Instagram, the ultimate symbol of the superficial human condition, where we go to boast our bests and make our worsts look a bit better with a rose-tinted filter, it only makes sense that brands have caught on.
As usual though, local brands are being incredibly stubborn at using Instagram to expand and further establish their audience, and of the few brands that have decided to tick off the “full social media experience” box, only a handful are making the effort to use it to its fullest. This is especially sad for the media industry, where headlines can make their way away from the flood that has become Twitter and onto an image and video stream which will give people enough information to be informed, but also little enough to drive followers to your pages.
Instagram usage in South Africa doesn’t make it the largest or most significant social network, but at 680 000 users and growing, it’s definitely a good place to cement your presence. The question isn’t why though, for most brands I think the question that needs to be answered is “how” Instagram can benefit brands.
The answer comes down to one basic point, that it should be every brand’s goal to be as involved as possible in the lives of their target audience.
To put all of this into perspective, let’s take a look at what your content strategy should look like in order to work on instagram:
1. Growth on Instagram is all about the Hashtag for me. It’s the one place where there is no such thing as too many hashtags, or hashtagging yourself out, or cramping your hashtag. (It’s a rich area).
2. Let your images be good! Lots of Social Media ‘experts’ preach that the key to Instagram is exclusivity, and while that is a very crucial element to consider, you can’t be posting mediocre, Martha Stewart type shots. Like any social platform, Instagram only enhances, and does not work magic.
3. Search and engage with fans. Instagram isn’t as easy as Twitter or Facebook, people may not even know you exist if you don’t have a call to action outside of the platform. The key to staying engaging on Instagram is to make an effort to look for fans and then put their images in the spotlight in order to spark a chain reaction among followers.
So who are the brands who are getting it right?
Channel O with an average of +60 likes per image, for not only uploading exclusive event and interview content, but also remembering that it’s not all about the pictures you take, but also the relevant (good quality) images you can find.
Mr. Price Fashion with an average of +100 likes per image, for being the best in my opinion on Instagram, showcasing their products, while also posting relevant industry related content. By far the most consistent local fashion account on the platform.
Topshop SA with an average of +80 likes per image, for upholding the global position of the brand as being one of the most social labels in the world.
Now, onto the brands that I think could be performing a lot better:
Tourism SA with an average of +40 likes per image but only 901 followers, which is very disappointing considering the fact that they attempted to launch what I think was a brilliant concept for Instagram, the #MeetSouthAfrica contest which should have driven traffic to their account in the truckloads. Their mistake was not making their links between social platforms more fluid, and thus allowing for campaigns to gain traction on Facebook at the very least as well.
Revlon South Africa with an average of +20 likes per image, for not having a more enthusiastic call to action outside of Instagram because their content is excellent and the brand has the potential to be one of the biggest in the country on Instagram. I feel like someone at Revlon is just a little lazy to make the effort between social platforms, and that seems to be a big problem with a lot of brands.
Grazia with an average of +20 likes per image, purely because they can do so much better than that. Here is one of the country’s leading fashion publications, with endless resources, a mere stones throw away from Sandton and tonnes of exclusive content, all ruined by erratic posting but even more so by image quality. If I had a rand for every terrible photo they took at exclusive events and of upcoming items for the mag, I’d be a lot less broke than I am.
So the point is this, use your hashtags, advertise your content outside of Instagram, and always keep the quality and quantity of your content consistent.
Here is my infographic for you to eat up 🙂
(ps: the stats presented here do not represent the 3 best and 3 worst brands, but rather, the brands I thought should be mentioned.)
credits: NATIVE VML, World Wide Worx