10 Lessons You Can Learn from the Best Brands on Instagram

Getting the hang of using Instagram can take some time, dedication and patience. Even those who aren’t new to the platform need to pay attention to trends and stay up-to-date and the latest features being unrolled.

If you want to gain followers and make money on Instagram, one thing that can truly help is to take notes on what others are doing. Take a look at these 10 lessons you can learn from some of the best brands on Instagram.

1. Let your customer be your best sales tool.

A lesson that often goes overlooked is the value in showing what your product can do. One of the best ways to do that is to showcase how your customers are using it. An added bonus of this approach is that it allows you to give credit to your followers and to generate increased engagement.

Adobe is a company that’s doing this right. They feature a ton of user generated images and art using their line of digital products in a way that is inspirational to their audience. It also shows the capabilities of their software. Most of us would consider that a win-win.

2. Show your creative side.

Due to the sheer volume of users on Instagram, it definitely helps if you have a creative approach to your marketing. Creativity is something that seems so simple, but truly takes a great deal of talent to pull off in ways that stand out from the crowd. L’Oreal is a brand that takes this concepts to new levels and excels in showcasing their products in visually appealing, yet innovative ways.

The one thing they’ve managed to pull off exquisitely is the placement of their products within their feed. A basic rule of thumb on this platform is to follow a common color theme within your feed in order to make it more pleasing to the eye. L’Oreal manages to showcase a vast array of colors within their product line in ways that make aesthetic sense. It’s playful, fun and a real work of art.

3. Be of value.

No matter how lovely your Instagram feed looks or how wonderful your product may be, you won’t get far on any social media platform if you don’t offer immediate value to your customers. They follow you for a reason. Some market research can clue you into what it is they want most. Once you find out what that is, be sure to deliver.

Give them a reason to want to follow you, as IKEA is known to do. They offer glimpses into how their furniture can be displayed within your home through both their image and video content.

Seeing items placed in real life settings shows how usable the pieces are and inspires followers to want to check out more. Also, while I don’t recommend this as a long term strategy, you can buy Instagram followers for social proof, so more people are likely to follow you.

4. Share instead of trying to sell.

No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Consumers want to exercise free will and choose the products and services they find worthy of their hard-earned dollars. Hard sells rarely go over well in any medium, but especially on social media platforms where transparency is crucial.

Try not to make every post a sales ad. It’s important to mix it up with content that’s relevant to your niche and that adds value, as already noted. Walmart does this quite well.

They showcase their products in a number of settings, both in-store and out in the world. They also feature images of associates and customers in relevant circumstances. They tell a story.

5. Just ask.

Increasing engagement is a goal most brands have on social media. When your followers are actively involved with you, they feel invested and are likely to become repeat customers. One of the best ways to increase engagement is to ask your audience for their feedback directly.

Whole Foods is a company that excels in this area. They ask insightful, meaningful questions within their captions to solicit input from their followers. In return, they receive tons of likes and comments.

6. Social media as customer service.

Social media channels have become the go-to for many consumers when it comes to voicing their opinions and seeking remediation when they’re dissatisfied with a brand. When done right, companies can actually benefit from this practice.

Zappos is one such brand leading the pack in this arena. They even set up a separate account just to manage such issues. Showing genuine interest in providing attention and an immediate response goes a long way when it comes to customer loyalty.

7. Involve users in real life. 

Most marketers don’t think to take social media into the real world, but it can make a significant different in your customer engagement and help you stand out from the pack.

Check out what the mattress company, Casper, is doing to get their products out there. One example is their brilliant marketing campaign, known as the “sleep tour”, that actually introduces customers to their mattress pads, pillows and even mattresses in real life.

8. Update a classic.

Some of the most well-known businesses are the ones who’ve been around and have thrived for decades. In order to make this happen, they must adapt and evolve with the times.

Wendy’s, the iconic fast-food chain, is one such brand that has reinvented itself on social media to an overwhelmingly positive response from customers. Their modern, edgy approach is appealing to millennials and a younger crowd. Who would’ve expected that?

9. Don’t be afraid to use video.

Instagram is a visual platform, and that doesn’t just mean static images. Users have proven they crave video content, and the most successful companies are happy to give it to them. Victoria’s Secret is one such brand.

In just a matter of six months on Instagram, they were able to gain approximately seven million followers. One reason for such success just might be their prolific library of videos showing everything from behind-the-scenes peeks to stunning product reveals.

