Over 80% of Instagram users learn more about products and services on the platform. So it’s not surprising that brand advertising on Instagram becomes a hot-button issue for any business. And while it’s hardly a problem for large brands, small businesses might find the whole thing challenging.
Thankfully, challenging doesn’t mean impossible. Basically, it’s just another step to make. And how to make it and what to look out for is what we are going to talk about here.
What is brand advertising?
Before we get right into it, let’s figure out what brand advertising actually is. To speak in simple terms, brand advertising is a system of measures aimed at:
- raising brand awareness
- expanding the target audience,
- showcasing brand equity and its advantages.
Of course, the end goal of all this is increasing sales.
The modern market is extremely competitive. Businesses are fighting tooth and nail for their customers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a niche that’s not taken by at least a few businesses ready to supply customers with all kinds of tempting offers. In this climate, only the strongest, most recognizable, and trustworthy brands survive.
This is how it works; first, you work for your brand, and later it works for you. If you plan to stay on the market for a long time, you should think ahead and start building and advertising your brand now.
Types of brand advertising
On a conceptual level, a brand is a brand wherever it operates, whether it’s offline or online. But brand building and brand advertising online has a number of very specific traits.
The strategy of brand advertising on social media must take into account the specificity of the online audience. More often than not, branding, logos, promotional content, and much more must be geared specifically towards this audience.
1. Influencer marketing
The gist of influencer marketing is quite simple: you choose an influencer whose target audience is similar to yours, you ask them to recommend your products and/or services to their followers, you pay them.
But in reality, it proves to be not quite that easy. Choosing just any influencer at random means wasting your marketing budget and getting nothing in return. The important thing here is to get detailed profile analytics.
- Check the quality of their following. You can do it manually, ask them about their Instagram Insights data, or check their profile using trendHERO tools:
- Ask them to provide you with information on their weekly Reach and follower growth:
- Let them share their weekly audience demographics stats with you. Age, gender, location are the most important metrics:
- And don’t forget about the feedback from previous partnerships. Did they post any sponsored content previously? How often do they post sponsored content? What is their audience’s reaction to this type of content?
2. Targeted ads
Targeted ads are all about making sure that your message is delivered to your target audience. By setting up time zone, location, age, social status, gender, interests of the people who are going to see your ads you market your products and/or services only to your potential customers.
Are young women who live in a certain city/area your target audience? If you set up your targeted ads correctly, they’ll be shown to this demographic only.
Types of Instagram targeting:
- Location-based targeting. Shows your ads to people living in a certain area, from entire countries to specific postal code areas.
- Demographics-based targeting. Displays ads to users based on their gender, age, marital status, presence of children, and their age.
- Interest-based targeting. Targets users based on their hobbies and interests.
- Social-based targeting. Shows ads to people based on their level of education, area of expertise, employer, industry.
Shoutouts are one of the free methods of brand advertising. It’s when two (or more) brands recommend each other to their audiences. The principle is quite simple:
- You shoutout/tag a friendly brand in one of your publications/Stories
- They do the same in their feed
However, there a few things to keep in mind if you want to use this method of advertising:
- discuss every detail of your cooperation, including the time of publication and content formats
- make sure that the brand you plan to shoutout is reliable and trustworthy. If there are any doubts about this, don’t. It’s not worth losing your customers’ trust
- check their profiles for any inauthentic follower activity. It will be absolutely pointless if the majority of their audience are fake followers
- make sure they operate in the same niche and have a TA similar to yours
If you want to spike up the follower activity and raise brand awareness, organize a flashmob. Just remember that if you want it to promote your brand and increase your sales, you should cooperate with niche users with relatively large followings (power influencers/celebrities). Don’t be afraid to offer the weirdest ideas. Think of a unique hashtag, tell your followers all about it, ask your friends to take part.
A good flashmob must be:
- easy to organize
- meaningful to your brand
- relatable to a wide audience
Giveaways are one of the most effective methods of attracting new followers (and potential customers). You offer valuable gifts in return for new subscriptions, shares, shoutouts, and/or tags. Of course, just as any other method of brand advertising, it has its own pitfalls. So here’s what you have to remember if you’re planning a giveaway:
- You have to be ready for the fact that many of those who’ll get attracted by your giveaway are just people who want to get something for free. It’s likely they won’t be interested in buying anything from you. The most you can expect from them is a few likes and/or comments. Also, be prepared that these users might unfollow you as soon as the giveaway is over.
- Choose gifts you are sure the majority of your target audience will like.
6. User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is the original content created by your audience. It can be anything, from reviews and comments to photos and videos. As a brand, you can use it in your feed or outside the platform to advertise your business. More often than not, UGC is much more effective in terms of brand advertising than regular content.
It’s a win-win situation for both brands and their followers. On the one hand, brands get tons of unique ideas and original content without spending too much time, effort, or money on their creation. Users get the chance to creatively express themselves and get discounts and/or rewards in return.
The most common kind of user-generated content is shares. Needless to say, you’ll have to try really hard to motivate your followers to share your content. Perhaps by organizing the above-mentioned giveaways and flashmobs.
Why should you use it for your brand?
