HomeBest PracticesInstagram Takes Visual Brand Promotions to the Next Level

Instagram Takes Visual Brand Promotions to the Next Level

As social media evolves, consumers are choosing which platforms will be huge successes, and which will not.  It seems as though each year there’s a new “star” – 2012 was the year of Pinterest, for example, and this year, Instagram is proving to be the “darling.”  Needless to say, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn rose to stardom in previous years and continue to be dominant players.

Marketers need to continually assess new opportunities presented by popular social media platforms to determine what’s best for their brand and where to connect with their consumers.  The Instagram community is thriving and major brands and companies are jumping on board: Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Marc Jacobs, and Red Bull are just a few examples of international brands that have aggressively adopted the mobile photo app into marketing strategies.

According to a current study by Simply Measured, 59% of the Top 100 Global Interbrand Brands have their own Instagram accounts. And according to the Instagram blog the two-plus-year-old platform is now able to reach over 100 million active monthly users. In comparison, Twitter broke the 200 million mark at the end of 2012 after six years.

What makes Instagram different from other social media networks such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter? It’s almost entirely photo-based and available only on Apple iOS and Android mobile phones and devices. Most importantly, it’s simple to use and is an effective vehicle for engaging consumers by allowing them to creatively express themselves about a brand from anywhere and on a 24/7 basis.

Why should businesses use Instagram?

Visual content is often mentioned as the main trend for 2013 because pictures appeal to emotions, and resonate across cultures. If we take a look at social networks in particular, photos drive more engagement than any other form of content. For example, on Facebook, photos have an interaction rate that is 39% higher than other posts. It is not surprising, then, to see Instagram rise to popularity so quickly.

Brands using Instagram successfully

If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get started or how to grow your current Instagram community with a great campaign, here are four brands that are successfully integrating the platform into their marketing mix:

  • Ford FiestaAt the start of 2012, Fiestagram was among the first Instagram campaigns executed by a big brand. With a simple photo competition, Ford was able to engage its target audience.  During the seven-week campaign, approximately 16,000 photos were posted, and the promotion received great visibility on Facebook and Twitter as well, with many users linking their social networks.
  • Red BullRecently, Red Bull held an Instagram contest that gave away two tickets to this year’s Red Bull King of the Rock Finals basketball tournament in San Francisco. To enter, followers had to take a picture of themselves with a basketball in unexpected, surprising locations and tag their photos #TakeMeToTheRock. The contest not only got followers excited, but also allowed Red Bull to make a statement to and connect with the sports community.
  • Tiffany & Co.Earlier this year, Tiffany launched an Instagram campaign that offered followers 3 new photo filters: Tiffany blue, peach, and black and white. Followers were also encouraged to tag photos of themselves and their significant others (#TrueLovePictures), and Tiffany featured a selection on its “True Love in Pictures” website. The campaign was a great way for Tiffany to provide its followers with relevant, brand-related content, while also inviting them to take part in the experience.
  • ComodoA Latin American restaurant in Soho, NY, Comodo, recently created an “Instagram menu” by asking clients to snap photos of their meals and tag them with the hashtag #comodomenu. Now, diners and curious prospective customers are able to search the hashtag to see photos of the restaurant’s offerings, creating a more interactive dining experience.  In addition, this creative use of the social platform portrays a “cool factor” about the brand.

Hopefully these successful campaigns have inspired you.  With Instagram there are opportunities for brands, companies and organizations of all types – globally, nationally and locally — to execute creative campaigns.  We’d love to hear about your favorite Instagram campaigns.