Elevating your Brand on Instagram
Brand Forum team
Instagram has 1 billion users worldwide and reaches 2.2m people in Ireland each month ("Elevate Your Brand on Instagram", 2021). Launched in 2010 by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s main selling point was its photo filters. The app gained a reputation for positivity too - it provided a refuge from the sniping and arguments on Facebook and Twitter. Younger audiences who prefer more visual and entertaining content embraced Instagram and utilise the several platforms within Instagram.
It has proven to be a key vehicle for food & drink brands, providing a platform to inspire and engage with consumers. It offers targeted marketing tactics and influences people’s shopper journeys, plus the opportunity to go direct to consumer with shop functionality.
77% of the population of Ireland are active social media users. Of those, we can see that 89% of people use YouTube ("Elevate Your Brand on Instagram", 2021) with large numbers using Facebook owned channels like Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook itself. Instagram, Snapchat and Tiktok continue to grow their user bases and increase the time those users spend on their sites. The time we spend online has increased by 13% over the last year, our time on social is included in this and that has increased by 5% (Core One, 2021). Average we spend almost 2 hours scrolling on Social.
Instagram is a global platform that allows brands humanise their content, recruit new talent, showcase products and inspire their audience. Instagram users aren’t just active they engage. Over 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business. Almost 60% of the platform’s active users visit the site daily spending at last seven hours per week browsing content and interacting with friends and brands ("Elevate Your Brand on Instagram", 2021). Instagram’s advantage over other social media platforms is its visual nature and businesses can stand to benefit.
But no matter how important the platform, every brand needs a marketing plan that involves knowing your audience, establishing goals and allocating a budget. Setting goals such as building brand awareness, show case product versatility, sharing user generated content and or to sell all need metrics for measurement purposes. Undertaking a competitive analysis on the platform, developing a content calendar and building a consistent brand look and feel are key. Establishing this framework, should precede activation such as building followers and driving engagement.
Instagram is in effect several platforms within one. There is the Grid for crafted, permanent posts; there is Stories for quick, ephemeral content; there is IGTV for long-form, immersive video; and there is Reels, for short-form bursts of fun creativity. While brands can try different things within each of those spaces, one should ensure that all aspects are consistent and brand centric. https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/events/past-events-presentations/speaker-presentations-2021/brand-forum-webinar-elevate-your-brand-on-instagram/
The grid is both your shop window and your portfolio: the place into which people will delve properly first, and the album through which they should be able to explore and piece together your story. The grid can be carefully curated: many like to use scheduling apps which enable you to preview a few days, a week, a fortnight, a month’s worth of publishing in one go. Visual components of your brand will be many and varied, but they can generally be broken down into product, people and place and will constitute your brand story. Your product can be broken down into the ingredients that go into creating it, the finished food product itself and the consumption of that food. The people that represent your brand can be those who supply to you, those who work for you and those who buy from you. And the places you can photograph might range from the field to the factory floor, to the retailer’s shop, to the homes of your customers. Your story should be rich, multi-faceted and interesting and something which people can engage with. The photographs and videos that you publish should have consistency in their style. https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/grow-your-business/brand-forum/phone-photography-and-instagram-video/
Your voice is more than sound, more than what you write. It’s the way your brand is expressed through words and images. It is the pitch, the tone caption and how you reply to your audience and the conversations you join. Don’t underestimate the power of a good caption. A strong picture will grab attention, but it’s a strong caption that can trigger engagement. Get to understand your audience and their feelings towards your brand and what you publish. Steer and develop a conversation with a clear brand voice. The number of comments you receive is a far more interesting metric than the number of likes: it’s a deeper and more interactive connection with your audience. Think about who else's stories and conversations your voice could be a part of. https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/grow-your-business/brand-forum/phone-photography-and-instagram-video/
Try to ensure that all of your content either informs and/or inspires and/or entertains. Try to ensure that each piece of content is doing the job of enhancing your brand, driving engagement or leading to sales.
Organic content is not enough, activation need to be supported. Media spend in Ireland dominated by online advertising with nearly 55% of spend (Core One, 2021). Media spend on Social accounts for nearly 32% of the total budgets, equating to €173million this year (Core One, 2021). This figure is important because as it demonstrates what food & drink brands are up against; a lot of other brands competing for the attention of your target audiences. So when setting objectives and KPIs, do your groundwork – know your audience, (quantify numbers in your target audience and the cost of reaching them). When setting objectives identify targets and work up costs. Use site analytics to understand your current performance and target followers levels of engagement etc.
As sales have shifted onto digital commerce platforms, marketers have moved budget out of brand-building. There has been a rise in spend on performance-based formats close to the point of purchase, including search ads on Amazon and other retail media. The ease of access to short-term metrics like cost-per-acquisition is intoxicating when compared with the relative difficulty and expense of measuring the commercial return on investment in brand-building. But brand-building can be considered the creation of future demand. Marketing effectiveness gurus Binet & Field steer the allocation towards 74:26 in favour of brand building (Binet & Field, 2018).
What does the future hold? Clutter on the Instagram app with more video and shopping links, all with an eye to monetisation is questionable. The proliferation of influencers promoting multiple brands and the tedium of scrolling through perfection is suggesting more ads than eyeballs. Instagram’s Reels has so far failed to dent TikTok’s success, full of irreverent jokes and a younger cohort of creators. But there are brands, businesses, categories and even countries such as Spain, all with consumers who are steadfast in their allegiance to Instagram. Does every social media platform cedes power to rivals over time?
Bord Bia Brand Forum Phone Photography & Instagram Video Tutorials
Bord Bia Brand Forum. Elevate your brand on Instagram. (2021). with contributions from: Jen Walsh, Zenith, part of the Core Group; Matt Inwood, Andrew Weld-Moore Instagram and Sarah Collins, Ballymaloe Foods.
Binet, L., & Field, P. (2018). Effectiveness In Context. IPA.
WARC. (2021). Rethinking brand for the rise of digital commerce.
WARC. (2021). Les Binet on why long-term marketing matters in the age of short-termism.