The powerful potential of Instagram as a brand marketing platform can’t be understated. It’s easily one of the most popular and fast-growing social media platforms in the world. 200 million users of the platform view at least one commercial profile every day. By advertising your brand to your target audience on the platform, you significantly raise your brand’s awareness and recognition.
But if that’s not enough, here are reasons why brand advertising on Instagram is worth your time:
1. Massive potential target audience
There are 140 million US users on the platform, which is a little less than half of the country’s entire population. This means that as a brand, you have a great chance to attract a massive audience of customers.
2. Lots of potential for any niche brand
IG users are incredibly diverse and socially and economically active. This means they are capable of offering consumer demand for all kinds of services and products. That’s why you can easily advertise your brand on the platform, no matter how narrow your niche is.
3. Vast possibilities for influencer marketing
There are over 500.000 active influencers on Instagram who choose it as their only platform for influence. This gives virtually endless possibilities for reaching out to your customers through people they trust.
4. Minimum effort, maximum payoff
Creating an Instagram account, customizing it, switching to a Business account, and making it all look appealing doesn’t take much time, effort, or money.
5. It’s all about visuals
Instagram is aimed at visual content. And as you know, visuals are the easiest way to get to your customers and impress them.
6. The greatest way to build your customer trust
Instagram is a social media platform where people come for informal communication. You can present your marketing in the form of casual socialization, by offering engaging stories. This is the best way to build a trustful relationship with your potential customers.
7. Your customers can shop without leaving the platform
Thanks to recent updates, you can set up an online store right on Instagram, offer customer support, and accept orders.
Brand advertising examples
The greatest (and most effective) advertising does not contain any blatant call to action, an annoying prompting to buy something. Brands understand that. This is why the most impressive brand advertising examples try to appeal to emotions rather than forcing you to do anything.
Like, for example, in this Audi ad with the Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams. At first sight, it might seem weird. You can’t really see the car, after all. But what you can see is the actress’s confident gaze and smile. It’s almost as if she says “Do you want to be as confident in your future as me? Buy Audi”:
Another way to advertise your brand is to focus on the product. Quite probably, few brands do it as well as Adidas. In this Prada-Adidas collaboration ad below, there is nothing that’s unnecessary. You can see the shoe, then the bag – and it’s all you need:
And here’s an example of a giveaway from JustFab. As was mentioned earlier, Giveaways are a great way to increase your audience engagement. And if ten pairs of exquisite shoes aren’t enough motivation for liking, sharing, and tagging a friend in the comments, I don’t know what is:
How to start a brand advertising campaign
1. Carefully consider your brand marketing strategy
Even before you actually start your brand promotion, think of what your marketing strategy is going to be. It must include clear goals (both short-term and long-term) and tasks and take into account your target audience’s needs and interests.
The marketing strategy must also include additional advertising channels. Like, for example, advertising with bloggers and influencers. Don’t forget about analyzing their profiles with trendHERO tools for maximum effect.
The main thing is to make your marketing strategy stand out. Let them hear your unique brand voice. Standing out is extremely important in a highly competitive climate.
2. Create a content strategy
You’ll need a content plan to rely on as you build your presence on the platform and brand awareness. When developing an effective content strategy, pay special attention to the consistency of publication.
3. Switch to a Business account
It’s extremely easy – and extremely useful. Don’t forget about providing your contacts so that your potential customers can reach you at any time.
4. Optimize your profile and choose the right branding style
Make sure that your profile name matches your brand name and your profile picture showcases your brand logo. In the bio section, use concise sentences describing what your brand is about and what it offers.
5. Track your performance
Keep track of all the latest trends and analytics. Change your tactics or even the entire strategy in case the results are less than satisfactory.
How to build brand awareness?
1. Be customer-oriented.
Produce the best content possible: top-quality photos, engaging texts. Create original content and don’t hesitate to use the services of professional photographers and designers.
2. Actively interact with your customers.
Answer their questions and don’t leave their comments without your attention; especially negative ones. Show interest in their content, like/share their posts and Stories when they mention your brand. Let them know they and their opinions are important to you.
3. Post video content.
Video content is insanely popular with users. It’s a great opportunity to diversify your content and attract more attention from your potential customers.
4. Showcase your products and/or services
Show them how exactly they can use your products and/or services in everyday life, what kind of issues they can solve. “Before – After” photos and videos are a great way to do this.
5. Be open-minded
Open up to your followers and viewers. Show them your honesty, integrity, transparency. Publish the photos of your staff members, tell them stories about your brand, show how it works. Instagram users really appreciate this informal, casual kind of communication. Make them feel comfortable when they are talking to you.
It might seem like brand advertising on Instagram is a complex and challenging process. And while it’s not completely untrue, it’s not all gloom and doom. You learn as you go and if you take measures to correct your mistakes in a timely manner, you’ll soon see positive results.
They might not come immediately but they definitely will. Just explore the platform and its possibilities as much as you can. Always try to understand what your target audience needs and how to give it to them. Build your unique voice. Find organic ways of getting in touch with your potential customers. Be real, be authentic and you’ll notice that your brand advertising goes smoothly and easily.
The more you can offer your potential customers the better results you’ll get.