Since Instagram first introduced advertisement capabilities and more recently, in-app purchase options, the skepticism has focused on whether or not Instagram is actually able to drive sales. The truth? A recent study by VidMob shows that more than a third of participants between 16 and 45 have bought something directly from the platform. Of those that did make a purchase, more than half were from unfamiliar brands. As more brick-and-mortar stores close, and exclusively online services gain popularity, there is a clear shift towards easy and instantaneous e-commerce transactions. 

Instagram’s Focus on ‘Creators’

Initially, this shift was due in large part to high profile users, celebrities, and athletes; most well known as the original ‘influencers.’ As time progressed, audiences fell out of love with these figureheads and craved something more authentic, in comes the ‘micro-influencer.’ Micro-influencers post content that falls within their niche and value engaging with audiences over blindly growing their follower count. Brand partnerships with these types of accounts may reach a smaller audience, but the positive connections made are worth the cut. 

Privy to the impact of their users, Instagram has created an account dedicated to helping users create compelling content, appropriately named @Creators. The account clearly states “we can’t get you verified,” but does offer graphics detailing statistics on audience engagement and shorts from top creators telling their stories of success. The account also uses the tag #IGCreatorInsights, which has already been used close to 15 times the amount of posts @Creators has currently, all by individual accounts sharing their own tips. 

What This Means for Brands on Instagram

Though this account is largely aimed at individual users, much of the information can be invaluable for brands looking to up their Instagram game. Behind punchy graphics and quick-cut videos, there are key messages on how to do the following: 

Grow Your Following: Looking to grow your brand’s following both on and offline? VidMob’s study showed that 6 in 10 consumers followed a new brand on Instagram after viewing an “appealing” advertisement. Appealing could mean a multitude of things depending on personal aesthetics, but the main takeaway here is that if you’re going to put something on Instagram, it better look more than halfway decent.

Foster Influencer Relationships: Whether your brand uses influencer partnerships already or wants to start, using the tips and stories from high profile influencers can help. Use it to get better insight on how to approach accounts, maintain mutually beneficial relationships, and most importantly, use it as a solid starting point to find creators willing to work with businesses.

Embrace The Fall of Brand Loyalty: New, emerging businesses often get pushed aside in favor of established brands, but using tools like targeted ads, young businesses can capitalize on the suggestion that brand loyalty is becoming a less influential purchase driver. The CMO of VidMob has even said, “optimally designed ads can put disruptor and incumbent brands on a level playing field.”

Make Your Content Shareable: If you crave the attention that viral videos get, but can’t quite grab your audience’s attention, the problem may be that your content is not as ‘share worthy’ as once thought. Gone are the days of simple graphics and corny punchlines. Audiences want clever, engaging content that doesn’t feel like a scream to buy featured products.

Make Your Ads Shoppable: Convenience has quickly become paramount in the shopping world. From paying with facial recognition to subscription services for everyday essentials and wardrobe makeovers, people are buying faster than ever and your business needs to keep up. Whether that means using the in-app purchase capabilities or adding linked “tags” to each post, cutting down the steps and time it takes to go from post to purchase is essential in today’s market. 

So take 15 or 20 minutes the next time you have a chance and scroll through the account or give it a follow, but remember that above all else, audiences want authenticity. Whether your brand works with influencers, uses paid advertisements, or sticks to your old ways, always remember the brand’s message and how to convey that effectively and respectfully.