Sunday, 26 January 2014

With social media on the forefront of many people's lives these days, it's a great tool for any business to connect with their customer. I love to use Instagram, as I find looking at a picture is more stimulating and interesting most of the time then certain text-only tweets (especially generic ones from some brands and companies). It appears I'm not alone in this, as a study recently revealed that tweets with images have 5 times more engagement rate than tweets with just text*, which is not surprising in the slightest to me.

I also think Instagram is more personal. You know the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words"? It has never been more accurate in this day and age of digital marketing. If you want people to sit up and take notice of you or your brand, you have to make them want to see you all the time. If I follow a brand on Instagram that only posts still images of their own products, I'd probably pretty quickly unfollow them. Yes I'll follow a brand if I like them, but I come on Instagram to be inspired by images about fashion, styling, interiors, food, travel and life (and maybe the occasional puppy), not to be the focus of pushy product campaigns.

@triangl_swimwear on Instagram

In my opinion, one of the strongest ways a brand can utilise image based social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest is by having a good mix of brand imagery and images based on their consumers lifestyle and what the consumers would be interested in. For example, if you're a company that sells kitchenware and crockery, please don't just post pictures of your pieces! I'd want to see a mix of beautiful food photography, inspirational table lay outs and even amazing kitchen interiors, as well as your pots and pans! It goes without saying, as a brand you wouldn't want to actively promote a competitor, but posting unbranded lifestyle images that your product could easily sit alongside in your consumers lifestyle will make your page look more whole and cohesive. You are selling the life alongside your product too.

@triangl_swimwear on Instagram

A great example of this lifestyle/product mix is by Australian swimwear company Triangl Swimwear. Being a 21 year old girl from the south coast beaches of England, swimwear is something I'm interested in. However, I would never have known about Triangl without Instagram. Their constant fusion of their own swimwear and gorgeous beach shots, sunsets and palm trees are what made me click the follow button originally (mainly because I need pictures of the beach to keep me going whenever I'm at university and over 100 miles away from the nearest stretch of ocean).

Triangl Swimwear's refreshing mix of brand and lifestyle images

I got in touch with Triangl regarding their open minded take on social media and managed to get a lovely reply from one of the co-owners Erin Deering...
"I do firmly believe that social media branding and marketing, at least for our company's core beliefs, should be a mixture of all of the things we represent. Triangl isn't just swimwear- it's fun, it's fashion, it's an entire lifestyle. We strive to utilize social media outlets to express our love of fashion and to make a definitive statement about our brand and who we are. This means keeping it fresh and current, not just with our products, but with other ideas and imagery that we feel coincides and represents our Triangl."
Boasting an impressive following of over 46,000, I soon realised that they've hit the nail on the head. I'm sure many people began following Triangl's IG account without realising they were a brand (just like I did), because they wanted to see the beautiful pictures they were posting that epitomised their brand. However, now I know who they are, I have still actively chosen to follow and be connected with this brand, because of the refreshing way they use their account. When I started talking about Triangl to some girl friends, they all knew the brand and also loved their swimwear as well as their account. I think that is pretty good going for a company on the other side of the planet.

* Twitter engagement study via Shift Newsroom.

N.B. This article is based on my opinion of what I like to see in a social media account, as a consumer. I am not condemning any other use of brand's social media accounts, from what I have stated above.


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