You read that right. It’s 2019 and that means relevancy is key to running a successful operation.
Social media marketing is a gateway to staying #relatable. In order to stay in the consumers’ mind, digital marketing is essential to your strategy. Social platforms allow your company to add a personality to your brand through creative imagery, conversational engagements, and insightful and compelling captions. Customers enjoy this kind of “natural” relationship that you provide them when they are considering a service. It allows them to make connections between your mission and their values. The result is trust, loyalty, and excitement surrounding the relationship between the customer and the brand.
Instagram has over 1 billion active accounts every single month and over 500 million active accounts every single day. Clearly, Instagram is the social platform to create this relationship with your intended customer. These high numbers prove that there is currently a desire for more digital content. Because people spend so much time scrolling through Instagram each month, businesses are practically guaranteed to see results when advertising on the platform. That is, if it’s done right.
With an abundance of elements to consider like visual content that includes photos and videography, written content like captions and mentions, and overall design of the brand aesthetic you are looking to broadcast to the audience, the process of creating the “perfect feed” can feel a bit overwhelming. Once a strong social strategy is put in place, the results are worth it.
Here is a list of 5 businesses that inspire us with their sensational social strategies. They each took all important elements of social media strategy and applied them to their brands through their incredible accounts.
Wake up and smell the coffee (but first, scroll the @saxbys feed)
Saxbys is a favorite of ours because not only do they have amazing coffee, but they also have an amazing feed. We’ve got a lot of (coffee) grounds to cover with this account, but let’s start with the visuals.
Saxbys is a star when it comes to keeping their feed fresh and exciting. We’re inspired by their ability to fill their followers’ timelines with a perfectly curated mix of posed food shots, candid customer shots, artwork, graphics, and even animations. The visuals are not where it stops.
The type of content they share is what truly engages their audience. For example, Saxbys is well known for their sandwich board content. It is a staple on the account to see the sandwich board outside their shops designed with something quite witty, whether it’s promoting the Jonas Brothers comeback or a hilarious pun.
They also use the sandwich board content to promote where they want to take a stand on political or social issues. For example, they celebrated Pride in June with a decorative board with a rainbow and a caption to go along with it. By including this sort of content on Instagram, the brand has created more of a personality for itself and has made itself more relatable, trustworthy, and overall, more human.
Saxbys doesn’t stop there though. They make the most of the platform by tagging and connecting with other users.
Whether they are mentioning someone they are partnering with, giving users credit for their photos, or tagging an event they participated in, Saxbys is a perfect example of an account who knows what it means to truly engage. They do this by using the stories feature, reposting those that mention them, creating polls to keep followers interested, and sending out reminders of new menu items or sales.
Walk a mile in @vans shoes
Shoes are just a part of life. They’re something you simply slip on to protect your body so you can focus on the more exciting elements of your day without worrying about what you’ll step on along the way. Vans realized this and curated a killer strategy around it.
Vans focuses on representing an entire lifestyle, not just their product. When viewing their feed, you do not simply see images of shoes lined up in a row. What you see is people living their best lives doing the activities that someone in their target audience would be doing.
They have photos of people playing music, skating, swimming, surfing, and riding bikes. They make it as if you wouldn’t realize it’s an advertisement until you see who posted it. It’s a natural way of advertising, and their users enjoy that.
When Vans does post a product shot, they make sure to keep it interesting. By using graphics and sometimes animations, each photo becomes a piece of art. They’ve really mastered their brand aesthetic and the proof is in their feed. Vans is a true inspiration for those who feel that they couldn’t possibly have fresh content for such a simple product. Vans took something as simple as shoes and turned it into a lifestyle.
Community created with the click and drag of a the @adobe pen tool
As creatives and designers, we are inspired by Adobe’s approach to their beautifully curated Instagram feed. Adobe utilizes user generated content, and what’s more engaging than that? It allows them to encourage users to continue using their platform which simultaneously highlighting their tools. These are all subtle advertisements.
They are not specifically mentioning the exact features of their product, but instead showing what art can be created with it. It allows their audience to see the broad depth of design that can be achieved with their programs.
A feed creating a home away from home by @airbnb
This is an account we could scroll through for hours. Airbnb has a mission of promoting new experiences in a new and adventurous way, and their feed solidifies this mission with every post. They do an outstanding job of stimulating your senses through captions to propel you into the world pictured.
They always include something about what you can do in the area surrounding as well, which excites users even more to try that delicious dish across the street, hike the trail that is hidden in the trees, or swim in the ocean that you can see just out your back window.
@humansofny has become the window to a soul
This account is inspiring in a different way than the others. They are not selling anything at all, but instead they are simply showing what it means to be human.
Their Instagram takes a concept that is so abstract, and curates the perfect content to get their point across. This account is about engagement and creating a community, something that business accounts often lack.
With a simple image of a person and a caption with a quote from them, viewers can learn about how other people live through other perspectives. Humans of NY gets tremendous interaction on their Instagram and it’s due to the fact that they are real, raw, and vulnerable when it comes to the content that they generate.
We could all learn a bit from this account by being more transparent with our posts. From a business accounts’ perspective this could mean taking a stance and admitting to your audience where your brand stands on certain topics whether it be political, industry-related, or community-related. Sharing opinions is something that will make your business more human.
Make the ordinary extraordinary
More than 80% of businesses consider Instagram to be their most important asset to social advertising. As a business, it is important to connect with your audience in the most effective way possible, and Instagram is the perfect way to do so because it has the ability to be so customizable. You can take your brand in any direction you want with each piece of content that you post. It’s amazing that a simple download of an app opens the door for the potential to gain millions more targets for your business.
The opportunity to reach such a large audience all at ones is one that business’ should take advantage of in the smartest way possible.
The fact that there is such a large pool of people waiting to see your content, means businesses need to make a strong plan as to how they want to approach the platform. As digital marketers, we make the following observation: What makes an inspirational Instagram account is the concept of “simplicity made intimate”.
Take a look at the accounts mentioned above:
- Saxby’s takes a cup of coffee and transforms it into a hub for fostering creativity and joy.
- Vans takes shoes and transforms them into a lifestyle.
- Adobe takes a design tool and transforms it into a thriving community of artists and new ideas.
- Airbnb takes a rental home and transforms it into a journey of a lifetime.
- Humans of NY takes someone’s story and transforms it into an altered view on life
It’s not about the products that these accounts are selling. It’s the promotion of a story and a mission. Explore who your brand is as a person and use Instagram’s platform simply as a gateway to get that message to your intended viewers. Let your personality shine through your feed through copy, visuals, and engagements.