while basic Facebook metrics often highlight positive trends, they may not be the right ones for your aims.

Looking to spread great content?  – Look for number of shares of your links, or its ‘viral’ spread

Promoting an event? – Measure if fans are primarily in your area, promote posts to local users only

Increasing leads & referrals? – Check Google Analytics, are clicks from Facebook to your website growing?

If you want to use social media to improve your business, you’re in for the long game.  Returns may not be rapid, or easy to pinpoint at first but keep your objectives in mind and stay the course.  Growing your Facebook presence must be a means, not an end.  Whatever your business is looking to achieve, use Facebook to assist these goals and measure to suit.

business-engine-banner

Installing The Digital Marketing Cog Into Your Business Engine

Think of your business as an engine (a finely tuned one, no doubt)! If you introduce a new part or component into any engine, it will affect how the rest of the system performs. This principle is certainly true when looking at the explosive growth of digital marketing and its integration into your marketing and business functions. Let’s look at your business holistically and ensure that any digital integration assists and augments your existing business engine – a new part installed to increase performance!

 

Digital VS Traditional Marketing – No Need To Argue

Your business now has access to an already massive and ever growing digital marketing toolkit – a huge array of methods to interact with, understand and sell to customers online. Pulling back the curtain into this world means that you can dispense with traditional methods in future and bask in the warm success web based marketing offers? Not quite!

Traditional methods should rather be combined with and enhanced by digital options rather than being dispensed with. These methods have not been made obsolete by any means. Depending on the size of your business, the old reliables of TV, radio and print advertising can still be highly effective means for creating mass brand awareness. Direct mailing has stood the test of time but has arguably been surpassed by email marketing and is an example of digital’s great impact on the marketing old school.

Many companies have married old and new and created a little synergy by making the call to action on these campaigns digital based. Point customers to your website, encourage them to follow and interact on social media. Now these passive, unknown customers are made visible and ready for you to build relationships, leads and sales. This gives your brand an extra dimension through digital and is something we will delve into more tomorrow.

Tune-Up Your Other Functions With Digital

Once the marketing department have caught the digital bug, it often takes longer for these same approaches to be considered throughout the rest of the organisation.

Many firm’s customer service is still primarily phone based, but this burden on costs and man hours can be reduced by introducing platforms such as customer forums, live chat services and even website FAQ sections. If you are increasingly savvy gaining customers digitally, they may be disappointed that they cannot then follow up at other stages of their life cycle with you by these means also.

Digital is here to stay, so integrate it when possible all around your business, it should improve performance to misfiring parts and have the already finely tuned functions purring like a kitten.

Social Media Training – Special Offer for May

Training

SocialMedia.ie is continuing to train more and more people every day in the basics of social media. That’s why we are launching a multipart, introductory course to Social Media.

These days you need to be engaged with social media programs and platforms to stay up to date with the latest tools, technologies and trends especially if you work in business.

Choose from one of the three options:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
May 8th May 8th and 15th May 8th, 15th and 22nd
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy.
 You will also learn about budget software tools for measurement, monitoring and managing social media like a pro.
€55 €95 €145

If you’re interested in this offer then please call us at  +353 (0) 1 906 0006

All classes starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 9pm.

The classes will take place at the Digital Depot on Thomas Street, part of the Digital Hub.

 

Learn to love your social media competitors: They can do your market research for you.

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Market research is difficult and expensive, in both time and money. There are, however, those that already understand your market and they’ve been researching it for years. They are your competitors.

Don’t try to understand the market by yourself, let your competitors do it for you! Using Public data available through Social Media, you can analyse the market, see the status quo and understand what works and doesn’t.

Here are some of the things you can do by looking at your competitors data.

customer-segmentationSegmentation

Understanding your potential customers is of paramount importance. Who are they, what age are they, where are they located? Rather than trying to figure this our yourself you can just analyse the audience that follow your competitors. This will allow you to see the average customer that’s targeted by your competitors, which will make it easier for you to target them as well.

Which channels to use

Not every channel is equal. For some businesses LinkedIn works better, for others it’s Facebook. Experimenting to find out which works best for you can be time consuming. Instead, look at the channels your competitors are using. See which channels get the most attention and which gets the most shares. These are the channels you should be focusing on. There’s no point putting all your energy into a channel your competitors have already proven to be ineffective.

influencer-social-webInfluencers

Finding influencers takes a lot of effort, tools like Klout can make it easier, but a large time commitment is still required. There is a simpler way, use your competitors audience as a sample. Look for users that are highly connected in their communities. Look for people featured in multiple communities. These people have real sway over their audience. If you can get them to publish your content then you instantly get access to their market. Click here to learn more about influencers and how effective they are.

Emerging opportunities

Look at your competitors audience, listen for areas where they seem to be having problems. This will give you a much larger audience to listen to than just your own. Use the tips we outlined in our previous post to see the kinds of things you can learn. You’ll get a much broader picture of the problems people face. These problems are opportunities, by identifying them across the sector, you’ve given yourself a serious advantage.

These are just some of things that can be learned about your market by looking at your competitors. Remember, don’t waste your time performing extensive market research when you can use your competitors to do it for you.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest Digital Marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!