Instagram is one of the leading social media platforms in the world. Created in 2011, it has pretty much become a household product. A whopping 1/7th of the planet’s population uses the platform monthly. That’s 1.1 billion people, which makes Instagram the third most used social media platform, after behemoths Facebook and YouTube. And if you have a target audience of millennials then Instagram is essential for your brand.
That’s right: a large part of Instagram users are Millennials, Gen Z, and digital natives. What’s more, is in 2017, 34% of this cohort used Instagram daily. Three-quarters of users take action when visiting a profile, like clicking on the link in bio, or clicking on a product in a shoppable post.
To recap, if you are selling products or services targeted to millennials, your business should be on Instagram. Let’s take a look at why.
Why do millennials love Instagram so much?
Before we give you some marketing tips on how to use Instagram to reach your millennial target audience and generate sales, let’s learn more about your customers and their preferences.
Why do millennials love Instagram so much?
🤙 It’s interactive
Of all the generations, Millennials and Gen Zers really value social interactions when they’re online. Think about it – they have grown up with online forums, YouTube entertainment, and Whatsapp to name a few. They live, work and consume in a communal way through the economy of sharing – coworking spaces, working retreats, Uber Pool, and community-focused festivals.
In their journey as consumers, they value brands and businesses that engage and interact with them and meet them where they are, in a digital space. Newer generations are also demanding more transparency and accountability when it comes to the brands they follow and support, and social media allows them the opportunity to comment, share their opinions or even vote when it comes to company initiatives, allowing them to feel like they are part of the process.
Take Glossier for example, who base a lot of their product launches on their audiences’ genuine opinions, needs, and desires.
📺 It’s NOT traditional advertising.
As we said before, millennials grew up in a totally different mindset. They watch Netflix or YouTube instead of good ol’ TV. Before buying something or traveling somewhere, they spend time doing research online. Traditional advertising does not reach them, and more and more, they tend to not trust this type of messaging.
It’s not a problem; it’s an evolution: brands have migrated their budgets from traditional advertising to new mediums, and Instagram is one of them.
The social media platform gives you, the brand owner, the tools to advertise your brand to your target audience of millennials in a fun, engaging, and authentic way. It allows for:
Repetition: unlike a traditional advertising campaign showcasing one visual and one message, Instagram allows you to post recurrently. You can post every day, and even several times a day. This is a fantastic way to promote your brand through several impressions.
Diversity: you can post a photo of your product on Monday, and user-generated content on Tuesday (a picture one of your clients took with your product). You can then advertise a competition or giveaway on Wednesday and Thursday, and post a video on Friday. And why not organize a takeover on the weekend inviting a guest influencer or an employee to take the creative direction of your account? Instagram enables diversification in the messages you publish about your brand and products, which is great to keep your followers engaged!
Engagement: you can finally talk to your consumers. It can be through a live story where you encourage your followers to ask questions, or via the comments section of a post. Creating a conversation with your community will not only provide you priceless marketing intel, but it will also create a relationship with them.
All of this at a much lower cost than an insert in a magazine or a billboard ad!
👀 Everything about it is visual.
So much information, so little time! It takes more time to read an article than to look at a picture. Instagram’s power comes from this fact. The visual nature of the platform makes it extremely usable: in public transport, in a crowded mall, at the office – you name it.
The easier the information gets to your followers, the happier they are. Images are processed quickly, and that’s what the new generations want. Instagram is delivering precisely that convenience.
✨ It’s inspirational!
Photos and videos are a great way to create inspirational content. When it’s cold and grey in the city, people look at pictures posted by travel bloggers all the way from Maldives or Bali. While people are working, they love to dream about their next vacation or their next pair of shoes. On Instagram, brands don’t sell products anymore, they sell a lifestyle. Your Millennial target audience ends up following brands because of the inspirational content they post – the pictures/videos and the captions.
🛵 It’s fast.
Millennials are busy, they’re on the move. They consume on the go. Instagram allows precisely that.
Open the brand’s page.
Go on a specific post.
Go the shoppable item page.
