These days there's not a company out there that does not want to have a massive presence on social media. Instagram is a site that brands can no longer afford to overlook. There is no other platform that enables brands to tell a visual story quite like Instagram.
Last month, Instagram announced they now have 800-million monthly users and 500-million daily users of their app. While the potential to reach a massive audience is there, the struggle for brands to break through the noise on the platform is real. One of the questions I get the most from readers of my blogs is about how to stand out on Instagram.
The frequent questions from readers put me on a quest for some fresh ideas and strategies for Instagram growth. Rather quickly, I came across the work of Adam Rosenberg and Dalit Saad, co-founders of the studio kvell. I was struck by their unique approach and creative strategy they use to build brands on Instagram.
And judging from their client list and seeing some of their results firsthand, I can attest that what they are doing on Instagram is highly effective.
Here's what they shared with me.
John White: Your business model is unlike any other agency's I've seen. How has it been so successful for you and your clients?
Adam Rosenberg: At kvell, we believe it's not enough to just create great work, it has to be shared!
We are part creative studio, where we develop content and campaigns for brands, and part influencer collective, where we collaborate with makers to develop content and feature it on our Instagram channels that collectively have 140K+ followers. Being influencers on instagram is the biggest differentiator between our studio and other social media/content agencies because we not only produce the content but share it with an engaged audience.
Our model to stay fluid is what has driven our success and has allowed us to partner with brands and creative agencies. We don't have full-time employees; we curate teams for each project rather than a one-size fits all approach. We find that tailoring teams bring a greater passion and work more efficiently together to produce better results.
We've also been able to commission a global network of talented creatives (photographers, videographer, art directors, designers, and strategists, etc.) to our collective through @meetkvell.
JW: Why does your studio's Instagram strategy work so well?
Dalit Saad: Our Instagram strategy works because we've created a playful environment on @meetkvell where brands can promote their products/services to connect with thousands of people instantly. We've noticed consistent growth in the volume of shares from the content we created for our clients.
The number of increased shares demonstrates that users appreciate the authenticity of the brand's content and artful approach. Because we strive to create beautiful and shareable content, we are achieving our client goals without compromising the user experience through a direct advertisement.
JW: What's your top advice to develop a successful brand Instagram account?
AR: Instagram is the number one platform where people go to discover new products, experiences, and businesses, so it's essential to have a presence, but not just any presence. Your brand needs to stand out.
The first step is to define your brand's Instagram strategy. Think about what kind of account your brand wants to become. Will your account be fun (@webroughtwine), innovative (@generalelectric), informative (@uberfacts), artsy (@meetkvell), or niche (@eatingnyc)? Once you decide on the tone, think about how to tie your brand's story, products, and services into engaging content.
At the end of the day, you'll need to be able to answer this question, "Why will someone want to follow your account?"
At kvell, we help many brands develop their Instagram strategy, branding, and content. The most important rule we tell our clients to follow is to be consistent!
JW: What's the best way to organically grow an account on Instagram with all of the changes that have been made to their algorithm this year?
DS: Collaborations with the community are vital. Instagram is an active community, so it's crucial to connect with influencers that align with your brand ethos. Think of creative ways to build partnerships, activations, campaigns, and collaborations with other accounts so your brand can get exposure and grow organically and authentically.
We've been able to help many of our clients, such as R/GA and Neuehouse, to develop influencer campaigns by collaborating with creators that fit the brand's voice and visual aesthetic. Our approach is to partner with makers to create artful content that ties in the brand's message. The result is highly engaging content.
JW: How have you been able to use Instagram as a new business tool?
AR: We use Instagram as a business tool in two ways. First, we utilize the direct message feature to send out friendly messages to brands we want to work with. Reaching out to potential clients on Instagram is super helpful because they can quickly see all the work we have on our feed and contact with us instantly.
Secondly, we post new content each week. Each time we post a new piece of branded content, it acts as instant PR. Many of our clients and potential clients follow our account, so it's an organic and fun way to show people our new work and chops.
JW: Where do you see Instagram marketing three years from now?
DS: Brands are just beginning to scratch the surface. We believe larger budgets will be allocated towards Instagram marketing because consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service based on the content they're liking and sharing. Brands will also notice that it's the most authentic way to connect with consumers.
JW: If you will commit today to engage in the strategies discussed here to grow your brand on Instagram, I know you won't regret it!