Smart marketers know that the best asset for marketing and branding is attention. They try to find a way to promote their brand wherever they seek an opportunity which is usually in places where the end consumer is paying attention. This has happened through radio, television, magazine, billboards, and is now happening at great scale within social media platforms.
What most adults used to consider a place where kids and teens interact, is now an important part of your marketing tool kit for any business of any size. The one popular platform we will focus on for this article is Instagram.
Instagram seems like a perfect place to market your product or service, but the problem is that people are getting bombarded on Instagram with spammy ads and promotions from many brands that just want to sell. This creates a type of spammy vibe. The better approach would be to utilize these platforms to push out content that can be of value to your audience/potential customers. Value should be a main focus in any marketing strategy. For the most part, it’s obvious that it isn’t for many brands marketing on Instagram because their focus is everything else except adding value to the community.
Vanity Metrics, Fake Accounts, and Spammy Software
The first question I would want to ask a marketing manager or CEO of a company who focus on vanity metrics would be, “how does the amount of followers or likes you get on a picture impact your actual business?” Vanity metrics are those metrics that seem to be important on paper, but don’t really do anything. Get this, there are people out there who rely on the number of “followers” their profile has and/or the amount of “likes” they get per picture to justify their marketing efforts on Instagram. If that’s not insane, know that there also people concerned with their “followers to following ratio.” Some people are worried that the number of profiles they follow will pass the number of followers they have, so they follow an account then “unfollow” hours or even minutes later. There are tons of tactics that brands do that pinpoints their focus. There is also this weird phenomenon going on where most comments are coming from fake accounts or bots.
There are some accounts that are ran by bots, so these Instagram bots can like tons of pictures and comment on them as well. You can argue that this creates brand awareness for a brand who uses this tactic, but you can’t say it’s authentic. It just screams “spam” to the user. There are softwares that help brands achieve this spammy way of marketing on Instagram.
One version of it is paying for the software to automatically like a certain number of pictures or leave a certain number of comments based on which plan you choose. You can even purchase followers with some of the software. It may create “credibility” for an account, but ultimately it creates a false perception of your brand. There is less real human engagement with these types of marketing tactics. The value brands can provide to their audience gets left behind, which in return does nothing good in the long run.
Be Real and Focus on What Actually Matters
Use Instagram as a platform to distribute content that can be of value to your potential audience. It’s that simple. The reason more brands want to cheat is because it takes time to build a real brand using Instagram as a tool for marketing. The best way to do so is to have an actual strategy. If you are going to be marketing on Instagram, make sure you are not being inconsistent and random. Try to map out your audience and topics that you can create content around that will provide them value. I know that having a goal with the strategy is essential. Brand awareness can be the objective. While you are proving value to your community, many people can discover your brand as well.
Metrics like “clicks” back to your website is a better metric to track than the number of followers your profile has. If you are using Google Analytics to track traffic to your website, you can even dig deeper and see the user flow of users who come across your website from Instagram. Clicks back to your website is like you opening the door to someone you are inviting to come visit. That’s why it’s a better metric to track. You have more opportunity to share your brand’s story if they visit your website than if they stay on Instagram.
Another helpful metric can be “reach.” Reach gives you the number of unique accounts who see your content. Don’t get this confused with “impressions.” Impressions give you the number of times your content has been seen. So if 1 person sees your content 3 times because he or she is scrolling up and down, that counts as 3 impressions for that one person. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Unlike impressions, you can use the reach data to test different times to post or even test different styles of posts (images, info graphics, videos, memes, etc.)
The first thing to understand is that it can take time, effort, and creativity to pull off great marketing results from Instagram. Skip the spammy stuff. Have a strategy focused on providing value to your audience and focus on metrics that have a stronger effect on your core business.