Despite having the highest engagement among all social media platforms, few companies have truly tried to tap into Instagram's potential to create campaigns to engage with their audiences.
There are a few reasons why this is the case:
- Instagram’s disabling of URLs on users’ posts heavily crippled its ability to drive direct traffic from Instagram.
- There isn’t an advertising option on Instagram that’s similar to Facebook for brands to promote a campaign or product offering.
- Lastly, there is no default way for a user to re-share posts, which leaves brands with only hashtags to reach their audiences.
But all these little issues can be easily overcome with simple tips and tricks that we can learn from other brands.
Let’s start with the most important one.
#1 Understanding Your Instagram Audience
People visit different social networks for different reasons, and you need to know what type of post your target audiences love the most on Instagram.
Starbucks often curates users’ photos on Instagram and re-posts them on the company’s account. This small action lets customers know how much the company cares about their creative expressions and opinions.
In the past year, fans showed their creativity and love for Starbucks by drawing beautiful artwork on their cups and then posting photos of them on Instagram. Once the fans realized that Starbucks appreciated their efforts, as indicated by the reposting of the best artwork cups on the company’s Instagram account, more of them participated and more designs started popping up every day.
This excitement from fans and all the traffic it generated eventually led to the White Cup Contest. Here is an excerpt from Starbucks Newsroom on the contest: Starbucks Newsroom
“Waterman said he’s inspired by the creativity he sees throughout the Starbucks social community with cup art that’s been posted on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. People are already experimenting with different mediums, and he suggests they should ‘turn up the volume’ on their creativity with this contest.”
Most of the artworks are really amazing; see them for yourself over at Starbucks White Cup Contest. This is my favourite cup!
Most of the artworks are really amazing; see them for yourself over here. Starbucks White Cup Contest
So tip #1 is don’t simply hold a photo contest on Facebook and ask your Instagram audiences to participate as well. Understand what they love about Instagram and create a unique campaign for them.
Now it’s time to move on to the minor details on how to make an Instagram campaign successful.
#2 Get A Short And Easy-To-Remember URL
Directing traffic from Instagram has always been a problem for marketers as URLs are turned into ‘unclickable’ link text in users’ posts. By and large, this will usually result in a dip in conversation rates due to the additional steps that users have to go through.
Well if you can’t beat the game… try making it easier.
To overcome this restriction, use an easy-to-remember URL, like the one used for the Starbucks White Cup Contest: mystarbucksidea.com.
Although mystarbucksidea.com isn’t an URL that Starbucks created specifically for the campaign, it’s still very relevant.
I mean how easy to remember is that? It has the word “Starbucks,” the company name that everyone is familiar with. And the words “my” and “idea” relate to the contest theme of creating your own design for the white cup.
A short and easy-to-remember URL helps to lower users’ pain of going through that additional step of opening a browser to type the URL.
#3 Using Hashtag To Spread the Word About Your Campaign
Instagram is a social discovery platform where users love searching for others who are similar to them, which is why it is particularly important that you create a unique hashtag for your campaign.
A unique hashtag not only helps to spread awareness for your campaign when users talk about it, but also provides social proof when users search for that hashtag on Instagram.
Here is an excellent example of Bloesem Living.
See how the hashtag #WINBLOESEMCLASS describes both the contest as well as includes a mention of the brand.
Another way to spread the word with hashtags is to make use of more generic ones such as #contest, #giveaway or something more geo-specific such as #contestsg or #giveawaysg.
#4 Using Re-gram to Spread the Word about Your Campaign
If you are unfamiliar with the word “re-gram,” it simply means to re-post what another user has posted on Instagram. Unfortunately, Instagram has yet to make this function a part of the default app.
So users generally turn to apps from either Android or iOS to do the job for them. Or this can also be done via screenshot, editing and posting.
Now, there are several important factors to take note of when creating an image that’s perfect for re-posting:
- Understand that Instagram is a very visual platform at its core, to create photos that are visually appealing and that users will want to share.
- Keep your contest simple.
Don’t ask your audience to tag 10 of their friends, use 5 hashtags, or even to type a long string of text all at the same time.
To re-post your photos is already a chore in itself; don’t make it any more troublesome.
- Let your users know what you want them to do within the photo itself. This way, when they see the re-posted photos from their friends, they will know how to participate in a single glance.
Here is a great example of Arnhem Clothing.
By using one of its product photo shoots for the background, the company is doing a brief introduction of itself to consumers who might not know about it yet.
The photo also clearly states the prize to catch the attention of users, then lists 3 simple instructions on how to win.
How did the campaign fare in the end? The photo was reposted 5402 times with the hashtag #Arnhem1000. I say that’s a lot of brand awareness generated!
#5 Use Your Instagram Profile To Your Advantage!
What are the 2 things that users can click on in an Instagram post?
Hashtags and Profile Handle of course!
Take a look at this user’s re-post of Bloesem Living’s contest.
What do you think her friends will click on after clicking on the hashtag #WINBLOESEMCLASS and realizing it doesn’t link to any information? Yes, the profile: @bloesemblogs!
This is why it’s absolutely necessary to update your Instagram profile according to your current campaign. Here are two things you can take advantage of in your profile:
- You can update your URL with the landing page URL so users can click on it easily.
- Create a short description of the campaign in the profile description provided to users.
“Click on this URL for more information on how to win $1000 vouchers from us!”
This way users who didn’t see your original campaign photos and are too lazy to search for it can simply click on the URL to learn more.
That is it. These are the ingredients I have gathered to help you create a successful Instagram campaign. Social media has always been about experimenting and being creative.
So go ahead, be creative and experiment!