But compared with other social networks like Twitter and Facebook where brands can easily promote themselves and their content simply by sharing links back to their website, Instagram may not seem that straightforward for marketing purposes.
Instagram does not share links, even in the image text there are no links.
The only place to link back to your website is the bio on Instagram which makes marketing a new game for many social media enthusiasts.
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Image Source: Forrester Blog
So how does marketing with Instagram work?
To give you an impression of what is possible with Instagram and show you how to help to push your brand here are 8 case studies on how brands use Instagram to market their business.
I am already following NationalGeographic on multiple social networks: Twitter, Facebook – you name it. I love their social media. It is not really one National Geographic account; they have different accounts for different niches: NatGeo, NatGeoTravel, NatGeo Wild, NatGeo Photography – and all of them share great images, articles, and videos of nature, animals and science.
On Instagram, it is not any different. It does not come as a surprise that National Geographic’s Instagram account (or rather accounts) is (are) awesome.
With 58.5 m followers, the main account of National Geographic is one of the very top brands on Instagram – and they are still growing. They have a significant advantage: professional photographers traveling the world from south pole to Greenland and even further north – and sharing their pictures with the National Geographic community worldwide.
2. Powered By Influencers: Airlines
This is something that not just one airline does: Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air France, Air NewZealand – you name it. They all have one thing in common: An influencer marketing strategy on Instagram.
- British Airways partnered with Luanna90 to reach her 2.1m followers.
- Alaska Airlines partnered with 8 Instagram influencers to launch their #WeekendWanderer Campaign.
- Qantas went into a long term relationship with Nicole Warne (@GaryPepperGirl) to reach her 1.6m followers
- And so on
In a growing industry where all contenders more or less offer the same product (a flight from A to B), competition is fierce. Reaching a large, loyal and engaged audience on Instagram can make all the difference.
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3. More than pictures from work and offices: WeWork
The provider of office space WeWork is a great example of a brand that provides something that sounds rather boring (office space) and still manages to run an awesome Instagram account. Who would have thought that office space can be so inspiring?
The key is not to simply post images from the office or working people but to actively encourage people to spice it up with creative ideas like #DogsOfWeWork:
Adidas invited Instagram influencers AND ordinary people to take part in a contest around Adidas Neo: Create Adidas Inspired Instagram posts. From these, Adidas chose the best content creators to model in a professional photoshoot and their branded content with engaged Instagram audiences.
Adidas used one of Instagram’s most popular celebrities from the target age group: Selena Gomez to help them get the contest spreading.
The contest created buzz around the hashtag #MyNeoShoot. To have a chance to get selected as a model, Instagram users had to post images using the #MyNeoShoot hashtag.
With the MyNeoShoot campaign, Adidas generated 71.000 mentions for this hashtag.
The Adidas Neo Instagram account gained 41k new followers.
Frank Bod is an Australian body and skin care brand. Their products are based on coffee – and this core quality of their product makes the center of images they use to brand with Instagram.
They also use their own hashtag to brand a lot of their posts: #letsbefrank
(Their captions are great, too. Simply fun: so follow and enjoy!)
6. Advertising for a startup with Bloom & Wild
Have you heard of Bloom & Wild? I have not before reading about their Instagram marketing. They are a very young company that delivers flowers to your letterbox (if you live in the UK) that grew their business using Instagram advertising.
Their goal was to attract a wider audience to their new business. Their strategy was fairly simple: They used the Power Editor and their existing rather small email list to create a lookalike audience. Before they went fully into their advertising campaign, they tested everything with a small budget.
For them, videos performed with the best conversion rate.
And the results are not bad at all considering that Bloom & Wild was a startup with no established brand name to start with:
“With the use of Instagram ads, Bloom & Wild increased their bouquet orders by 62%, and saw many new customers commenting on their account and buying bouquets from their shop.”
7. Exploring the city with No Your City
In every city, live people and all these people have stories to tell. Do you know the stories of your city? No Your City tells the stories of cities with images and videos.
On their Instagram account, they share awesome pictures of the cities. By using the hashtag #noyourcity with images from your city you get the chance to be featured on their account.
There are so many great Instagram accounts to follow, some hidden gems and some brands that are using Instagram very professionally the chances they are given to brand their products and business. Images have a lot of power – and the Instagram community adds to that by engaging and connecting.
With 5.6m followers, Kayla is clearly one of Instagram’s more prominent figures. She started out like everyone else: with no clue. But she got herself some help and learned quickly. She now is a master marketer of her fitness app and products. She tells stories with her images and within the captions of the images. And she is not afraid to market her product, mentioning it again and again wherever she can.
By now her community is part of her marketing success: They tell their stories with the app and program (BBG by Kayla Itsines) and help her spread the word.
Kayla is also a great example that the best and most efficient way to market something online is to play the different channels in perfect interaction: She runs a blog and website, she writes articles, she is on Facebook and Twitter. She publishes ebooks and has an app.
If you need the inspiration to get or stay fit, you may well find inspiration with Kayla!
There are many different ways to use Instagram marketing – for more personal accounts and brands and businesses. Browse around and see what others do to get inspiration for your own actions.
Instagram may not be the first network to turn to for more traffic, but you can still find an audience for your blog on Instagram and it sure has a huge potential for branding and community building! With some tips and tricks to find your first few followers, you can start your own Instagram marketing success story.
(And if you want to compare these Instagram case studies with what you can do on Twitter, check out these Twitter Marketing Case Studies!)