So what if the actress who won our hearts when she channeled our inner schadenfreude at snobby saleswomen may not be top of mind? If you’re a retailer appealing to the “casual chic, no longer Forever 21” crowd, you’d definitely want to know this.
Why? Is Instagram so different from other content marketing channels? Two reasons why this might be so.
1. The power of influencers.
It was YouTube that first capitalized on the power of influencers. You can easily find a YouTube personality with a following for nearly every niche audience. YouTube grabbed the zeitgeist of a generation wanting to express itself and provided an easy-to-use channel with near-instant gratification.
The monetization of a following has found new highs on Instagram. It also has its lows. Look at recent news as protesters target Flat Tummy Co, which is skirting advertiser restrictions by making their dubious weight loss claims through influencers rather than paid or boosted posts. (Speaking of boosted posts on Instagram, check out episode six of this great podcast on the best way to target.)
As with YouTube, it’s very easy for a company to find their best customers on Instagram. Then they can double down with ads and boosted posts, then pour money into a host of influencers. In theory, influencers should make it clear when they’re promoting a product, but they are not bound to.
2. The power of the initial post and the story you tell.
Content Marketing has long been my favorite strategy because I think stories are the most powerful form of communication. As a company or brand, you need to know your story, pick out the most powerful parts of it, and know how and where to feature those bits.
And you need to have something to offer. As Hubspot (in their twist of the famous sales maxim, “always be closing”) put it: a good content marketer should always be helping.
If you’re a tech company with an innovation on how to better support users in the cloud, you’d provide timely in-depth guides on that topic. Are you a meal service company? Provide free meal plans so people can easily visualize your value. If you’re a clothing retailer, you share a story about how a certain look can make you feel. And you provide value beyond just the clothes you sell.
Noted Instagram expert Laura Maita put it this way, “People use Instagram like a magazine — they’ll select things to follow that provide them joy in the categories they care about.”
In the retailers Maita advises, she’ll have them define their ideal customer (sound familiar?) then plan out their Instagram posts or stories to feature content that feeds inspiration and imagination to these people. In many cases, a retailer may be better served by forgoing a website presence in favor of Instagram only.
And the initial post — and the hashtags you choose to use with it — sets the tone for who you are and what you have to say. So Julie Roberts “love” post is reciprocated. I have put her onto my very selective favorites list that guides my morning coffee reading time.
So choose wisely and post on.