Global brands are succeeding on Instagram by NOT using it as a pictorial showcase of their products.
I recently saw a skit in Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the characters from Back to the Future appear in the present (the movie sent them to 2015), and Doc Brown marvels at how our cell phones (convenient Samsung product placement) enable us to do complex orbital calculations and other tasks that were only possible by using supercomputers in the past. Kimmel says, well yes, but these days we mostly use our cell phones to send emoticons and pictures of eggplants to each other.
That got me thinking: we are using technology for play and no work! Which brings me to Instagram.
First the good news, According to a study conducted last year by Socialbakers most brands do not use Instagram effectively; in fact about 40% of the marketers stated that they either did not give Instagram high priority or did not consider it at all. This means that any marketer willing to tap into the huge Instagram user base will have an early mover advantage.
Now the bad news. Those brands that use Instagram, use it very, very well.
For most of us Instagram is only about selfies (and we have to thank people like Rihanna and the Kardashians for this). So is it possible to make a silk purse out of this depressing social catastrophe? The answer is yes.
The cosmetic company Benefits uses Instagram to post selfies of real people who use their products. Loyal users feel even more connected when they can show the world how they have benefitted from the brand, and the brand in turn has access to thousands of models at no cost. (Well data costs apply, but that is the accountant in me, so ignore that.)
Greek yogurt brand Chobani invite their fans to post pictures of their creations. As a result, not only do Chobani get deep engagement, they are also able to tell what recipes are trending and change their marketing pitch in real time to match those trends.