It’s no secret that brands are moving away from traditional marketing strategies—TV, print, and radio—and focusing their efforts on social media instead.
For some brands, which means Instagram has been a total game-changer. Instead of utilizing traditional marketing strategies, they have found an “Instagram-first” strategy to be a more efficient use of their budgets—and a greater fit for their unique brands.
Secrets of three Instagram-first brands
In 2014, ultra-popular beauty blogger Emily Weiss launched the make-up and skincare line, Glossier. Not like other beauty brands you may see in your local department store or on the chicest shopping streets in your city, Glossier is nearly an entirely online experience.
“We operate solely via social channels,” Weiss told Mashable. “You’re allowed to get, by leveraging technology, a greater brand with immediate outcomes. We know our customer, what she’s bought, and put her on her journey. If she likes Haloscope, perhaps she is a make-up girl and will like lipsticks.”
Build a cohesive (and eye-catching) visual brand
It’s nearly impossible to go on Instagram and not see the familiar pink of a Glossier post. Whether it is a top-notch influencer sharing their favorite products or a happy customer showing off an unboxing on their Instagram Stories, the company has made an incredibly social media-friendly model.
Thanks to Glossier’s aesthetically pleasing packaging and fashion-forward branding, their products are extremely photogenic. The hashtag #glossier has more than 194,000 posts—and is rising by the minute.
The nature of the merchandise themselves does not harm either. Customers usually share selfies that include make-up looks they have created with Glossier merchandise, many of which Glossier then features on their official Instagram page.
What could your business do to make a shareable Instagram-first brand like Glossier?
- Select a dominant visual look and style, and stick to it. Glossier is known to favor minimalism and millennial pink. Whether it is an image of a stylish bathroom sink or a text-based Q&A video, Glossier has those elements front and center on Instagram. Once you do not have a bricks-and-mortar store, it’s even more necessary for your social media presence to set your brand’s tone and have an impact.
- Put the highlight on your customers. Whereas Glossier has labored with main influencers, their Instagram feed is filled with “regular” customers who’ve used their merchandise with good outcomes. The common buyer does not have the same access to resources that a highly-paid influencer may, so in showing that these beautiful outcomes could be achieved by anybody, Glossier proves they understand their audience’s needs.
As a die-hard La Croix fan (hello, coconut), I was not surprised to find out that the flavored sparkling water firm’s profits more than doubled from 2015 to 2017, rising from $49.3 million to $107 million.
While the company has been selling their now iconic cans for more than 30 years, La Croix has seen a remarkable resurgence in recent years—and this resurgence isn’t coincidentally aligned with Instagram’s rise in popularity.
Though La Croix definitely is not the only sparkling water brand out there, they stand out because of their concentrate on digital over traditional marketing strategies.
“The company is especially active on Instagram, where it really works with an enormous community of “micro-influencers” (the term for customers with thousands, instead of lots of thousands, of followers) and encourages followers to use hashtags to share La Croix recipes and experiences,” Fortune’s Laura Entis explains.
And, due to its calorie and sweetener-free status, La Croix is recognized as a healthier alternative to sugar-packed beverages. As a result, hoards of health and nutrition influencers have been happy to include La Croix products in their posts.
Like Glossier, La Croix’s aesthetically pleasing packaging helps increase brand recognition amongst Instagram users both on and offline. Followers will proudly share the highlight with a can of their favorite La Croix flavor—an instant prop that nods to their apparent healthy lifestyle and awareness of trends. By making their product the ultimate hip Instagram accessory, La Croix has become somewhat of a digital advertising and marketing legend.
How could your brand tap into the power of La Croix?
- Think about how your services or products could be used in Instagram content. Not everybody will have such a photogenic product, however, there are methods to feature even the most mundane items in ways that make your customers want to share it on their own feeds.
- Consider lifestyle trends. La Croix hit social media at the perfect time when soda is becoming less and less en vogue and millennials are searching for fun props and status symbols for their Instagram posts. While your product may not perfectly fit into every new phenomenon, consider aesthetic trends you could follow. Right now minimalism, a particular shade of purple, and an earthy boho look are all stylish in the design world. Those are all looks which you could easily incorporate into your Instagram posts.
- Work with micro-influencers. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, there is a relevant micro-influencer on Instagram.
Since 2014, Article has been bringing beautiful furniture to prospects throughout North America—all without a single physical showroom. The modern interiors firm believes that in cutting out the middlemen(salespeople, warehouses, export agents, wholesalers, manufacturers, etc.) the customer gets a more efficient and economic experience.
Because they have no showrooms for customers to see and try the furniture out in person, Article’s social media presence is essential. “Instagram and platforms like Pinterest really assist showcase our creative since they are visual-centric platforms,” Article’s director of marketing Duncan Blair told MiC.
To make sure they are getting the most out of every post, Article’s marketing team concentrate on the ability of Instagram adverts. In 2016, the company developed a campaign with the aim of growing sales amongst new and returning customers. These successful adverts featured interiors styled with Article’s furniture, making an aspirational (yet attainable) experience for the viewers.
A giant part of Article’s advert technique is paying close attention to their online viewers. Instead of simply utilizing traditional demographics, the marketing team targeted lookalike audiences based on interests similar to current customers, along with retargeting adverts to those who had visited the site without making a purchase.
Blair explained that focusing on was “also based on people with tastes in verticals like food, art, and tech, in order to capture an audience that was younger or more tech-native (those who were already comfortable with making major purchases online).”
Due to this advert campaign, Article saw an 8X return on ad spend, and 36 % of sales included Instagram in the customer journey.
How could your Instagram strategy get you outcomes like Article’s?
- Run Instagram adverts. Social media adverts have confirmed to be an effective means for generating new business, and Instagram adverts are no exception. Gone are the days where you can depend on your organic content material to get outcomes.
- Concentrate on your target customer. Whether sharing a paid or organic post, you should know who your customer is. Make a goal persona to help inspire organic content, and then build your paid audiences based on this info. Begin by figuring out the sorts of posts or brands your ideal customer is already engaging with on Instagram, and go from there.
- Make it as simple as possible for your audience to buy your product via Instagram. Without a physical store, Article knows their Instagram showroom should be simple to navigate. They regularly use shoppable posts that permit their audience to purchase a featured product directly from the Instagram content. When you’re looking to create shoppable posts for your own brand, try Instagram’s help article on the subject.
Once you do not have a bricks-and-mortar location, it could be hard to offer your customers a truly immersive brand experience. However, with the right methods, an Instagram-first presence could be the best thing to occur to your business.