Get the right color/size.
Done, right on time before getting into the next meeting at work.
Keep on reading to discover the tools the platform offers to shorten the consumer journey and allow users to consume on the go.
How to leverage Instagram in your marketing strategy.
Instagram is a great platform to engage with your consumers and grow your business. Here are our tips to get you started as a business account on the platform.
#1. Create your business IG account.
Consider your Instagram profile as yet another touch point to your consumers. You’ve surely built a compelling website for your brand and the same amount of effort should go towards building your Instagram account.
However, keep in mind that Instagram is a social media platform with a target audience of Millennials. What this means is that it’s a great platform to create a more relaxed and human version of your branding, as well as focus on interactions with users (for example – it might mean that you won’t really posting perfect stock photos, but original and user-generated content).
Major brands such as Patagonia and Glossier have chosen a user-generated content strategy. Patagonia’s account is entirely built on photos and videos taken by their followers and community of adventurers. The content gives a sense of community and serves as direct social proof to potential shoppers.
The look of the page could have been more manicured if all the pictures were taken by professional photographers working for Patagonia, but the brand image it would convey wouldn’t be the same, and the impact on a community that values authenticity and adventure over aesthetics and design would have been diminished.
#2. Use the right hashtags for each and every post you share.
Hashtags are the hook for your content to reach the people who are the most likely to appreciate your brand and convert.
For every post, every account, and every niche you target, lies a pool of hashtags to use. Using Flick
helps you navigate the plethora of hashtags available to you, and determine the ones that will deliver the highest engagement rates and increase your follower base.
In this blog post
, we provide an in-depth walkthrough on how to find the right hashtags for your niche and objectives.
#3. Don’t sell too hard.
Instagram is a platform that favors content, creativity, and aesthetics. Since it has opened its doors to brands and started offering marketing tools such as sponsored posts, the platform has been diligent in maintaining its ethos: Instagram is about sharing content, inspiring people, interacting and engaging. If this serves sales, great. But sales should never come at the expense of the “art” of Instagram.
As a brand owner, if you sell too hard by sharing only commercial posts and calls to action, the ‘grammers will be no fool, and they’ll very likely unfollow your account. As a matter of fact, the first reason people unfollow a business account is because it is too focused on sales, and this is particularly true if your target audience comprises of millennials.
#4. Adapt your brand voice to the platform.
Instagram is the app we open when we’re bored, or we need a break, or we’re waiting in line. We use it to check on our friends, and watch their (hopefully entertaining) stories.
For brands, it is crucial that the content they post fits in seamlessly in people’s feeds, right before the influencer’s post from her summer holidays and right after pictures of friend’s proudly showcasing their latest buddha bowl.
Urban Outfitters excels in the art of posting commercial posts that actually entertain people.
#5. Engage with your followers and other accounts.
Instagram etiquette: if someone takes a second from their busy life to comment on a post, it is expected that the account owner takes a second to like/reply. 😉
Engaging with other accounts in your niche is a great strategy to grow your follower base. Use hashtags to spot the right account, and engage genuinely.
Over the last decade, Instagram has been adapting the platform for business owners to market their products on it.
As a marketer, you can use tools and features such as videos, stories, IGTV, shoppable items, swipe up links and obviously, the link in bio.
To engage: use Insta stories and live videos, as well as the comment section of your page.
To convert: post pictures with the shoppable item function or add a “swipe up” option to your stories to make the consumer journey even more seamless.
To establish branding: design a feed with a consistent style and editorial line – it can be a specific set of colors you always respect, a type of content you constantly post, or an editorial calendar.
#7. Keep it short and sweet:
Remember: you should always strive to convert your followers into shoppers.
A short consumer journey is the best consumer journey. For example, if you are selling products, using the shoppable items feature will make it super easy for your followers to shop – they see it on the post, they like it, they click, the link takes them to the product page on your website, they buy.
Flick can help you create a powerful hashtag strategy. Find the best hashtags for your next Instagram posts and reach that millennial target audience here!
Statistics courtesy to HootSuite