What’s the most popular social media site for young people? Many would guess Facebook, and while the social giant certainly has a lot of young users, young people are actually fleeing the site in big numbers. Perhaps Twitter then? Twitter is still very popular with youngsters, but not the most popular. LinkedIn’s audience is mostly professional, while Pinterest is dominated by women. And Google+… well, it’s kind of like soccer in the US: some people like it, but most of us ignore it.
So which social media platform is left? The rapidly rising Instagram. According to a survey conducted by investment banking firm Piper Jaffray, Instagram usage surged to 76 percent among teens in the fall of 2014. The next closest competitor, Twitter, was used by only 59 percent of those surveyed. As of last summer, more than 90 percent of Instagram users were 35-years-old or younger. And since we know that young people have plenty of discretionary income on hand, Instagram has become a market ripe for the taking.
Because Instagram has trailed other social media sites in popularity, companies are still figuring out how to make the most of this fertile market. You may have been late to adopt marketing tactics for Facebook and Twitter, but if you act now, you can be one of the first successful Instagram marketers.
If you want to see how you can use Instagram to promote your brand or company, consider the tactics used by these four companies.
Ben & Jerry’s – The quirky ice cream company was one of the first to use Instagram’s paid advertising features, and the social media site crowed all over about the success of the campaign. Ben & Jerry’s used simple photos that evoked the whimsy and delight associated with the company’s image (you can see one such ad here), while still incorporating its product packaging. As a result, the company was able to boost its ad recall numbers by 33 percent, and reached 9.8 million people in just eight days.
Levi’s – Another one of the early adopters of Instagram’s paid ads, the jeans company strived to “create a sense of wonder” with its ads by using sweeping imagery (see an example here). The ads didn’t feature the product prominently, instead choosing to use the striking imagery to carry the campaign. And it appeared to have worked exceptionally well: in a nine-day period, the campaign reached 7.4 million people.
Oreo – The popular cookie brand is an excellent example of how to handle your social media marketing. If you take a look at their account, it certainly features a lot of Oreos and Oreo-related stuff. However, nothing about its posts is promotional. Because their Instagram account isn’t trying to sell you Oreos – it’s trying to sell you fun. The idea behind their amusing photos is to promote the idea that Oreos are fun, so you will associate good feelings with the cream-filled cookies. I don’t know about you, but I could really go for some Oreos and a glass of milk right now (that’s good marketing!).
Taco Bell – I don’t know who is in charge of Taco Bell’s social media campaigns, but I want to be best friends with them; because they are brilliant. Society tends to throw that word around pretty liberally these days, but Taco Bell has really mastered social media marketing. With a mix of irreverence, humor and lightheartedness, Taco Bell appeals to its Instagram followers by providing amusing photos and captions. Sometimes they feature food in the photos, but many times you won’t find a trace of their products in a post. They understand one of the keys to social media marketing: have some fun with it, and don’t try to be purely self-promotional.