Kirstie Smith
Kirstie Smith 15 February 2016
Categories Mobile, Social Media

Instagram: Let’s Start At The Very Beginning

Social media platform Instagram plays an increasingly important role in the digital marketing strategy of many brands, supporting cross-channel campaigns and providing an extra line of communication between a business and its audience.

It allows users to share and edit images and short videos using digital filters, with the option to follow and tag other users. If used correctly and consistently, this provides a useful opportunity for brands to share messages visually and encourage interaction with customers – especially national brands with multiple outlets which are keen to engage with people on a local level.

However, it’s unwise to jump on Instagram and simply start broadcasting clumsily brazen marketing messages, even if you make them look pretty. A true understanding of the channel and its users is vital to getting the results you want, so at CE, we start by considering some simple, early steps for each client that are tailored especially for Instagram.

These include:

  • Reviewing typical user profiles (that match the brand’s target audience)
  • Defining goals
  • Determining key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Creating a content communications strategy

We then devise a more detailed launch plan using the SOSTAC framework. Coined by marketing expert PR Smith in the 1990s, SOSTAC is a registered trademark and stands for situation, objectives, strategy, tactics, action, control. It’s a tried-and-tested formula that’s been used by successful marketers worldwide – and it’s fully adaptable to new and evolving channels.

So, here’s how CE applies SOSTAC to Instagram marketing


    Where are we now?

    We analyse the competition, discuss marketplace opportunities and gather customer insights. For example, for a client with a nationwide group of bars, we’d look at the marketing activities of other hospitality chains with a similar target audience, as well as the online behaviours of their customers.


    Where do we want to be?

    We consider what we want to achieve for our client using Instagram, setting both long-term and short-term goals. For example, do we want more people to start following the brand? Improve overall reach? Attain more shares of our content? Get our client’s bars mentioned more often?


    How will we get there?

    Based on our experience, we identify which of the approaches at our disposal will most benefit our client. This might include sharing user-generated content, ‘heroing’ fans and encouraging Instagram posts at the point of sale in ‘real life’. For the latter, perhaps a direct hint on a menu or drinks coaster, or even a cocktail stirrer.


    What do we need to get there?

    The tools we decide to use can include:

    • Exclusive offers – Discounts on drinks that are only available to Instagram followers
    • Competitions – Encouraging engagement and more followers
    • Partnering with influencers – Harnessing the power of active followers who are likely to spread the word
    • Using appropriate hashtags – So that posts pop up in searches and have the potential to trend
    • Sharing customer stories – To demonstrate how much fans are valued
    • Showing product details – Creating rich content that genuinely interests people
    • Sponsored posts – Making use of Instagram’s advertising options
    • Rewarding fans – Taking a ‘surprise and delight’ approach to make people want to keep following

    How will we achieve this?

    Our launch plans are extremely carefully thought-through. We take care of every little detail so our clients don’t have to, including: Writing a bio, creating an avatar, following the acquisition plan, identifying influencers, looking for user-generated content (using brand names), competition ideas, arranging photo shoots, choosing hashtags, agreeing a style and tone for the content of posts and responses, setting up software and scheduling regular content. And lots more…


    How do we monitor performance?

    Once a new Instagram profile is up and running, it needs regular and appropriate content, online community management and measurement of success against key performance indicators (KPIs) set at the start of the process. If we’re not on track, how can we improve? And if we are, how can we do even better?

Instagram could be an exciting next step for your brand in the world of social media marketing. If you’d like to know how to make the most of it, CE’s expert team is ready to help.

Plus, take a look at our e-guide: The Importance Of Investing In Social Media.

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