Instagram is still a relatively new social platform, but that hasn't stopped businesses from jumping on it like it's the best thing sliced bread. And that's where the danger occurs, because unless you use Instagram properly, it can become a problem. The platform allows you new opportunities brand your company effectively and to bring in real engagement. But getting it right isn't always easy.
We thought we'd take a look at some of the very best brands that are rocking it on Instagram right now and see if we can take some pointers on what they do. If there are lessons to be learned about Instagram and its possibilities, you'll find them here.
Lego: Perfect timing with perfect video
This company has a plethora of Instagram accounts (something to do with the fact that they have a plethora of products) but the official one is the flagbearer.
Come here for all things Lego and a glimpse of real marketing genius. The company knows it has one of the most 'visual' products around, and it uses it's Instagram channel to convey that instant joy people feel when they see Lego done well.
Lego changed its game as soon as it started hitting the film and TV markets with its figures - these days, it it's a successful blockbuster movie, there's a Lego set for it. But the Lego team are also working hard to make memorable images and videos for Instagram.
It's hard to choose a favourite, but this Star Wars Lego video that worked on the father/son relationship and latched onto the Father's Day vibe is a perfect example of the high quality, well-produced, and well-timed Instagram content they're producing.
A video posted by LEGO (@lego) on Jun 21, 2015 at 5:19am PDT
Mercedes: Changing the future of car sales
Mercedes Benz has always been a bit of trailblazer, but their approach to Instagram marketing is ground breaking in a whole new way.
Take any car manufacturer's site for a spin and pretty soon you'll come to the point where you're able to 'choose your car', through color choices, wheel choices and so on. Mercedes took that one step further by creating a multitude of accounts on Instagram, and allowing people to build their own GLA (a rather snazzy Mercedes model). Every single permutation and customization was available through tagging.
Then, right at the end of the process, users of the service were encouraged by Mercedes to take the finished photo and spec to their local Mercedes dealership. In other words, customers were walked through their dream Mercedes build, and then pulled towards the checkout. It's marketing genius.
Reportedly, it cost the company almost nothing to create this experience. But the end result was worth millions. The @MBUSA Instagram account gained 20,000 new followers as a direct result. Mercedes basically worked out that there was a whole new audience on social, and that interaction was key.
It brought huge results.
A photo posted by @gla_build_your_own on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:03pm PDT
Xbox: A study in cool imagery
Xbox has a huge, dedicated fan base, so it would've been pretty difficult to screw up the Instagram account. But it's important to remember that that fan base wasn't necessarily on Instagram.
They are now. With an incredibly clever focus on the visual aspect of Instagram and the cheekiness and 'cool' factor that Xbox has, the company has an account that's possibly the best-looking one going around right now. It's full of incredible photos that have been set up to not only look good, but ro also make you think about how they did it.
For example, the one we have linked to below shows an Xbox controller (no slouch in the style stakes anyway) looking incredibly sexy with a Forza theme. Making the controller look like a next generation sports car can't have been easy, but Microsoft pulled strings and created an amazing image.
The outcome? Over 43,000 likes and counting. Best of all, there are over 2,000 comments on this post alone - not bad for an audience that doesn't really have much time for that social thing (not when there's gaming to be done).
If you have time, it's worth checking out the Xbox Instagram account. It's huge, and there are many amazing images there.
A photo posted by Xbox (@xbox) on Dec 30, 2014 at 9:07am PST
Red Bull: Building anticipation and then delivering gratification
We know, Red Bull can't really put a foot wrong on social. But they keep surprising us again and again. Huge and completely confident in their ability to create viral content, this video we have linked to below is perfect for Instagram.
It's short and sweet and there is absolutely no way you are going to take your eyes away from the screen until the end of it. The level of expectation in the video is huge, and you simply have to wait for the payoff.
Perfectly shot, you instantly feel like you've gained the satisfaction you wanted at the end of it, so it has an immediate effect on you - just like the drink.
We've tried to not spoil this one for you. Just watch it:
A video posted by Red Bull (@redbull) on Jun 25, 2015 at 4:03pm PDT
H&M: Lose the models, focus on the product
We've said this time and time again: If you're selling stuff (as in clothing or other physical products) you'll be a lot happier on visual social media if you don't use models.
It's becoming increasingly obvious that showing your products without human beings next to them (or wearing them) gives the audience a lot more to use when it comes to imagining. You can imagine using that gorgeous phone, if you don't see anyone else using it. You can imagine wearing those pants, if no one is filling them.
While this may not mean the death of the modeling industry, it's certainly becoming a trend. H&M know this. They've made it their business to have model-free shots interspersed throughout their Instagram account, and the results have been excellent.
Take the one we've linked to below - this has 133k likes and nearly 650 comments so far, a perfect example of the 'no models' rule. Whether you like H&M or not, you can't deny that this is an excellent shot and it's all the better for not having any models in it.
A photo posted by H&M (@hm) on Jun 29, 2015 at 6:13am PDT
Instagram is a visual medium, no doubt about it, but you can't crack it with some simple photos you took at the office. These brands manage it well, and they (collectively) do the following:
- Focus on a product, rather than the models who may wear it (H&M)
- Use timeliness (like Lego)
- Build anticipation with video, and then deliver (Red Bull).
- Make your photos incredible (Xbox)
- Maximize interaction (Mercedes)
If you're going to 'do' Instagram, do it right. Follow the examples these companies set and you should find that the platform becomes a real winner for you.
This post originally appeared on the Locowise blog