IS IT EASY TO ATTAIN A FOLLOWING?
No, it’s hard work. It’s just like any marketing plan. It takes time, patience and a consistent strategy. Using Instagram as a portfolio for a visual aid is a great idea from a design agency perspective.
The goal I set for this was to use a direct consumer channel rather than my industry channels like Behance. Creating custom ads that show what value and offerings a design and marketing agency can bring to prospective clients.
Note; This strategy can be used by many businesses, and is geared towards those who offer visual tangible products. However, even life insurance companies or similar are not restricted – as they can also paint a picture quite easily on Instagram with the right creatives.
This is not the norm on Instagram, so I was intrigued to see how people would interact. I actually only embraced Instagram as we use Facebook ads heavily for clients as well as ourselves. With FB ads promoting Instagram ads as an option, combined with the mobile first thinking strategy, it made sense to test it out over an extended period to analyze the results and share these openly with everyone.
THE INSTA FLAKES
There’s an epidemic on Instagram with people following your account and once you reciprocate, they immediately unfollow. I have noticed others agree and have complained about this verbally and even in video format. My approach was to create the name “Insta Flakes” and create slapstick image posts that did seem to stem the tide, but it requires repetition.
Normally on platforms like Twitter, you would just unfollow but due to the sheer numbers that do this I elected to make a statement and block everyone that does unfollow. A bit radical some may say but ultimately I am only interested in genuine followers. The Insta Flakes should not have the benefit to sit in a dark corner on their phones watching. It’s lights out on my accounts for sure, a security against spam and also the joy of having these individuals repeat the process in a few weeks time.
NATIVE ADS & FACEBOOK CRITERIA
Facebook has this rather peculiar minimalistic ad restriction of limiting text content on images to ten percent of the image in a call to action on their advertising platform.
The argument is native ads, e.g. maintaining clean images on the Facebook website as adverts helps improve click rates and conversion. (An admission that they don’t want you to realize its an advert and hence more clicks.) This is attributed to the fact the ad blends seamlessly with the web page design.
However, with Instagram, I’ve been able to express creativity and these ads have been approved for display on Instagram via paid advertising on Facebook.
I am glad that is the case. On review of the Top 12 you can see all my graphics are heavy on design and content. Hence, they would fail the native test but common sense has been applied when submitting for paid ad approval, which has been granted in any I have submitted. That’s great news, bespoke Art design lives on.
The ten percenter rule is quite the contradiction. Web design predictions say that people want to move away from “stock images” to creative art and bespoke graphics. However, it’s a staple for the biggest Advertising Platform that consumes 70% of the paid ad marketplace revenues.
THE SALES FUNNEL
Instagram feels very personal and the relationships that you have with your account and followers is probably so because so much personal data is readily shared. As a Gen X, I like my privacy too much. However, Millennials (my crowd on Insta) were brought up with an iPhone as a baby sucker.
That’s great news for businesses and data scientists. An opportunity to use this free data is never ignored in commerce today. Quite frankly, I’m not here to share my last meal or pair of shoes I purchased in a picture. You can get away with that if you sell shoes or run a restaurant. This article is based on developing a commercial brand experience and monetization is the ultimate goal.
The only financial winners in the selfies stakes are the celebrities and influencers, and they earn vast sums of revenue for sharing their lives, I don’t. So I came here to learn how brands can create and generate business leads from marketing strategies that will be embraced by Instagram followers. I believe that sales and marketing is what we call it in any generational tongue.
If I go back in time to dial-up tones, AOL and Compuserve, I see Instagram (as well as Snap and WhatsApp) as the MIRC and Yahoo! Chat Rooms of old. It’s the same style of community with “rooms” for everyone to find their space. The only difference in this instance is your selection of followers are what the “room” theme becomes.
As a business solution, it’s early doors.
It’s no doubt the potential due to the freedom of information. It’s like heaven for data miners worldwide. The commerce channels that are into fitness, leisure and clothing will benefit wildly from being able to target Instagram accounts directly.
This differs from Twitter which is more of a news aggregator in my opinion. If I want to find out the “real news” then I can hop onto twitter instantly and find out what’s happening in Russia or the UK in an instant and it’s pretty much live.
Instagram is more of a personal diary for Millennials who either share their daily lives or post image quotes and pictures of “success” and that includes luxury lifestyles in the form of expensive cars and homes. They are at the dreamer stage. The Baby Boomers hold the disposable cash, the Millennials are trying to get there but are drowning in a poor economy and debt.
It’s understandable they are a bit lost. They don’t know what to post but they want to join in so the platform is overloaded with this theme. I am sure if you analyzed the percentage of quotes posted per day it would be substantial.
So yes, lifestyle brands will continue to find growth on Instagram and Pinterest image focused platforms. As for the rest of business, right now I think your ad spend and investment is best redirected to other advertising channels unless you have a niche and a product that will fit the Millennials “essentials” budget. What do I mean by essentials? Smoothies, Lululemom, Apple accessories and a print version book of quotes by the famously dead.
Remember, if you need assistance feel free to #sayhello (@browserweb on twitter) or email me personally if you have any questions or comments.
Browserweb.com, a Digital Media Company
ps. Yes, I promised to let you know what I meant by people not commenting and engaging but views go through the roof. I’ll leave you a final visual. The top video views post goes to…..