Social Media Marketing is comparatively a newer concept in the chronology of digital marketing that started to solidify around 2010. Until the potentials of marketing over social media was not clearly conceptualized. Perhaps, two major developments can be attributed as the leading factors that drive social media marketing. These are high-speed internet and increasing use of mobile and smart devices. Social media marketing is a broader term that can further be specialized into several categories such as Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, Instagram Marketing, Youtube marketing etc. This division contributes immensely since it allows refining your target audience group and persuading them in a more effective manner.
An Introduction to Instagram Marketing
Instagram is a photo/video sharing social networking platform and is a subsidiary of Facebook. Launched in 2010, Instagram allows users to upload their photos and videos along with editing options to change filters, add location and organize tags.
Primarily a mobile-based platform, Instagram has a user base of over 1 billion people worldwide, among whom 500 million use the app on a daily basis. In this, 80% of the users are outside the US and 72% of the total users are teenagers. In terms of world rankings, India stands second with an active Instagram user base of 71 million. Undoubtedly, there is immense scope for marketing on Instagram. In fact, more than 25 million businesses actively promote their products and services on this platform. A recent study revealed that 72% of the users who saw a product of Instagram purchased it, while 50% of the users follow at least one business. Instagram is a popular platform, where every user spends an average of 53 minutes every day. These are interesting facts, as they allow marketers to target their audience precisely.
Making your presence felt on Instagram is becoming challenging every day due to the floods of posts that engulf a user’s timeline. Hence, if you are aspiring to incorporate Instagram Marketing into your digital marketing strategy, then you need to consider these latest Instagram algorithms:
- Engagement rate based on likes, comments, shares, views etc. along with the time taken to receive responses will determine the position of your posts.
- Retention time will determine the rankings of the videos. More the retention, greater is your ranking.
- Post positioning will also be determined by your family, friends and favourites accounts. Here lies an immense scope for influencer marketing on macro and micro levels.
- The genre of the content shall also determine the post rankings. If an user dislikes a specific genre, your post is unlikely to show-up on his timeline.
- If you have searched for a specific account in the past, then Instagram considers this as assign that you enjoy that account’s posts and makes that account’s content appear on your timeline regularly.
- Your engagement rate with the audience will also determine the visibility of your posts. If your interaction with the audience is seldom, this will affect your visibility. So ensure to interact!
A Preview of IT Industry in India
Information Technology (IT) is one of the largest sectors in India that contributes to an annual revenue of USD 160 billion. India is the largest exporter of IT and the exports constitutes 79% of the IT industry revenue. It is expected that by 2025, Indian IT industry will hit a record mark of USD 350 billion. But there are challenges within the industry players. For instance, there are over 17000 IT players in the market who offer a wide range if IT services and solutions. The competition amongst them is increasing and hence IT companies are investing more and more in marketing arena to make their brand known to the larger segment of society.
Instagram Marketing for IT Industry
There are three major reasons why Instagram marketing is suitable for IT industry:
- Visuals speak louder than words. Instagram can deliver that.
- Instagram is popular among millennials, who form the largest segment of audience for IT.
- Instagram is the most popular visual social media platform, and social media is the most popular platform among users.
Since Instagram allows IT players to connect to their audience 24/7 through visuals, they can utilize this platform to engage, entertain and inform the users about the uniqueness of your brand. Particularly in IT industry two major segments cater to the needs of audience: IT products and IT services. While IT product segment can use Instagram to feature their products and how it suits the lifestyle of their audience; IT services segment can use Instagram to represent the quality of their deliverance and how will it make the users’ lives better.
How are leading IT players using Instagram
Some of the top players in the IT industry have successfully implemented Instagram marketing as a part of their core marketing strategy. Some of them are listed below:
- Adobe – Adobe has a record following of 864,000 followers on Instagram. Adobe uses Instagram primarily to showcase its creative side with post of beautiful landscapes. Although it do not post content related to IT services, it really doesn’t matter as long as people are familiarized with the brand name. Nevertheless, users love posts by Adobe.
- Google – Similar to the strategy followed by Adobe, Google too uses Instagram, primarily as a platform to make the brand more and more familiar with the users. Perhaps the intention here is to make uses feel the presence of the brand everywhere, quite literally! Google uses Instagram to brand its iconic ‘G’ logo which is crafted in many creative ways such as using food, slime etc. Google also uploads creative photos of colourful streets and skyscrapers etc. that is a fascination for its 8.7 million followers.
