By Shannon Maguire If a picture is worth a thousand words, an Instagrammed picture is worth a thousand hashtags. Between Instagram’s $1 billion price tag and hitting 100 million monthly active users in February, the photo-sharing app has more than proven its social worth. Yet unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram continues to be quite a mystery for many brands. Well, start picking out filters because your brand can solve the mystery with these three ways to create buzz on Instagram.
1. Give your audience a backstage pass. Recently Lionsgate, the studio behind The Hunger Games trilogy, re-launched "Capitol Couture" and took to Instagram to share photo teasers for the release of the second film, Catching Fire. Fans of the movie franchise went wild as some their favorite characters’ costumes were revealed one by one. While Capitol Couture may not be a real brand, this is a great example of how simply sharing an image can create major buzz within your fan base.
Your brand can do this by unveiling new products, upcoming campaigns, or behind the scenes action. Take Ebay for instance, which frequently shares pictures of its employees, giving users a glimpse into the culture behind the brand.
2. Join the conversation. Just as Oreo has mastered the art of capitalizing on amazing moments (hello Super Bowl blackout), many brands are learning how to engage fans on Instagram using a similar tactic: find out what your fans are talking about and join the conversation. Is it Throwback Thursday? Share a picture of your brand’s first product. Everyone talking about the latest dance craze? Put on your dancing shoes and show that your brand knows how to move. Check out Sharpie’s use of not only the Gangnam Style revolution, but also user-generated content.
Your brand can do this by staying up to date on trends and recognizing the value of engaging with your fans on this level. Embracing internet memes and pop culture powerhouses allows you to connect with your consumers personally, showing that you’re paying attention to their interests and not just your own.
3. Give your fans a reason to hashtag. One of the biggest ways a brand can create buzz on Instagram is by encouraging their followers to share their own brand images. Starbucks, for instance, began incorporating calls to action in some of its posts, asking followers to share their own cup of joe with #starbucks. According to Statigram, there are over 45,000 photos with the Starbucks tag on Instagram. Multiply that number by the Instagram user’s average following, and Starbucks just reached at least 100,000 people without spending a dime. The brand has also had success with custom hashtags like “#itsfallwhen” which was paired with photos of everything autumn from pumpkin spice lattes to football-themed competing coffee cups.
So how can your brand get your followers to do the talking for you? Show them that you care. Nothing is cooler than getting a notification that your favorite brand liked or commented on your photo. You get a warm fuzzy feeling because the company that you’ve invested your money in is now invested in you. It’s important to remember that on Instagram, you’re not just attracting consumers, you’re attracting fans.
What are other ways brands can create buzz on Instagram? Share them in the comments below!