It's no secret that social media is becoming a preferred and one of the best advertising platforms for retailers. They are working hard to provide quality content for their followers while also engaging with customers and staying connected. One of the fastest growing social media platforms for retail advertising and promotion is Instagram. The app now exceeds 800 million active users and is owned by Facebook, making it easy to run advertisements and cross-promotions on the two platforms.
If you're a retailer looking to amp up their social media marketing, try using Instagram for the following reasons.
1. Build Brand Loyalty
Instagram users are extremely active on the platform, liking over 4.2 billion posts per day. Users are also taking to Instagram to follow businesses and brands with 80% of users following at least one business. This means that users are looking to engage with the brands they like and interact with them through Instagram.
This puts retailers in a great position to build brand loyalty among their Instagram followers. By paying attention to what your followers like and using that to drive your posts, you are showing your followers that their voice matters. With millennials representing more buying power and making up about 59% of Instagram users, it is important to market your brand in a way that works for that generation – and that it largely based on relationship building and creating brand loyalty.
2. User-Generated Campaigns
User-generated campaigns (UGC) are a fun way for retailers to boost post engagement while simultaneously reaching a wider audience. Instagram is perfect for UGCs because it is a visual-driven platform. An example of how to run a UGC on Instagram might be to post picture of a new item asking your followers to like the post, repost the picture to their own page, and use a hashtag specific to the campaign in their post to be entered to win the featured item for free.
You can also post a photo and in the caption, ask your followers to post photos of their purchases from your store. The incentive could be a free giveaway, shopping spree, a donation to charity for each post, or something else! When planning a UGC for Instagram, it's very important to pay attention to the way your followers interact with your brand, and any patterns you see to decide how they will best respond to your campaign efforts.
3. Tell a Story
Instagram is very much a story-based social media platform. Brands and influencers aren't just posting photos of items or updates, but they are taking you through their journey. With that, Instagram launched a "stories" feature in 2016 so users can post disappearing content (similar to the concept of Snapchat) for their viewers throughout the day. It has been reported that within one month, 50% of business on Instagram published content in their Instagram story.
Again, this is important because it gives retailers to opportunity to humanize and bring authenticity to their brand. Retailers can use standard Instagram posts to not only promote new products, but tell the story of where they started versus where they are now. Instagram stories can take your followers behind the scenes and show the design process for new products or capture the customer experience. Giving your followers an inside look into how you operate and what goes in to the products or services your business provides helps customers feel a better connection to your brand and increases loyalty.
4. Hashtags & Locations
Instagram also uses searchable hashtags and locations to help users get more eyes on their content. On the Instagram app, users can not only search for hashtags, but also follow them so that posts with that hashtag show up right in their feed. Using popular hashtags will help your content reach a wider audience. In fact, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without hashtags.
The location setting on Instagram is also beneficial for retailers. By tagging your store location in your posts, you are not only showing Instagram users exactly where to find you, but your content can also be seen by searching location. It is also sometimes strategic to not only tag your store locations, but tag the city or general location that it is in to reach a wider audience group.
5. Instagram Influencers
With Instagram, you do not need to be celebrity to be famous. Instagram has an entire community of "Instagram famous" users who are often referred to as influencers. Instagram influencers are users who have, over time, built a strong following through promoting their hobbies or skill-sets (cooking, fashion, fitness, etc.) or simply posting high-quality photos.
Instagram influencers can be extremely beneficial to retailers on Instagram because it is like having a celebrity promote your products, but at a more reasonable cost. Instagram influencers also built their following on their own and connect more to the common user, meaning that their followers trust them and genuinely care about their posts. It allows for a more authentic promotion than that coming from a celebrity. Instagram influencers will help increase your product reach and expand your audience.
Bottom Line: Instagram is tailoring their platform to benefit retailers more and more. Users can easily view products, engage with brands, and shop all through the app. If you're looking to grow your business and connect more with customers, start using Instagram today!