Pics Or It Didn't Happen

The importance of a strong Instagram presence

With a community of over 400 million, Instagram has evolved into a social media channel with an incredibly large reach and a unique visual approach, making it the perfect platform for your brand to tell a cohesive and engaging story.

We’re sharing 5 ways to build a brand on Instagram based on our experiences on the platform, especially those learned in the past six months of strategizing, concepting and creating social content for global beauty brands EcoTools and Real Techniques.

disrupters-blog-2-13-1.jpg

Distraction lives everywhere on social media, so stand out by following these rules. Instagram is filled with the best visual content creators so, invest in production. Shoot custom social photography with proper lighting and composition. With good lighting, you’ll be surprised how fantastic even your iPhone shots look. Also, keep an eye on industry and platform trends. For EcoTools and Real Techniques, we are constantly monitoring beauty trends and how people talk about them. Lastly, use creative testing to hone in on the ideal copy and imagery styles. We spent six months testing the ideal content formula. And what was it? We were surprised to find it wasn’t shots of made-up faces or fashion. Instead, it was simple, beautiful shots of our makeup brushes. Go figure.

disrupters-blog-2-14-1.jpg

Big or small, if your community is passionate about your products they will talk about it in social. And just as we create content to mirror various Instagram styles, your community will begin to mirror yours. So, feature that content and inspire them to create content on your brand’s behalf. We’ve seen the time and effort put into our EcoTools and Real Techniques Instagram pay off tenfold in impressions and engagement in the form of beautiful user-generated content (UGC), from simple brush photography to professionally lit vanities.

To do this, first, empower your community of content creators. We’ve found that the EcoTools and Real Techniques communities are eager to showcase their creativity and expertise. We ask them to share their photos, tips and expertise for a chance to be featured on our page. And, the UGC floods in.

Then, make sure you’re listening. Monitor your brand hashtags and mentions, looking for creative content creators. However, efficiency is crucial when you’re sifting through loads of great content. We use Olapic, which helps us to easily gather and organize UGC, tag products and ultimately make these photos shoppable — connecting users with the products featured in the photos.

disrupters-blog-2-15-1.jpg

Of all of the images you’ve seen today, can you recall one that visually inspired you? You only have a second (or less) to grab a user and leave them feeling something. So don’t post any images on your brand’s Instagram that don’t live up to your brand’s and community’s expectations.

Of course there are no “rules” in the social media game. But here are some numbers we pulled from our friends at Curalate.

  • Images with high lightness generate 24% more likes than dark images.
  • Less saturated images receive 18% more likes than their more vibrant counterparts.
  • Images with a high amount of background space generate 29% more likes than those without.
  • Images dominated by a single dominant color generate 17% more likes than images with multiple dominant colors.
  • Images with high levels of texture generate 79% more likes than those without.

Note: These numbers were for brands across the board, not just beauty brands.

disrupters-blog-2-16-1.jpg

So you’ve built an Instagram strategy and are now developing great content and building your community. Now what? Expand your reach and increase your engagement by diving into the world of Instagram advertising. Brands are now able to tap all of Facebook’s robust targeting capabilities and launch Instagram ads through the Facebook Ad platform. Advertisers can target based on interests and demographics, as well as custom audiences generated from email lists and site tracking pixels. And with creative options like slideshows and carousel ads, Instagram advertising is a chance to get even more creative with your content.

For EcoTools, we focus on ads optimized for both engagement and clicks. Our results prove that Instagram is not only an engagement channel, but can also drive site conversions and direct sales, as well.

disrupters-blog-2-17-1.jpg

No matter how well you’re doing on the platform, you have to listen constantly to your community and adapt to them – THEY are your brand’s ambassadors. Stay up on the latest trends, keep a pulse of what’s popular and research what’s performing well. And it might seem like a no-brainer, but if a user has a question or concern, answer it in a timely manner, because community management is this generation’s customer service.

For example, we quickly learned how passionate the EcoTools community was about cruelty-free beauty, with frequent questions flowing in about the products featured in our photos. So, we made sure that every cosmetic product featured, even in our UGC content is cruelty-free. Now, month-over-month, we see our engagement continue to trend upward.

disrupters-blog-2-18-1.jpg

Although we’ve highlighted the top factors, there are many others that will come into play as you lead your brand on to Instagram greatness. If that seems like a scary step, or if you feel like your brand needs a little more help, give us a call.

For more tips, tricks, or insights on how to take your marketing from now to next, subscribe to our newsletter or contact us at hello@laughlin.com or 844.LC.IDEAS.