Instagram marketing as a whole isn’t new, but it’s caused a dramatic shift in the ways marketers reach out to consumers and enhance their opinions of products or companies.
Here are 6 reasons why Instagram is a marketing game-changer
1. Grand Opening Events and Entire New Stores Now Focus on the Platform
Brands know it’s necessary to create a buzz around grand opening events and new stores. Otherwise, people won’t feel compelled to engage with those milestones, and they may keep shopping online instead of in brick-and-mortar outlets.
When Cover Girl unveiled its new physical store in an ultra-competitive area — Times Square, to be exact — the brand realized it was especially important to show that it had innovated with the times, plus keep attention on the new branch in a place where people have dozens of other options for shopping.
More specifically, the new store caters to Instagram aficionados by featuring a booth — complete with music and artificial intelligence-equipped mirrors — where people can make 30-second clips of themselves trying on makeup. The goal is to get people to share that footage on Instagram, and Emmanuel Bou, brand manager for CoverGirl USA, says the whole store is Instagram-focused.
Instagram personality Kwaylon Rogers understandably relied on the platform when he opened a restaurant called Krab Queenz Houston. The grand opening got promoted on the restaurant’s official Instagram profile, but Rogers’ personal Instagram page also announced the event. The Instagram star showed up at the restaurant’s launch too.
These examples show how Instagram is spurring decisions marketers make about how to spread the word about new stores.
2. It Acts as a Portal to Other Content Arms
Instagram stories give companies continual opportunities to highlight the topics that matter and encourage people to get interested. One relatively recent addition to Instagram’s assortment of offerings that could benefit companies is the “swipe-up link.” It’s an upward-pointing arrow that says ‘See More’ underneath. People who respond to that call to action get taken to external links, thereby stimulating traffic to other sites.
For example, a swipe-up link might go to a company blog or send people to pages about topics mentioned in the Instagram story. National Geographic, which has tens of millions of Instagram followers and is immensely successful on the platform, began using swipe-up links to encourage people to sign up for the brand’s newsletters.
A study by Klear indicated 45 percent of brands post Instagram stories once a week, and merchandise-related content is the most popular type. However, companies need not only use swipe-up links to take people to purchase pages. They could also send people to how-to videos for certain products, customer testimonials and more.
3. It Complements Homepage Marketing
Instagram has gradually rolled out ways to let people shop on Instagram.
For starters, when people see things they can’t wait to own while scrolling through Instagram stories, they can tap those products and learn more about them through the brand’s online store links. There’s also a shopping section of Instagram’s Explore channel, featuring personalized content.
Shoe-Inn is a retailer of high-end footwear that features a live feed of Instagram content near the bottom of their homepage. Plus, when people use the Instagram app to access Shoe-Inn’s feed, it’s possible for them to buy the footwear they fancy through the Instagram app. This smart approach increases interest in the brand’s Instagram feed by encouraging website shoppers to check out the content there.
However, if people primarily see Shoe-Inn’s content through the Instagram app, they don’t get left out, and can quickly act on their desires to purchase the shoes they love. It’s one thing for brands to have icons in their site footers that take people directly to the Instagram feed. But doing as Shoe-Inn has increases the chances for prolonged engagement, mainly due to the visual aspect.
Companies should look for other ways to make website and Instagram feed material complement each other. Doing that works especially well when promoting products by demonstrating how people could use them or benefit from them.
4. It Gives People Another Way to Reach out to Companies
Several years ago, Instagram started offering a Contact button that gave feed viewers a direct line to the companies associated with the profiles they saw. Some brands use that button for customer service outreach purposes. In the United States, Garnier uses the contact button to connect people with its call center. And, Benefit, the famous cosmetics brand, relies on the button to answer customers’ questions.
Twitter has proven people appreciate getting quick responses from the teams that oversee that channel. They’d rather type a few lines to describe their problem or clarify a question compared to spending what likely amounts to substantially more time by dialing a phone number or typing a lengthy email to the brand.
Although brands that use Instagram’s contact button may not want customers to give up on traditional methods of getting in touch, having this option on Instagram increases the access customers have to the companies and potentially cuts out the frustration they may feel when they’re unsure how to get in touch.
It’s necessary to have an Instagram Business profile to list contact options on an Instagram profile. However, including information for customers who want to connect is a best practice for providing customer service via Instagram. Plus, it can go hand in hand with other marketing methods. Some people may use the Contact button to find out more about a product highlighted in an Instagram story, for example.
5. It Gets People Interested in Using Instagram Differently
Many people visit Instagram because they want inspiration or appreciate being able to follow what’s happening with the brands and people they love. Those are valid reasons for going to the platform, of course. But, easyJet, the budget airline, launched an app called Look & Book. It brings Instagram photos into the flight-booking process.
When using the iOS app, people can import Instagram photos into the app and get details about where the snapshot originated and how to plan trips to the place. Also, although the feature only works for Instagram now, the brand says it may branch out and incorporate other channels like Snapchat and Pinterest.
easyJet already features picturesque destinations on its Instagram feed, and, indeed, that tactic represents on-point brand messaging. However, the new app emphasizes that the airline also knows people may see outstanding scenery elsewhere on Instagram. easyJet wants to do everything it can to cater to the Instagram generation as they book flights, and the app is a step in the right direction.
Other brands could take similar steps by assessing how aspects of their businesses might translate readily into an Instagram-friendly app feature or promotion.
6. It’s an Effective Lead Generator
Marketers understand how to depend on various tactics to identify their most likely leads and stimulate those people to take desirable actions. However, Instagram may mean they don’t have to do those things as often.
A collection of compelling Instagram statistics reveals 80 percent of people on the platform follow at least one brand, and three-quarters of them take action after seeing posts. So, this data showcases Instagram could remove a significant amount of guesswork from the lead generation process. Marketers do not have to wonder if people are likely to become loyal customers.
If they use Instagram and take time to follow the brand, the latter sign is a particularly strong one that people want to learn more. The statistics above also highlight how crucial it is for brands to create content that’s on message and interesting for followers.
Instagram Is Bursting With Promise for Forward-Thinking Marketers
This list shows some of the reasons why, when used well, Instagram is so effective for getting the public to pay attention in this world where numerous factors compete for their interest at any given time.
Adapting some of the techniques used here for similar marketing outreaches could pay off for brands in meaningful, measurable ways.