Ever since the rise of the Social Web, there have always emerged new trending networks that have a steady effect on the importance of other channels. Currently on the rise is Instagram with its pictures, short auto-play videos and hashtags, especially for younger people that are often the early adopters in the Social Media market. Due to purely visual content on this platform, it is especially efficient for marketers of brands in the B2C sector, because the visual communication is targeted majorly to the emotions of users. To engage their fanbase and potential clients, marketers need to apply lots of creativity. So the relation of costs and benefits is especially effective for companies producing items that can raise emotions in their target groups, such as products from the beauty, clothing, food, travel or event industry.
In the following article we are analyzing ‘Under Armour’s’ Instagram strategy as a best-practice example, showing how to utilize possibilities on Instagram. From these tactics every company can learn and apply tactics to their own strategy. For the sports clothing industry, the example “Under Armour” displays clearly that the presence on Instagram is growing very fast in comparison to Facebook, where fan growth is not as fast anymore. Below, there is also a visual comparison of the interaction rates of both networks and it is apparent how well Instagram works for the brand and how attractive the platform can be for clothing marketers.
Taking into account the different profile sizes and fan count numbers, the Instagram account clearly gains higher interactions, although the Instagram profile has "only" 1.003.541 followers in contrast to 3.581.063 Facebook fans.
A describing characteristic of Instagram is the categorization of posts through hashtags. It is actually possible on other Social Media channels to use hashtags, however, nowhere as frequently as on Instagram, where every description of a video or picture contains at least a few of them. These special tags have the potential to raise interactions of a post, because all tagged posts can be seen by any user of the platform, even those that are not your followers. Once a user clicks on a hashtag, he sees a collection of all published content that is tagged with the hashtag.
For your content creation, you should use different types of hashtags. ‘Already established’ or ‘general’ hashtags work very efficiently to broaden your reach and your follower base, because every Instagram user who is interested in the topic can see your post. However, you should limit the use of these hashtags to maintain the uniqueness of your brand. Another type of hashtags that is recommendable to use are ‘unique’ ones. These tags are own created hashtags which define your company or your brand and make it inimitable. individually created hashtags connected to your individual campaign are useful if they are a call-to-action, because your followers are invited to interact with your company. Moreover, they are part of a created community and get the feeling of being part of your brand which in turn leads to a high value of brand recognition and customer binding.
The following tables display which hashtags of the two Under Armour profiles reach the highest interactions. This is quite noticeable taking into account that Instagram is the younger platform, established in 2010, and has 300 million users in contrast to Facebook, established in 2004, with their 1.3 billion users. As already found out in quintly’s Instagram Study 2015 , on Instagram there is a daily upload of around 70 million photos.
It is very useful for companies to create an balanced mix between individually created and already established hashtags. In the first example, Under Armour used the uniquely created tag #IWILL and the already established tag #USOpen.
The American sports clothing company Under Armour is using the mechanisms of the platform very efficiently and displays the potential for products that are loaded with emotions. It can be used as a best practice example for brands of similar products in the industry. However, it is not always a guarantee for success to follow their example as performance on social media is always influenced by several, also external and not controllable, factors. Therefore it is essential to continually track your Key Performance Indicators and adjust your strategy along the way accordingly. Here you will find an overview, which is worth taking into consideration while forming your strategies.
Companies and agencies have to develop a high level of creativity as well as a clear, dynamic strategy to achieve a successful Instagram performance and high interaction rates on this platform. Therefore, having a clear overview of own Instagram Analytics can be a huge advantage over your competition.
Key Takeaways to reach higher interactions:
1. Categorize posts through hashtags and create unique hashtags (company-, brand-, or campaign hashtag) → tags which define the brand or company and are unique. Use already established hashtags → these tags reach a wide audience. Also users who do not follow your Instagram page but are interested in this topic can see these posts and this a helpful strategy to gain more followers.
2. Create Calls-to-action through campaigns where your followers can interact and integrate themselves (i.e. asking questions, doing a competition, giveaways,...).
3. Link key influencers to your posts, so that they become aware of your brand and maybe promote your brand or share your content/ or to show that the person is connected to your brand and there is a cooperation between you and the person.
4. Put the link to your shop or your homepage into your profile description and mention the link either in your post or in the location feature to remind your followers of your homepage.