media update’s Nikita Geldenhuys asked the teams behind these Instagram accounts to share their vision for the accounts and what they consider as the main secret to success on Instagram.

Stories are powerful – Standard Bank’s Instagram

“Understanding that our audience on Instagram has an appetite for authentic, story-driven content informs not just the type of content we post on Instagram, but also informed the look and feel of the content,” says Atiyya Karodia, social media manager at NATIVE VML, whose team creates campaigns for Standard Bank’s Instagram account.

The vision behind the 12 000 follower-strong account is to build a community of storytellers, says Karodia. Standard Bank’s Instagram is filled with portraits of artists, colourful South Africans and everyday ‘heroes’. Images are often overlaid with text to share quotes, hashtags, or campaign messages.

According to Karodia, the emphasis of the content is more on building brand love than on selling products. “For any brand that sells, the challenge is rooted in the fact that organic content on Instagram cannot click out to a product page, and that as a financial services brand, selling on the platform is not the easiest to do,” she adds.

“By being able to build brand love, we’re not only able to understand our audience better, but we get to engage our audience in a much more meaningful way.”

For Karodia, understanding the audience is just one part of making a success of a brand’s Instagram. Her advice is that marketers also understand the platform and “then understand where your brand’s purpose naturally intersects with what your audience’s content appetite is”.  

Consistency is key – the Jose Cuervo Instagram account

This Instagram account has been up and running for the last four years. Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize took over the reins just over a year ago to define a consistent look and feel for the account. The team also manages the community and rolls out campaigns on the platform.

The plan with Jose Cuervo’s Instagram account is to create a high quality, yet laid back look and feel, explains Saatchi & Saatchi Synergize MD Jason Smit. “We believe it accurately reflects the ethos of the brand: fun, a little bit of rebelliousness, with the focus always being the product people know and love,” he explains.

Consistency is key for the account, says Smit. “One key aspect of most successful accounts is consistency. People expect things from brand accounts, so you have to make sure you give that to them.”

His advice? Identify your niche and stick to it.

Build personal bonds – Amarula on Instagram

Liquorice launched Amarula’s Instagram account two months ago in May 2017. The account features elephants, nature scenes, and the Amarula product in striking images and videos.

Lloyd Wybrow, head of social media at Liquorice, explains that the content his team posts aims to inspire a personal bond between Amarula’s audience and its cause: elephant conservation; highlighting key awareness days such as World Elephant Day happening on 12 August.

“The vision behind the account is to be the curator of African heritage,” says Wybrow. “Through owned content and content collaboration with Instagrammers across Africa, the idea is to showcase Africa’s diversity, vibrancy, its people, and places – as well as Amarula’s commitment to elephant conservation, which is spearheaded by the Amarula Trust Platform and through the soon-to-be-launched #Don’tLetThemDisappear campaign.”

The Liquorice team spent several months preparing for the account’s launch. They spent much of this time creating a strong strategy, with the goal of gaining brand loyalty and consumption. For Wybrow, this is one of the secrets to running a successful Instagram account: “You need to have a clear vision and strategy, consistent frequency, familiarity with your audience, and a clear visual style that is unique to your brand.”

These Instagram accounts illustrate the potential of Instagram as a creative social media marketing platform. Consistency, a focus on storytelling, and connecting audiences with causes are three powerful ways to make the most of Instagram.

Posts should reflect your brand’s passion – Yuppiechef’s Instagram

Instagram plays a role in keeping Yuppiechef top of mind, especially since the online retailer has no physical presence.

The company’s marketing manager, Jamie Munro, explains that Yuppiechef’s Instagram followers are often those that enjoy cooking or entertaining. “Our content serves to inspire your next dish, and showcase the most beautiful, high-quality things we can find for your kitchen and home.”

Munro and her team use the account to share the brand’s passion for kitchen tools and to reveal life behind the scenes at Yuppiechef. Her advice to brands using Instagram is not to fall into a trap of posting on a schedule for the sake of it. “We aim to only post things we genuinely feel excited about sharing, even if it means doing fewer yet more impactful posts.”

Instagram also offers publishers the opportunity to share the news they often don’t get to distribute on their digital or print publications. Read how one community newspaper is taking on Instagram in our article, How the Standerton Advertiser is experimenting with Instagram.