Instagram is playing an increasingly important role in developing the public image and appeal of both bands and brands. As a social media tool, the platform can help create immensely strong and loyal fan bases, build buzz and drive sales. Following these simple guidelines can turn any brand, product, or company into an Instagram favorite.
1. PICK THE RIGHT INSTAGRAM — USERNAME
Although it may seem obvious, a company’s Instagram should be named as closely to the company or product as possible. Often times the desired company name is already inexplicably taken; bands tend to handle this situation by adding “_Band” to the end of their name. This serves to maintain a level of distinction from any imitators or similarly named competitors. Finding a user on Instagram is not as simple as finding the same user on Facebook or Twitter, so brands & bands need to choose their usernames wisely or risk not being found by their fans. A quick search for the major retailer Target produces a multitude of accounts including Target Stores, a slew of variations on Target Mobile, a dead account named Target, and finally the actual account Targetstyle.
All of these accounts feature the trademark vibrant red bulls eye, and have a decent amount of followers, yet only one is a legitimate account and it is not the one that the general consumer would immediately expect. In such a fast paced market it is important that your brand be easy to find lest you lose potential consumers. While Targetstyle boasts close to 40,000 followers for a brand that has been around since the late 60’s that is not very impressive. Musician Skrillex has over 500,000 followers, despite being active for less than a tenth of the time of Target, and his name is the first to appear in a search, Clearly proper and concise naming matters.
2. SHOW THE PROCESS MORE THAN THE PRODUCT
Against all instinct, the second step is to avoid constantly posting your product. Aim to keep the frequency sparse enough to prevent over saturating the digital scrapbook. Bands that do well on Instagram, as measured by the amount of followers they maintain, tend to avoid posting pictures of their albums’ cover art more than once. In fact artists like Portugal. The Man and Metric have not included cover art in their Instagram scrapbooks at all, opting instead to focus on the personal achievements and experiences the band has gone through while creating and promoting the album.
The idea is that the effort behind the product becomes just as important as the product itself. For instance, as beautiful as a bottle of fine wine can look, especially after applying a nice warm filter, a winery has so much more to offer the Instagram community. It would be a wise choice to photograph the ripe grapes, the newly pressed corkscrew, the
vintage wine press that’s been in use since the 16th century; anything that played a factor in the product’s creation deserves a spot in the digital scrapbook. The instagram community values this view for the simple reason that it can be just as fascinating as the end product, and this fascination ultimately leads to loyalty and sales.
3. GIVE STUFF AWAY
The real secret to building up a strong instagram following for your brand is to actually just give your product away. Whenever indie rock band Metric go on tour they make sure to leave tickets to that nights show somewhere near the venue. The only clue they leave is an Instagram picture of a close up location. If each ticket costs $30 and they leave four tickets every time, the band is losing out on $120 worth of net profit every time they do this. So why is it that they would willingly lose profit so often? It is because they know they’re creating a game for fans and games are interesting and interest creates a solid fan base. Sure, it is an immediate loss in revenue, but as soon as word spreads that the group is doing an Instagram-only giveaway, their following skyrockets.
Those newly acquired fans will wait patiently for the next giveaway all-the-while viewing all of the updates that come before it. If a company like Samsung wanted to promote a camera, say the ST66 which retails at $90, a part of their campaign could be comprised of giving one away periodically; not to the point that people expect one daily, but often enough that they are eagerly awaiting the next scavenger hunt. The point of this is to get fans interested in a fun and exciting way that also feels a bit exclusive.
While using Instagram may not boost your brand, band or company to stardom all by itself, it can be used as part of a broader social media strategy to create a solid personal connection between the product and the consumer; a connection that can ultimately sway the consumer from buying product X to buying your product.