10. Appeal to their senses.

Luxury automobile brand, Mercedes Benz, does something with their Instagram account that more brands would benefit from. They present their vehicles in a way that make them seem accessible to their followers.

They provide an insider’s view of what they have to offer and what sets them apart from their competition. Showing what it would be like to own and use their product is a quick way to grab attention and interest.

These 10 tips should provide you with a great deal to consider when mounting your own online marketing campaigns. Use the suggestions that mesh with your brand, and don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to discover what works best with your audience.

6 Ways to Develop Your Brand’s Voice on Instagram

Social media can seem like an overcrowded jungle with people fighting just to be seen. It’s true that Instagram is one of the most-used platforms out there, so making sure you stand out from the crowd is important.

One of the ways to do that is to develop a consistent image among your followers. Businesses and influencers that wish to gain a loyal following need to develop recognition and a reputation among their audience in order to succeed.

Your brand voice is the tone, messaging and overall aesthetic you bring to everything you do. It should be the same across all medium so that your customers and followers know what to expect. Maintaining this level of consistency can be a challenge. Check out these six ways to develop your brand’s voice on Instagram for some pointers.

1. Set goals.

Modern social media users are savvy. Gone are the days when you could just post cute memes, inspirational quotes and some random photos, then expect to maintain a loyal following. Now the market is crowded, and people curate their feeds ruthlessly. They know what they want, and they expect high quality from the accounts they follow.

That’s why you need a plan, strategy and goals. Defining your purpose for having an Instagram presence should be your first priority. Then you can outline the actions you’ll take to make that happen. When your purpose is clear, you can then create a brand voice to support it.

2. Consider your message and aesthetic. 

Once you have a plan, you can begin to sketch out how you want to portray your brand. Some consider this a theme or an aesthetic. It’s a culmination of all the things that go into creating the type of messaging you want your audience to receive.

So much goes into your brand voice. You’ll need to decide on the filters and colors you wish to use in your images, along with the types of content you plan to post. Those decisions are based on the kind of feelings you wish to invoke in your audience and what you wish them to take away from your feed.

The tone used in your captions and the ways in which you interact with followers is part of your overall voice, of course. Even the frequency of your posts and the ways in which you work to stand out from the competition matter. 

3. Know your audience.

 Having an understanding of your target demographic is crucial to creating a brand voice that will resonate with your followers. Sure, this is bound to change and evolve over time. However, creating an avatar, or ideal image, for the type of audience you wish to reach will help you develop a voice that attracts just such a crowd.

 4. Find your niche.

There’s a place for nearly any interest on Instagram. With so many users, there’s bound to be a large group of people who are interested in what you have to offer. The trick is deciding what that is, exactly. Your niche is a subgroup of a particular category.

Perhaps you’re a fashion influencer. That’s great. Lots of folks have an interest in this subject matter. But you’ll have to be more specific if you really want to stand out on Instagram. What particular segment of the fashion world do you wish to cover? The answer to this question will inform you of your niche.

Do you wish to focus on high-end apparel? Perhaps plus size fashion is your area of expertise. A knowledge of designers will appeal to some folks. Perhaps an inside look at the garment industry and manufacturing process is what you have to offer.

See how specific your niche can be? Knowing your niche will inform your overall brand voice significantly.

5. Maintain your beliefs.

 Do you have a mission or vision statement? What does your company stand for? How do you wish for your audience to perceive you?

What words would best describe how you see yourself? These are all things to consider when it comes to establishing a brand voice. The messages you send to your potential audience  affects how they choose to interact with you going forward.

This messaging must resonate with individuals in order to reach them and to convince them to stick around for what you have to say or offer. It’s important that what you put out there on social media reflects your core beliefs and who you say you are.

Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you understand and establish those beliefs early on in order to live them and portray them to others.

6. Remain consistent.

If you want to establish a significant and loyal following, you absolutely must be consistent in your branding. Your look, tone, wording, messaging and overall vibe should be recognizable to your followers.

This helps them to feel connected to you. It can also lead to increased engagement and loyalty when people know what to expect from your brand.

Easy recognition makes it easier to spot you in an overcrowded space, also. Everything about you should be consistent over time.

This is comforting to an audience and instills confidence in who you are. A big part of this familiarity is also about when and how often you post. Keep your posts as consistent as your branding, and your followers will respond favorably.

These tips will help you to create and establish your brand voice. It truly cannot be overstated how important this aspect is to social media success. Implementing these practices will help you build a more active and loyal following.