In my brand consultancy, we have a unique process of manifesting a brand’s newly crafted identity. Instead of rolling the design language out in great detail across every touchpoint of a client’s brand, we focus on only a few important pieces that will set the direction and thereby create the brand’s visual and verbal rules.
As part of this process (of showing how a brand can come to life), we recently started spending more time on creating newly branded Instagram accounts for our clients through an initial set of posts. We believe it is just as important, if not more important than the website. Why? Because when you see a company’s Instagram account, you get to know who they really are, what the company really cares about, and even more so, you get to meet the brand that exists today.
The beauty of Instagram is, quite obviously, the platform’s visual appeal. And Instagram for brands is exactly as the name implies: Instantaneous. That is also what most potential visitors seek: Instant gratification.
As of March 2019, Instagram business pages get over 1.5 billion visits a week, “but many entrepreneurs and startups are still ignoring Instagram as a major acquisition channel, mostly because they can’t add links to each post” says Andrew Lee Miller (who I worked with when helping Tinder and Match Group launch a new app).
Andrew, more widely known as AndrewStartups, a startup marketing expert who has led growth for three startup exits, states “Simply put, millions more people are now discovering brands organically through their Instagram account than their website, yet many companies are still spending tens of thousands of dollars optimizing their website, and not a dollar on their Instagram. Hiring a designer, a copywriter and a content strategist for your Instagram will absolutely pay off,” he argues. “It is more important to drive inbound traffic to – and convert on – ‘your new homepage,’ your Instagram page, than almost anywhere else on the web.”
If you are worried about keeping up your account and posting like a true millennial, there is some good news, which should come as a relief: Having a beautifully designed and distinctly on-brand Instagram page that efficiently illustrates your brand, your values, your culture, and your value proposition is what matters to leave a brand impression. Not the forceful, half-hastily constant updates by your intern. Take a breath and start to think of your Instagram page as your up-to-date homepage.
Here are 3 tips from Andrew and myself on how to go about it:
…and “off-page” social media marketing initiatives that drive new followers to your page every day.
…coupled with a distinct brand voice, one that is more natural and tongue-in-cheek than currently found on your traditional channels (Those should adapt to your new, authentic voice, eventually).
…in the bio with a link that converts. Share something valuable like an offer, a competition, or a free piece of content (white papers, anyone?) that will draw visitors further towards your brand.
It’s time to respect a channel that will instantaneously provide an up-to-date overview of your brand at its most authentic self. Not only that, but you will be able to sit back and watch leads come in from a source you least expected.
Creating a brand is only half the battle. Now you have to continuously keep building it. Over time, your brand requires carefully and well orchestrated crafting of one consumer message and marketing piece at a time. The truth is, this is where brands usually lose focus very early on. It’s time to KISS and make up. Our version of KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) is: Keep its soul, stupid!
As I have declared the death of the style guide in an earlier post, now that the brand is on its own two feet, there needs to be a constant reminder of why your brand came into existence in the first place. It’s about your brand’s soul and with all the talk about metrics, ROI and the latest shiny marketing gadgets being rolled out in front of your eyes, one tends to forget the why and instead focuses on the what. The what can feel like the sexier, easier and, often times, safer choice.
In a recent client meeting discussing creative round 1 of a website launch, the Marketing Team proudly shared our work for the first time with the CEO. She was delighted with the strategy and visuals, but having users go through a pop-over opt-in form prior to entering the site made her pause. ‘Whose decision was it to make the user go through this step prior to seeing our landing page?’, she asked, ‘Who was involved in that decision outside of our Marketing Team?’ The room fell into complete silence. For the duration of the project, the Marketing Team had been pushing for the form to take over the site prior to entering the site’s full content, in the hopes of receiving immediate ROI on the project upon launch. After a long pause, the CEO said ‘The only people who will like this idea is Marketing.’ It was an awkward, yet powerful moment as everyone in the room realized their error. If your project’s success is primarily measured by conversion rates, it may seem like a logical conclusion to push for the opt-in screen. However, this is the moment you lose sight of your brand’s soul. You no longer have your customer in mind first and foremost, instead your focus drifts towards your own success. That’s the time to take a step back and look at the brand’s broader success metrics, instead of the project brief.
In your next creative marketing project, we suggest you schedule 3 milestones labeled as “KISS” (Keep its soul, stupid) for the purpose of ensuring that your project stays in line with the brand’s soul. It is important to consider how a short-term campaign fulfills the brands’ values while also serving its long-term goals. Labeling them as “KISS” milestones will serve as a reminder of the true goal of the task. When it comes to brands, let’s keep its soul, stupid.