- IBM – IBM primarily uses Instagram to share photos of its data centres as well as videos that narrates the chronological journey of the company. IBM is also an expert in boasting about it historic achievements such as its role in Apollo 13 mission, which is successfully showcased on its Instagram posts. Currently, IBM has about 264,000 followers on Instagram.
- Cisco – Perhaps, Cisco best uses Instagram with a health mix of animated videos, event photos and creative images that are watched by 248,000 followers. Cisco also encourages its employees to share photos that give a glimpse of their happy lives, in an attempt to portray their company culture in an inspiring light.
- HP – HP is the best example for an IT player that has best utilized Instagram to promote its state-of-the-art printing products and services. HP makes use of story-telling that appeals to the emotions of the audience. Their posts are extremely creative and rarely mention their brand name. Even if mentioned, it would be towards the end of the videos. HP videos are very entertaining and appeals to the larger audience, since the content consists of minimal technical details. HP has a record following of 1.1 million as of January 2019.
- Microsoft – Unlike Google, Microsoft’s Instagram account is not filled with logos, landscapes and skyscrapers. But it is filled with people – employees, stakeholders, consumers and people whose stories are worth narrating. Sometimes, even a random picture of their CEO Satya Nadella having a laugh makes worthy to post. It is clear that Microsoft uses Instagram as a platform to showcase the humanitarian side of the company. This tactic is successful to woo a mass following of 2 million.
- Dell – Dell uses Instagram particularly to explain their CSR policies which is followed by 660,000 users. For instance, Dell regularly engages the users with the videos of their products and also with interesting images of their recycling policies. For Dell, this is a platform to project the inner dimensions of their brand.
Adsyndicate’s Tips for Successful Instagram Marketing
An advantage of visual medium is that it appeals to the human brain instantaneously. Generally, people prefer visuals over texts. Thus, Instagram can be best used to persuade your target group with a wide array of creative and innovative photos, videos, live streaming, boomerangs, hyperlapse and stories such as:
- Images – these are the most common posts on Instagram. However, make sure that you are uploading a wide range of photos. Since it is natural for the users to have a ‘taste’ in their image preferences; having a wide variety of photos will represent your brand to be ‘diverse’ and appeals to a large segment of audience.
- Genuine posts – Remember that people like to see genuine posts from brands, rather than barefaced advertisements. Hence, try to capture your brand under the right light that represents your company culture. Add artistic elements to your product shots by featuring them as lifestyle shots.
- Behind-the-Scenes Posts – This is a good way to engage the users with your brand. Know that the audience are curious to know about you, and a glimpse of how you function will keep them informed and entertained. It gives you a ‘more than a company’ look.
- Employee Posts – You can repost from your employees or encourage them to post on Instagram. These posts not only help to generate authentic and credible details, but also humanize your business.
- Informative Posts – Posting educational posts are a good way to engage your audience. When you provide interesting information about a related topic using visuals, users tend to learn it, since mundane photo-floods on their timeline may suffocate them. Providing tips or extended-applications of your products may keep them informed about your brand.
- Posts from Influencers – You can hire influencers to endorse your products and services. These posts generally consist of an influencer interacting and engaging with your products. Influencers can also help to attract more audience, apart from your initial target group.
- Inspirational Posts –These refer to “image macros” where motivational words are highlighted against a beautiful background. These kinds of graphics have an instant ability to impress and inspire the users. You can use such posts that have an underlying message that represents the voice of your brand.
- User-generated content – Similar to employee-posts, you can encourage your audience to post innovative posts, which you can use to your advantage by reposting and giving them rewards and freebies. This tactic helps to build a human-connection with your audience.
- Trending posts – You can also cease the opportunity to connect with your audience with meaningful posts whenever the holidays are around the corner. Greeting your audience during Independence Day, Diwali, Christmas or other holidays will project your image as a brand that truly cares for its stakeholders.
To Sum it Up
Instagram Marketing can definitely contribute to the company in terms of outreach, campaign, branding and even sales. However, marketers must keep in mind that people use Instagram for recreational purposes and looking at blatant advertisements might be a big turnoff. Especially in the context of IT industry, majority of the brands use Instagram as a platform to project the company culture. When we look at how HP, Microsoft, Cisco and other major players are using Instagram, it becomes clear that they focus on creative elements of subtle marketing with no solid intention or statements that suggest users to make a purchase. Perhaps Instagram Marketing for IT industry is still in its cocoon stage, whose potentials are not explored to the fullest yet. Further, in a platform like Instagram, which primarily projects the themes of lifestyle and recreation among users, indirect marketing is the best mode for IT industries presently.