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 In Digital Marketing, social media marketing, SXSW


Over the last several years Instagram has quickly risen to the top of the social media pile! What’s caused this single and minimalistic platform to be so attractive to users and marketers?  That’s exactly what panelists discussed at the 2016 SXSW session titled “Finding the World’s Most Valuable Instagram Photo“.SXSW Instagram

As SXSW goers began to wait in the lengthy line for this session, it was apparent that this platform is one of the most valuable tools in a marketer’s toolbox. The panelists, Aaron Bollinger – Managing Director of Partnerships at Bazaarvoice, Kyle Bunch – Managing Director Social at R/GA, and Lisa Grimm – Associate Director of Social Media at Whole Foods all expressed one common theme, human behavior.

The packed ballroom was standing room only.  As the panelists walked through their slides and discussed the trends and popularity of Instagram they really focused the conversation on the future of social media platforms and what they will mean to all of us for the next several years.

SXSW 2016 Panel

Here are 7 key takeaways from the discussion and what you should be working toward to market in, what could be considered, the king of social – Instagram.

Top 7 Insights on the Future of Instagram

  1. UGC Strategy – If you are not strategizing ways to build UGC campaigns – you’re behind the eight-ball. UGC (User Generated Content) is a must in Instagram and only the best brands are succeding at it.  Grimm explained that at Whole Foods their community’s behavior drives their behavior and it’s largely a co-creation effort.
  2. Build a Community – There is more to Instagram than just posting photos or sponsoring ads. The following that you need to build acts like a true community and they are “on-board” with your cause, product, or service. (Hmm…sounds a little bit like building an entourage – wink, wink.)
  3. Make your Community the “Stars” – Each social media channel “play” is different and Instagram is probably the most unique out of all of them. Your Insta followers need high visuals and simple CTA’s to make them feel like they own the content themselves.
  4. Understand your Outcomes – KPI’s are important when playing in the social media game and each platform is set up for different expectations. The panelists agreed that Facebook = Commerce, whereas Twitter/Instagram = Awareness. In this you should pivot your strategies based on the KPI’sInstagram National Day you get from each.
  5. “National Days” – There is a ton of energy and momentum surrounding any “National Day” of something. In Whole Foods case, it’s usually around a food related national day.  There is something the Insta communities like about national days and they rally around them quickly.
  6. Keep Everything in Context – It’s important to remember that there is a strategy here for your marketing and you can’t just slap a hashtag onto your social post and expect great outcomes. Create a hashtag that you want to stick with and tell people what to do with it. Giving your community a CTA that is in context of the high visual will bring your audience closer to your brand.
  7. Don’t Rely on Organic – Instagram still has some organic reach but that will look much different in the next 18 months.  This means Insta is also becoming a pay to play platform.  Right now, there is more ability to explore Instagram for small to mid-size brands and that allows you to scale-up in your market without having to spend a fortune.

Implementing practices like these is just the beginning of your wholistic social media stragety. You may feel a little overwhelmed by the rapidly changing landscape of social media and that’s where you should call on your agency consultant for help.  The everyday marketing within any platform is a full-time job and these insights will evolve even more over time.  Today it’s Instagram, and tomorrow it may be something else, but for now we like that Instagram is king!

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