Build a Better Instagram: HubSpot's Social Media Manager's Hot Tips on Building Brand Awareness on Instagram

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Kelly Hendrickson
Kelly Hendrickson



Instagram officially has one billion monthly active users -- and 80% of those users follow a business. Your business isn't on Instagram? Well, chances are good that your customer is. So it might be time to start 'doing it for the 'gram'.


But, first and foremost, what do most businesses get wrong about marketing on Instagram?

They forget how they use Instagram in their own lives!

For instance, consider this scenario -- you're scrolling through your Instagram feed. You see your friend's puppy (♡), your friend's engagement photos (♡), a video of Ellen Degeneres dancing (♡) ... and then you see an ad for garden hoses. I'm willing to bet you keep scrolling.

But what if, instead of a generic ad for garden hoses, you saw a beautiful shot of a gardener nurturing her garden by watering it? You'd be more willing to like it, wouldn't you?

Social media is an innately emotional and human space. You follow friends, you like friends' posts, you follow causes you care about, and you share content with which you identify. Ultimately, it's about a sense of community.

Unfortunately, when a brand is "me me me" all the time, they remove themselves from that social community, and accidentally exclude the exact people they want. They make it all about themselves, and steal their audience's attention, rather than earning it.

But what if a brand embraced a tone of "us", where they shared content that both you and the brand valued? Well, I'd say that's a whole different experience.

So are you looking to start using Instagram as a brand awareness tool? We're #pumped if you are. Here are three hot tips to remember as you get going.

New Data: Instagram Engagement Report [Free Download]

1. Make your mission your message.

64% of consumers choose or avoid a brand based on its stand on a societal issue. Since social media is rooted in emotion and identity, people want to rally around something they believe in.

Consider how your brand can inspire your audience and encourage them to rally around a cause. Play your cards right, and they will become brand advocates, telling their friends who also share that mission.

2. People like content that looks like it's from real people.

It is imperative that every brand remember what they post on social is invading someone's space that is typically reserved for friends and family. So how can you make sure that your brand is welcome in that space? By taking nods from friends and family. People prefer content that feels like it was made by a person with a heart and soul, versus a corporation.

So how are people making content on social these days? How this takes form will be unique to each business. Here are a few tips:

Have an engaging brand voice: Some brands play with how they communicate. Netflix is a particularly good example of a brand embracing a uniquely human tone of voice. From their commentary on pop culture to clap backs, it feels like one of your friend's engaging. And you remember them for that exact reason.

Don't overthink production: You've heard us say it before -- content is king. Social is proving this in a big way, as audiences don't seem to mind if something is shot on an iPhone as long as the content is valuable. In fact, we're finding more often than not, audiences actually prefer a lower production value. Why? Because it feels like something a friend of family member could have made. It doesn't have as much of that "big corporation stink" on it.

HubSpot has played around with lower production -- like the example below, which was made in Instagram stories.

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 12.25.04 PM

3. Value on social is a different kind of value.

One size does not fit all. When you are seeking brand awareness on Instagram, the value you want to provide is different than the value you would provide at a different stage of the buyer's journey. You want to focus on how someone feels when they see content or engage with your brand.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" by Maya Angelou? You should apply this philosophy to your Instagram strategy.

For instance, chances are good a free e-book offer on Instagram while someone is on the train coming home won't make them feel too much -- but what if the content was a bit more human?

Here are some questions to ask when you are thinking about providing value to your audience for brand awareness:

  • Identity: Does our audience feel seen? Do they feel like we understand them as a person first, customer second? Does it make them scream, "This is so me!"?
  • Informative: Is this something our audience didn't know already, and would care about while browsing on Instagram? Is this helpful to them in a snack-able social way? Will our audience be thankful we shared this content with them?
  • Emotional: Does our audience feel something? Do they care with their heart when they see our content?

Lastly, don't forget about Stories!

There are 500 million stories every day, and one-third of them are from businesses. Best news of all? The principles we've described above in regards to brand awareness also apply to Stories.

To read more on Stories, check out our post Instagram Stories: What they are and how to make them like a pro.

Follow HubSpot’s Instagram page for tips on marketing, sales, and customer service.


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