Instagram Lights Up Content Marketing Strategies

Starbucks has been a star on Instagram, using the social media platform to keep its face forward, reinforce its brand personality and announce seasonal drink offerings.

Starbucks has been a star on Instagram, using the social media platform to keep its face forward, reinforce its brand personality and announce seasonal drink offerings.

When you think of content marketing, Instagram doesn’t immediately leap to mind. That could be a mistake.

Susanna Gebauer, writing for The Social Ms, provides eight Instagram marketing case studies that show how brands are using this social media platform to light up their brands.

One of the threads running through the eight case studies is that marketing on Instagram isn’t radically different than marketing anywhere else. The demographics of Instagram users lean younger, but the key ingredient for success remains quality content.

Not surprisingly, NationalGeographic has one of the largest followings on Instagram with its vast collection of captivating photography from all over the world. National Geo has multiple accounts to cater to the particular tastes of wildlife lovers, and those segmented categories are visible on its Instagram accounts.

600 million active monthly users 300 million active daily users 95 million photos uploaded daily Instagram engagement rates are 2X other social platforms 4.2 billion “likes” per day 68 percent of Instagram users are female 77.6 million users are in the United States 28 percent of Internet users ages 18-29 are on Instagram To date, 40 billion photos have been posted on Instagram Pizza is the most prevalent post on Instagram Instagram influencers can charge up to $100K per post

600 million active monthly users

300 million active daily users

95 million photos uploaded daily

Instagram engagement rates are 2X other social platforms

4.2 billion “likes” per day

68 percent of Instagram users are female

77.6 million users are in the United States

28 percent of Internet users ages 18-29 are on Instagram

To date, 40 billion photos have been posted on Instagram

Pizza is the most prevalent post on Instagram

Instagram influencers can charge up to $100K per post

Photography is a staple of Instagram, and studies show that shooting and sharing photos with a brand can build an intense loyalty. Your brand strategy can be built around letting your customers show why they love you.

Office space provider WeWork also has tapped into the visual dimension of Instagram by encouraging people to post pictures with their pups at the office. The interactive outreach is intended to generate fun and fuzzy user content while building a sense of community around people – and dogs – at work.

Contests are no strangers to Instagram. Gebauer points to a campaign that asked women to post photos of themselves in Adidas Neo gear using the hashtag #MyNeoShoot. Contest winners were invited to model in a professional photo shoot. The hashtag drew 71,000 mentions and the Adidas Neo Instagram account added 41,000 followers.

Influencer marketing works on Instagram. Alaska Airlines partnered with eight Instagram influencers to launch its #WeekendWanderer campaign. Qantas formed a long-term relationship with the @GaryPepperGirl and her 1.6 million followers to generate brand loyalty.

Humor is an infectious content marketing tactic, which works its magic on Instagram, too.  Frank Bod, an Australian body and skin care product maker, uses Instagram to post funny pictures of customers and coffee, which is essential ingredient in the company’s product line. Posts are made with the #letsbefrank and come with zesty captions.

Storytelling has its place on Instagram. No Your City, a New York digital production company specializing in documentary web series, shares viewer-generated pictures and videos that tell stories about the cities where they live. The company features some of the submissions and undoubtedly gets ideas for its own productions.

Like other social and digital media channels, you need a strategy to be successful on Instagram, where on average 95 million photos are posted every day among the 300 million or so active daily users and 600 million active monthly users. Engagement rates on Instagram are relatively high, so it is fertile territory if you learn how to make Instagram work for you.

Gebauer notes Kayla Itsines, who sports more than 5.6 million followers, started out as a novice on Instagram. “She got herself some help and learned quickly,” Gebauer wrote. “She is now a master marketer of her fitness app and products. She tells stories with her images.” Just as important, members of her community spread stories about Itsines' app and products.

As would any smart content marketer, Itsines doesn’t put all of her eggs into one basket. She has a blog and website, publishes Ebooks, manages Facebook and Twitter accounts and has an app. Itsines has a content marketing strategy, and Instagram fits into perfectly.