Meet your audience where they are…
It’s a cardinal rule of marketing. Yet, we hadn’t been following it very well ourselves. The communications work we do for clients has spanned nearly every social media platform, but our own Polymath social presence, until recently, has had a glaring hole: not a single post on Instagram, the top social platform for brand engagement. As they say, the cobbler’s children have no shoes!
Launching an Instagram in 2018 isn’t exactly a remarkable, buzzworthy event (unless you’re Will Smith or the daughter of Serena Williams). Since we didn’t have a celebrity on hand, we needed to think creatively to stand out in a bold way in this crowded space.
In our launch, we wanted to utilize Instagram’s features to create a new engagement experience with our followers. Looking to flex our creative muscles, our team designed an interactive grid: multiple posts comprising one overall image when viewed on our account profile. The design told more of our story the more you engaged with it, utilizing video assets, animations, and carousel photos that spoke to the Polymath brand. Here, we share some of the lessons learned in this endeavor.
1. Inspire interaction through your creative.
How can you use your creative assets to inspire engagement from your audience? Take advantage of Instagram’s range of content options beyond still images: videos, carousel images, boomerangs, time-lapses, and more.
Your team may not always have unlimited access to designers, animators, film editors, and copywriters. Our own team—with these talents at hand—found limited resources to work with considering end-of-year deadlines for our partners. For the launch, a new reel wasn’t able to be created, an original animation was a dream, so we had to be creative with our interactive posts. We took advantage of Instagram’s carousel of images to showcase our team’s leadership, created a quick looping text animation, and spliced our new tile designs on top of existing Polymath video assets.
Tip: Want more motion-based content and graphics support without hiring an animator? Create your own animated gifs and cinemagraphs in Photoshop (and with limited Photoshop knowledge).
2. Utilize Instagram’s archival feature.
Instagram has now introduced the archive feature for both posts and stories, allowing you to effectively “save” posts and stories, along with their respective engagement and view counts. Use this feature to push the boundaries of creative freedom in your posts. Take more creative risks, knowing that you can just archive content that doesn’t perform as well—without permanently losing the data. Want to improve the appearance of your grid? Archive posts that don’t maintain the visual aesthetic you’re working towards. Have you posted content that is time-specific, no longer relevant, or too event-driven? Consider archiving if its value was short-lived, and its presence could be distracting in the future. One final benefit of archiving? You can keep engagements (likes, comments) visible for tracking analytics long after the post has been archived, or say, a campaign has ended.
3. Focus on earning a high-quality audience over quick numbers of casual followers.
Behind your ability to scale is the amount of high-quality, loyal fans that are engaging with you.
When attracting an audience on a new platform—such as email, web, social media—it’s often easier to focus on numbers to show initial success. But to do that with long-term results in mind, you’ll need high-quality, loyal fans to engage with you on that new platform. Are your most loyal fans and key brand advocates seeing your work, engaging with it, and sharing it? Beginning with a loyal and vocal critical mass will help your work be amplified more loudly, tested by forgiving fans, and set up for long-lasting meaningful engagement.
Are you considering expanding your social media presence, launching a new campaign, or looking for better engagement with your posts? Drop us a line, or tag us on your social media. We would love to cheer you on with creative and/or strategic support.
Follow Polymath on Instagram for more inspiration, creative work, and behind-the-scenes of Polymath.