People and brands alike use Instagram to share beautiful images, revealing their aesthetic and informal sides. Instagram campaigns and posts by brands do not directly drive website traffic or online retail. In fact, they do not feature calls to action in the traditional sense.
In the recent webinar “The Success of Visual Brands: How to Measure the Value of Instagram,” Mike Kurtz, Mitch Brooks, and I discuss the challenges and opportunities for brands to engage with consumers on Instagram. Without direct calls to action and links driving web traffic, how should brands think about and measure the value of Instagram?
As a visual social channel, Instagram provides a unique opportunity for brands to share beautiful images in way that feels seamless with consumer-generated content. Without sweepstakes or a direct path to retail websites, Instagram provides brands with an opportunity to delight consumers with aesthetics alone.
With artistic images and backstage views, brands can join the conversations of their audience and consumers in unobtrusive, creative ways. Using popular user-generated hashtags, regrams, and images with a similar look and feel to consumers’ images, brands build enthusiasm for the brand and community around brands and events. Brands succeed when they create a visual experience that sticks with consumers after they leave Instagram, inspiring action after they have left the photo-sharing app.
The realness and stickiness demanded by Instagram requires sophisticated understanding of consumers and the voice and trends forged by real people on Instagram. That’s why Crimson Hexagon built Instagram analysis into our ForSight social media analytics platform in a way that illuminates the tone and substance of the conversation, in addition to measuring hashtags.
During our roundtable discussion about the success of visual brands on Instagram, we examine the conversation about J.Crew and the ways in which ForSight’s Instagram analysis offers accurate campaign benchmarking and unique insight into the themes, topics, and words of consumers’ conversations about brands.
With current and granular understandings of the consumer conversation, brands can create seamless, successful engagement with consumers, which is the main and special objective of brands on Instagram.
J.Crew on Instagram
I used ForSight’s new Instagram hashtag analysis to look at captions and comments that use three hashtags: #JCrew, #JCrewAddict, and #JCrewStyle. I analyzed the number and contents of Instagram captions and comments using any of the three hashtags.
First, I used the BrightView opinion analysis algorithm to sort the Instagram captions and comments into two categories: on-brand posts and irrelevant posts. The irrelevant posts consisted of people reselling their clothing and jewelry. Applying the categorization of a small set of hand-coded posts to the full set of 71,000 posts, I found that 25% of posts represent off-topic conversation and 75% represent on-topic conversation about J.Crew.
Various tools enable marketers to count hashtags and other metrics on Instagram. However, these counts may be misleading, including noise and off-brand conversation. Using BrightView, we filter out the noise and focus the rest of the analysis on brand-relevant posts about J.Crew.
Using BrightView to identify on-topic posts offers accurate measurement for campaign benchmarking, and ForSight’s text visualizations of Instagram captions and comments point toward further marketing action, including campaign content and message creation and sharing strategy.
This topic wheel represents the themes and sub-themes of relevant conversation about J.Crew fashion pictures and selfies on Instagram. As the time frame of the analysis was May 2014, the conversation focused on spring and summer fashion. The popular #OOTD (outfit of the day) hashtag appears, along with J.Crew and “style” and “fun.”
When we visualize how themes of conversation relate to each other in a network of terms and phrases, we see three main topics emerge: the concept of “cute,” J.Crew and #OOTD, and men’s fashion. These text visualizations point the way for brands to create visual and text experiences on Instagram both blend in with consumer conversations and stand out as on-trend, beautiful representations of brands.