In a world that relies heavily on social media to connect and communicate, there is surprisingly constant innovation taking place behind the social media networks to advance and enhance performance for the platform and the user. As a result, each time a new social platform releases or updates are made to an existing network, it begs the question: “Is this right for my business?” When Instagram launched 10 years ago, that answer probably would have been “No”. However, in the 10 years since its launch, things have certainly changed. In fact, many of Instagram’s features are designed specifically with business in mind, so not taking the opportunity to join the conversation can only hurt you.
Now, Instagram is a huge part of most of our daily lives; whether you’re an Instagram lurker or an everyday post-er, I would be willing to bet you spend a decent amount of time on this app! With that being said, you might be wondering how to utilize this platform to gain visibility for your business?
While discussing the importance of their presence on Instagram to our clients over the years, we've noticed that there were some misconceptions about WHY it’s important for business, especially in the fresh produce industry to be present on Instagram so we intend to set the record straight in this blog post.
Why Instagram is important for Fresh Produce brands:
Fresh Produce Inspires
We know this to be true. If you happened to listen to the Fresh Summit session, “Selling A Healthier You! Marketing the Benefits of Fresh Floral and Produce”, you heard the discussion around how the beauty and flavors that fresh produce provides can have an emotional impact on our bodies. Eating is innately an emotional experience, and Instagram is the perfect vessel to showcase the beauty of our products to inspire people to make healthier choices.
Instagram has become the new “Google Search”
With the growing popularity of Instagram, the app has become almost synonymous with a Google search. When introduced to a new brand, many Millennials and Gen-Zers often look to Instagram to provide a connection and information on a daily basis. This is why it is extremely important for your Instagram profile to be ready to answer questions and inspire quickly when a consumer conducts a search and finds you.
To gain approval from Millennial and Gen Z audiences, specifically, it is extremely important that your Instagram look aesthetically pleasing. About 70% of Gen-Zers say that Instagram is their preferred method of engagement with brands, often times because the ease of use and heavy visuals allow them to get to know the brand personality.
Misconceptions about Instagram:
Instagram Should be a Top Driver of Sales
Over the last few years, Instagram has made several updates that are destined to help businesses use Instagram to drive sales, such as Instagram shopping. Due to the nature of the fresh produce industry, this isn’t as seamless of a connection as it is for fashion because of the perishability of our products and the lack of e-commerce deployment in our space. This is something that fresh produce industry brands must understand when they decide to be present on Instagram. If you are looking for a great example of using Instagram Shopping to increase sales, Truff Hot Sauce is a CPG brand that does this very well! Although it isn't always feasible for fresh produce brands to take advantage of this, there are still ways to take advantage of Instagram even if it doesn't tie directly to sales, such as to using photography to inspire, create brand loyalty and identify purchase intent.
Instagram Should be My Top Driver of Website Traffic
Instagram was not created to drive traffic to websites. The majority of Instagram users are accessing the app via their phone vs. on their desktop, which makes enticing people to exit the Instagram app and visit your website that much more challenging! Although Instagram has made updates to add an in-app browser, users are still required to "visit the link in our Instagram bio" in order to visit your website. Instagram has many perks, but if you are looking to drive large amounts of traffic, Facebook is likely to be more successful.
How to combat misconceptions:
Continue to build brand loyalty
As marketers, we know that as you build brand loyalty, customers will continue to buy from you. For example, when the Coronavirus began to affect shopping habits and created mass bulk buys, most people were not worried about the brands they were buying, or frankly the types of food that they were buying. However, brands who had already built brand loyalty, saw great results in repeat customers and had many opportunities to engage with them on Instagram.
In April 2020, we hosted a "Back to Basics" promotion for California Giant Berry Farms that was meant to help our audience adjust to their new normal while providing simple ways to enjoy meals at home and use what they may already have stocked in their cabinets. By capitalizing on this we not only gained hundreds of new Instagram followers, we also had a 468% increase in Instagram engagements. This is an example of how brands who were active on Instagram not only continued to serve their current audience, we actually saw them grow and captivate new audiences.
Offer helpful applications
People come to Instagram for beautiful photos, but they also come to be inspired. If you can use Instagram to inspire your audience as well as make their lives easier, they are more likely to come back to you again. For example, with many parents working from home, California Giant shared ideas to help with school AND feed the whole family, including snacking ideas, easy additions to make their meals more healthy and filling. Another idea is to share how to use food to make the most of holidays as they likely won’t be celebrated the same this year. These are all things that help you to develop a personal relationship with your customer, and after interacting with you on Instagram and remembering all the helpful tips they received, they are much more likely to seek out your product or add it to their cart when they see it in the store!
Use a "Link in Bio" software
As explained above, Instagram has never been the most successful platform when it comes to driving website traffic and there is a good reason why. A large part of this reality is due to the fact that there is only one spot to add a singular link to your website, blog or desired location in your bio. Ten years ago this was a challenge for brands and even still is today! That being said, there are now different software options that you can use to store all of your links in a sleek and user-friendly way, at DMA we use Lnk.bio. Here is an example of our client, California Giant.
Overall, it’s important to understand what Instagram can do to elevate your brand and the important role it plays in building brand loyalty with your customers. Possibly even more importantly, it is crucial to understand what you are missing out on if you decide not to invest in Instagram for your business.
We'd love to discuss your Instagram strategy, so let's hop on a free consultation to strategize your next steps to leverage this vital platform!