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How To Promote Non-Visual Brands On Instagram


Travel, fashion, cosmetics, fitness: what do these industries have in common? They all thrive on Instagram. Lending itself to images and videos exclusively, the highly visual platform attracts users and visual brands alike.  Conversely, non-visual brands, like insurance, software, and other similarly abstract brands can struggle with Instagram as a channel. But with the right tactics and goals, those underserved industries can also thrive on Instagram. 

The Key to Telling a Tangible Story 

It is easier for a fashion or sporting goods company to think and decide what type of content to post. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for non-visual brands to do the same. Ultimately, it boils down to the emotional connection users should be fostering with your brand. Even for the most abstract industries, like insurance, forging an emotional connection with customers is critical. Instagram can be instrumental to that. 

For example, pet insurance company Trupanion helps protect their customers’ best fuzzy friends. Naturally, showcasing people and their pets who are insured by Trupanion performs well on Instagram. Ultimately, Trupanion is building on the emotional justification behind the brand. Insurance itself is seldom emotionally charged, but keeping one’s pet healthy often is emotionally compelling. 

Building that emotional connection with your brand is key. And even if visuals don’t come naturally for your brand, there are tactics you can employ to grow on Instagram.

Use Contests to Engage your Customers & Community

Regardless of your industry, contests can boost engagement and drive brand loyalty. Even if it’s partnering with a brand that is slightly more visual, a contest can go a long way in jumpstarting your Instagram presence. For example, Yakima, a utility rack company creates contests and campaigns to create an emotional connection between their roof racks and the destinations people travel to with them. 

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Yakima rewards its customers for sharing content by partnering with other meaningful brands for contests and giveaways.

With contests, Yakima is able to drive engagement and brand loyalty – but they also receive permissioned user-generated content (UGC) through the contest, which they can later use as content in their Instagram campaigns.

User-Generated Content to Showcase Customer Testimonials

UGC can be a powerful tool to create a compelling emotional connection on Instagram. UGC can help your brand appear more personable, human, and relatable. It can also inspire customers to submit more UGC to your brand for a chance to be featured: a win-win for your brand.

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Chemical Guys car cleaning products are often featured alongside visually compelling UGC to boost engagement with each product and increase sales from Instagram images.

Remember, your customers are a scalable content resource: if they’re engaged, they’ll love to share content with your brand. If they see others doing it, they’ll be more inspired to share. And simply being featured is often enough of a prize for those customers.

Work with Influencers Relevant to your Audience

Growing your audience and creating visual content should be a collaborative experience. Relying on the broader network of content creators on Instagram can go a long way in building a brand connection. Influencers can help recommend your brand in subtle but effective ways to highly engaged users. With the right influencer marketing software, you can find the best influencers relevant to your audience – and build compelling shared campaigns.

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Trupanion showcases pet-fluencer content for an emotionally compelling angle on their Instagram.

Trupanion uses influencers to build better brand affinity and create connections with other pet parents looking to create the best health plan for their pets.

Start Story Poll to Create a Buzz

If you’re not sure where to start, you can always try asking your audience. Creating a poll within your Instagram story asking users to answer trivia about the brand, share their favorite story with the brand, or simply select what type of content they’d like to see more of can go a long way.

Gone are the days of overly formal brand interactions on social channels. Ask your audience informally and get better engagement and quicker responses.

Instagram for All

Behind every visual on Instagram is an emotional connection – whether funny, compassionate, or otherwise evocative, your images should go beyond the ‘what’ your company does, and focus on the ‘why’ it truly matters to the customer. Ultimately, the best brand connections are forged when the logical side of a purchase decision is underscored by the emotional side. 

Special thanks to our friends at Pixlee for their insights on this topic.
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