The use of social media to bolster your e-commerce endeavors is a global phenomenon. We need only browse Facebook and Twitter for a few minutes before adverts, customer outreach and social proofing begins to jump out of the screen at us! Yet the world of social media doesn’t begin and end with the two big digital giants mentioned, there are lots of other platforms not being utilized to their full. For example, most folk are still missing out on a great social network Instagram.
Instagram is BIG
With over 100 million users posting 40 million photos per day, Instagram is huge. The amount of that content related to commercial brands is huge too and there’s no reason your business can’t be garnering interest in the Instagram jungle. Sure, Nike has over 12 million photos they are hashtagged in but if people are willing to brag about their new sweatshop sneakers then why not your product? There is great potential for leveraging client-based content from this platform. That’s why the big boys are playing on Instagram, they know people are watching.
The Standard Instagram Recipe For Success
There are numerous way of using the platform to help your e-commerce success but some are more reliable than others. Let’s go through one of the most popular models for constructing a bulletproof social media marketing strategy on Instagram. It follows a great A,B,C format that gives it lasting longevity.
The textbook approach is to launch a contest that involves users sending you a photo. For example, a clothing company could run a contest at Christmas asking users to submit their best Christmassy photo featuring the brand’s product. Obviously there will need to be an incentive, a scenic balloon trip for the winner, something that you can use as great marketing afterwards too. You’re going to need something a little more imaginative than gift vouchers! The campaign should feature a well constructed hashtag that is fun, memorable and when read would inspire curiosity in others.
Now that you have a tonne of user-generated content along with your company name being hashtagged everywhere you can direct this snowball of interest towards your e-commerce store, or other social media platforms if you wish. The result is more traffic and increased click through rates, this is the part where you’ll find out if this snowball will be an avalanche.
Whilst the increased sales from increased traffic is fairly evident it’s not even the best thing about Instagram, social proofing is. Unlike the largely text-based social proofing companies receive on Twitter and Facebook, the Instagram format immediately lends itself to further republication in real marketing. In the campaign example given, you’d end up with a nice seasonal photo of a happy customer looking great in your brand. What’s more, it’s entirely genuine and you’ll have the look of a smart, hip and fresh outfit that’s well connected to its customers.
Instagram Direct: The Revolutionary Improvement
There’s news from the trenches though. Instagram have just introduced a brand new messaging feature which promises to provide innovative new ways for e-commerce folk to draw customer attention. The feature allows you to send small groups of people a photo set, a short video alongside a small amount of text. I hope you’re seeing dollar signs right now!
It may sound like a hassle as the messaging service is restricted to small numbers of people, around 15. Yet this is absolutely fine for a small company. Now you can announce new mens products to the men, a new competition to win a women’s item just to the women. That is only a very basic binary approach, you can scale this customization of message right down to the individual. Indeed, that is likely the future of social media relationships between commercial entities and individuals, more depth, more targeting… real brand loyalty. For example, choosing the top 10 entrants to a competition and giving them 10% off for life, give them a name that screams exclusivity and a swanky card they can pose with. Great publicity my friends.
In summary, e-commerce stores and commercial enterprises generally have only just begun to scratch the surface of what Instagram can do for them. Whilst Facebook and Twitter are loaded out with competition Instagram is virgin territory for many operators and the new messaging feature a sign that the fun is only just beginning.
References and image credits :
(All photos creative commons)