Just about every brand you can think of has at least one social media account by now; each platform offering unique ways to connect with their target market. Facebook pages allow users to share their customer service experience (or lack thereof), Twitter accounts can provide real time updates from store employees, and some businesses have even become active on Snapchat – offering a “behind the scenes” look at their office culture and sneak peeks of upcoming events and products.
Arguably the most used social media platforms both by consumers and a growing number of businesses is the photo and video sharing app – Instagram. Depending on what the product or service is, Instagram can be the perfect way to appeal to Millennial audiences as well as the up and coming Generation Z. Instagram recently began allowing brands to purchase sponsored ads, offering a huge opportunity for increased exposure to existing and potential followers.
One of the most effective ways that brands can get their name out there is by putting it in the hands of their existing fans and encouraging word of mouth. Instagram allows brands to see who is wearing or using their products and turn them into flashy, revenue-generating brand ambassadors. According to L2’s Instagram User-Generated Content Study, 55% of consumers agreed that they were more likely to view a photo posted by a close friend or someone they could relate to, over that of a business’s direct account. The potential customers that are active on this platform want to imitate the stylish Instagram users that they look up to. In addition, posts that aren’t coming right from a brand also appear to be more genuine and trustworthy. A large part of the appeal of Instagram is that it has the ability to immerse consumers in the picture perfect lifestyle featured on popular accounts. If brands can become part of this attractive lifestyle, they’re likely to see an increase in sales.
For the brands who really want to be seen, association with an already established icon is key. More and more influencers who have already garnered a large following are being sought out by brands to represent them on social platforms. Estee Lauder for example, announced its partnership with world-renowned model, “It girl” Kendall Jenner. They saw their Instagram following increase by 18% in just 24 hours! When the same promotional video was posted on both the brand’s account and Kendall’s, KJ got an impressive 400,000 likes (more than Estee Lauder’s entire following). This is one of the countless examples of brands increasing their original reach and engagement by pairing up with a familiar face. It proves even more effective when that familiar face is popular among the #repost, #regram, #ootd- generation. No matter which social path brands choose to follow, a strong social media presence is an effective way to humanize the brand in order to connect with consumers on a personal level.