There is something about Instagram that encourages 400 million users to open the app on a daily basis. It might be the medium’s unique simplicity. It may be the appealing quality of featuring easy content. Or the app’s layout appeal to the old-school enthusiast that is reminded of the Polaroid camera, and just a simpler way to capture and save moments. Double-tap on that. Whatever the allure, Instagram is unique compared to its counterparts like Facebook and Twitter, far more complex and multifunctional social networking sites. When asked what inspired him to launch the app, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said:

“People who spend their days creating — whether that be in technology or otherwise. I’m always in awe of people who are artists in their fields — people who understand that simply by taking ideas and translating them into reality, they’ve created value in the world.”

Content is at the heart of Instagram and it should be at the core of creating a successful Instagram marketing strategy.The first step is to decide what type of content fits your company’s goals and target audience. Do you want your products featured in your posts? Maybe you’d rather connect broader messages to your brand, such as family and community. Or perhaps you’d rather address the culture(s) in which your brand is developing. Of course you may include a variety of posts that showcase different content, but overall consistency works best and looks more professional. The first step is to evaluate brand status. For example, huge brands like Nike need little more than their all-star products to be featured on their Instagram. Less widely known brands, like Buffer, use a different strategy. They focus on user generated content, scenes from a “digital nomad’s lifestyle” and productivity/motivation content. Buffer, a social media management company, provides an example of linking content to broader messages that the audience may associate with brand identity. Depending on your goals and brand status, your posts may feature:

  • User generated content
  • Product demos / showcase
  • Culture focused (showing the human side of your company)
  • Fun / lighthearted
  • Customer stories
  • Get to know the team
  • Team member takeovers

No matter which type of content you decide to go for, it should always align with your audience and your goals. The good news is the versatility of Instagram allows for all of these kinds of posts. Instagram is an adjustable medium in that way allowing for short-form content as well as  relevant, long-form content. It’s your canvas and you are the artist.