[ContentMarketingInstitute] How to Engineer Your Brand’s Instagram Success Story

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On this subject, here is an article about Content Marketing & Instagram: Think your business has what it takes to become influential on Instagram? It could all depend on your ability to build a relevant and passion-driven story around the messages you share there.

On the surface, content marketing on Instagram seems straightforward: Create a profile and post your business’s best visual content assets with a caption and a strong call to action. If what you’re sharing is interesting and useful, your brand’s presence helps nurture those photo fans into a loyal band of engaged followers.

But things get a lot harder when your goal is to sustain engagement over the long term, scale your brand’s reach exponentially, and use your influence to drive more meaningful consumer actions. In this regard, Instagram can be a deceptively challenging media platform to master.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of proof that powerful content brands can be built on the backs of the ’Gram community (just ask @kendalljenner). If you don’t have the social cachet of the Family K, there’s another path to follow: Craft compelling stories for your posts, then take advantage of a few core content marketing principles to propel your growth.

Just ask Wally Koval, creator of the popular AccidentallyWesAnderson (AWA) Instagram account (and former member of the CMI sales team). Wally built AWA into a thriving side business that takes him across the globe in search of uniquely stylized imagery to share with his audience. But before he became an Insta-success, he started with a simple expression of his love for the eponymous filmmaker’s signature visual brand.

In his presentation at CMWorld 2019, Wally described the journey that took him from passionate film fan to verified Instagram influencer with over 822,000 followers. While his Instagram success started with a personal account, his experience of building a story (and an audience) around his vision and using it to attract brand partnerships holds important lessons for content marketers.

Lesson 1: Tell the (text) story behind the (visual) story

AWA began with Wally sharing photos that recall the visual style found in nearly every Wes Anderson film. It’s a fun, eye-catching concept, but it’s not exactly a marketable one (unless you happen to be Mr. Anderson).

Realizing any initial attention could quickly slip away if he didn’t offer a unique spin, Wally turned each curated photo-driven post into a mini-story by adding context to each image. This text might include the location’s history, background on the artistic subject matter, or biographic information on the original photographer. He also detailed why the image spoke to him.

Inserting stories in his Instagram updates helped forge an enduring association between Anderson’s stylized imagery and Wally’s own burgeoning content brand, which rocketed him into new levels of influence and engagement among the Instagram masses. For example, his earliest posts attracted a few hundred “hearts.” But as he incorporated behind-the-scenes details and personal anecdotes, the views rapidly climbed well into the thousands and beyond.

Brand POV

Audiences want more than random images disconnected from your brand experience; they want to derive meaning, resonance, and a reliable experience from the content you share. By building a signature theme or relatable thread around your brand’s Instagram offerings, you deliver something they can more easily recall, internalize, and align with what’s most interesting to them.

For example, National Geographic extends its brand legacy of enabling audiences to experience the beauty of the natural world, while reinforcing its views on the critical importance of nature conservation.

Yet, in this ongoing Instagram content campaign, Cheerios eschews fancy photography in favor of personalized, text-based posts on a simple, brand-appropriate colored background. The content may be simple, but brand fans can instantly recognize them on point thanks to Cheerios’ familiar “#GoodGoesAround” tagline.

TIP: Prioritize your hashtags to build relevant communities around your content. While you technically can use up to 30 hashtags to maximize your exposure to new fan communities, Wally says pursuing too many audiences at once will dilute your content’s impact and diminish returns. He recommends aiming for five to 10 of the most relevant hashtags – including two or three unique to your brand.

Lesson 2: Empower others to take part in your experience

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