Tell Your Brand Story to Millennials on Instagram and Snapchat
As of 2015, Millennials are the largest living generation in the United States. The generation doesn’t currently match its money to its population numbers, however. They hold only about one-sixth of the country’s wealth, but that will be changing quickly in the coming years.
By 2025, when Millennials will account for 75 percent of the workforce, their purchasing power and share of wealth will more evenly match their numbers. Millennials are finally seeing the light at the end of the economic tunnel, so to speak, and marketers should work to earn their loyalty and recognition now — before they really start spending those earnings. The easiest place to work toward that goal is social media.
Facebook and Twitter have been known players in social media marketing for a while now, but we’re going to skip those two and talk about Instagram and Snapchat for the moment. Why? Because they’re quickly gaining large numbers of followers, especially among Millennials. Instagram is currently ranked second for social media usage with this age group according to Pew Research. Snapchat, though not as large or well-researched, is gaining ground too.
The difference between these two sites and other social media is that they are geared specifically to promote images and video. Marketers, given fewer words to work with, must grab a viewer’s attention with a simple image or the first frames of a video.
Many people feel this doesn’t work for all products or services, but I’d like to disagree. Think back to some of the most innovative or attention-grabbing TV commercials you’ve seen. Not all of them, or even most of them, were for items that are easily shown with a video or image. I’m thinking of Apple’s iconic Super Bowl commercial, Monster.com’s “When I Grow Up” commercials, and Allstate Insurance’s mayhem series.
With the semi-recent release of Story features from Instagram and Snapchat, brands can craft content and get it in front of consumers in a quick and easy format that caters to the mediums most young people are looking at anyway. Instagram stories come with notifications and the ability to link to other content or guide viewers to the link in your company’s bio. Snapchat has a Stories section than can be used in a very similar manner.
For example, I follow a popular cupcake bakery on Instagram, along with my friends and family. I follow it for the obvious reason that I like cupcakes a bit more than is probably healthy and I want to know when they’re debuting new flavors. However, I’ve also found myself getting lured in by their Stories lately. They don’t post every day, but when they do it tends to be a series of short clips about their flavor of the day, or brand-boosting videos of how their products are made, or glimpses of their company culture. The clips are brief, eye-catching, product- or consumer-focused, and send a clear message. They’re doing this the right way.
If you’re thinking about jumping into Instagram advertising, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Start your efforts with regular posts and gain followers that way.
- Make sure your images or videos are designed to quickly grab attention. Images should be sized to fit properly on the page.
- If you link, use a link shortening service that can track clicks, such as Bitly (bit.ly) or Google’s URL Shortener (Goo.gl) to properly attribute traffic from your social efforts. I suggest using a different link for each social media site you post on.
- Make your videos work with or without the sound on. A lot of people watch videos in public or at work without sound, so you may need a bit of copy to make the message clear.
- In the copy that goes along with your standard Instagram posts, try to use trending hashtags if possible. However, make sure there isn’t any controversy behind them. Many companies have fallen victim to this by jumping on a hashtag bandwagon without researching it first.
- Don’t post excessively. If you have a great story to tell, tell it — but don’t bog down consumers with filler material because you feel you must post every day.
- If you decide to use sponsored ads, make sure you nail down your targeting so you aren’t advertising to people who are unlikely to need your product or service.
Instagram is a great way for nearly any business to get into the social marketing field with only a few images and a bit of copy. Even FedEx is doing it. Just keep in mind, as FedEx has, that your content must be engaging and share-worthy. If you’re promoting trucks, you can’t just put pictures of trucks on your page. You need to use a bit of creativity to pull consumers into the story behind the truck or its travels. Create a narrative with images and videos. That narrative is what will bring in the younger viewers and foster the loyalty you’re looking for.
As with every other marketing effort, keep in mind that you want to plan, implement, test, analyze, and adjust as needed.
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