Use Instagram to Build Your Brand and Customer Base
At 2015 Summer NAMM, Will Thompson of Habitual Social revealed why he believes Instagram is the music retailer’s best way to acquire new fans and customers—and at the lowest price. Thompson, a digital marketing and media CEO in the music industry, shared how he used Instagram to build “Pensado’s Place” into a leading pro audio engineering online show with more than 100,000 subscribers.
Here are more highlights from the session video:
Why Instagram? Thompson advised music retailers to be deliberate about bringing Facebook users to Instagram by inviting them to follow you. He stated that people spend an average of 21 minutes a day on Instagram, and the platform also has the benefit of 100-percent organic reach.
Instagram rules and best practices. Thompson stressed that the most successful content online appeals to people’s emotions and aspirations. “Give people what they’d be interested in and gives them a good idea about you,” Thompson said.
• Beautiful photos. Make them memorable, high-impact and remarkable.
• Storytelling and continuity between images. If you’re a guitar shop, for example, communicate the vibe of your store.
• Photo-editing apps. Make sure you use them so your photos look good.
• Let your personality shine through. He cited Gruhn Guitars and Vintage King Audio as prime examples from the music retail industry.
Build an engaged following. Thompson noted that engagement is really the key to success on social media. Instagram generates 58 times more engagement than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter. “If you’re just broadcasting and not having a dialogue, you might as well not be there,” Thompson said.
• Be consistent and frequent. If you only post once a week or once every few days, people won’t know when to expect new content. It’s a slow grind, but the marathon wins the day and eventually you’ll accumulate followers. If you have good content, post often. Iconosquare is a tool that lets you measure when your audience is online. “When you post is almost as important as what you post,” Thompson said.
• Include a clear call to action. Ask a question, ask followers to tag someone or ask them to double tap if they like the post. Give people reasons to engage with your content. Put text on the photo itself—it’s easier to read than in a caption. Or, do both, and put text on the photo and in the caption.
• Use Location as a Call to Action. In the profile section, you can put a link in your bio. In the Location spot, ask your followers to “go to the link in our profile” and click.
• Leverage relevant hashtags. Use relevant hashtags when you post, but use discretion. Don’t be annoying or use too many. Don’t put hashtags in the description itself. Put hashtags in as a comment. “It’s all about making it as beautiful as possible and still getting that distribution,” Thompson said.
Look for hashtags from people who are tagging your account. Use the Instagram search for any mention of your account, like all of the photos that are being tagged (some you may not be aware of), and comment on each one.
• Engage with other accounts. Thompson couldn’t stress enough that the best time you’ll spend is not taking a photo but engaging with others. Even if you have other retailers in your area, comment on their photos. Say “hi,” “thank you” and comment on other accounts.
• Promote your account elsewhere. It’s a huge difference-maker. Put it on your business card. Have it posted at checkout. Take a photo of customers who have bought something and post it right then and there.
• Mix up your content. Successful social media strategy and marketing is mixing up the kind of content you produce. You can have a content calendar and different buckets of content, so you’re entertaining your audience every day. Make sure you’re company ethos and brand come through. Make sure people know who you are and why they want to enter your shop to buy something. Tell your story through Instagram.
Use different contests and promotions. Think bigger than 20-percent off—it’s no longer interesting to offer a standard discount. Drive people onto Instagram and keep them there. Once you have a huge following, then drive them to your website. You can use Instagram in a far more creative way than just asking someone to tag a photo. Thompson shared a three-day promotion for Lenovo based on a photo scavenger hunt. The results: The promotion reached 4,546,126 people; generated 146,451 engagements; and great@Lenovovibe Instagram grew by 48 percent. People were excited to do something different.
“People want to engage—you just have to give them a reason to,” said Thompson, adding, “The point is to be creative, provide value and drive engagement.”
How do I make money on Instagram? Thompson admitted this is all great, but you’re not going to make money on Instagram right away. Instagram’s value is that it lets you acquire an audience more efficiently than any other social media platform, according to Thompson. “You know you have to be on social media, so you might as well be on Instagram,” he said.
There are 300 million Instagram users in the United States. That means one in three people in the U.S. are on Instagram. The fastest growing demographic is 30- to 40-year-olds, followed by 40- to 50-year-olds. They have disposable income and buy products for themselves and their kids. Right now, there’s an opportunity to get involved in Instagram before it evolves to a point where people feel cynical about it. Pretty soon, the targeting that happens now on Facebook will be done on Instagram.