There’s a growing trend towards investing in customer retention as the top priority, and I’m all in favor of it.
Loyal customers spend more, complain less, respond more positively to marketing materials, and drive more referrals — all the stats are out there if you care to look. Customer churn is a blight on consistent operation, and strangers are hard to please.
Hold on a second, you might think… doesn’t this undermine the point of this entire piece? Well, no, not really – and I bring this up for a good reason, which is that no matter how happy you make your customers (how hard you try to support them, and how generously you reward them), you’ll never have a 100% retention rate. You’ll never even come close.
Customers can get better introductory offers elsewhere. They can opt to support brands that better represent their personal values. They can simply be fickle and decide to change things. You can do everything right and still see someone leave. So while you do need to fight hard to keep old customers, you also need a great strategy for winning new customers.
With 2020 already here, you might be wondering how you’re going to tempt new customers with winter starting to wane. Discounts? SEO? Door-to-door campaigning? Forget those: it’s time for Instagram video. In this piece, we’re going to look at how you can use it as your chief weapon for 2020.
Sounds good? Let’s dive right in!
Short-form Instagram videos typically autoplay when mobile users scroll past them, and the benefits of that are hard to overstate.
Your USP is key for finding new customers – you need to inform people about what makes you special as promptly as you can – and if you can convey it within 60 seconds (the current limit for regular profile videos) with a punchy opening and the right hashtags in tow, you can really get somewhere.Your USP is key for finding new customers - you need to inform people about what makes you special as promptly as you can - and if you can convey it within 60 seconds Click To Tweet
Take Oreo, for example. It’s renowned for its minimalist-creative style, something echoed through much of its marketing. This extends to its Instagram videos too, as in this example below:
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It’s simple, unique, and exemplifies Oreo’s bright-eyed approach to the world – a true embodiment of its USP. Crucially, it also taps into Instagram’s visual and creative vibe. It sits natively amongst the other aesthetically-pleasing content on the platform, helping its USP resonate with Oreo customers in a way that is organic and natural too.
Maybe you think of Instagram as a place for photos, with space for the occasional short clip, but it’s changed significantly since first reaching mainstream appeal – and these days it boasts a surprisingly-wide range of video options. That doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a YouTube competitor or anything like that, but it does mean that content creators can actually focus on video as the main ingredient of their Instagram posting if they think it’s worthwhile.
Look at Netflix, for instance. Naturally, the brand uses video posts to showcase film and TV trailers on its feed. That is a given for a video streaming service. But Netflix also embraces IGTV too, albeit with a much more creative approach.
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For instance, one of the brand’s first IGTV videos featured the actor Cole Sprouse eating a hamburger for an hour. Unusual, certainly, but unique, and an approach that proved highly popular – the video has garnered over 1,000,000 views.
Yes, it’s silly and simple. But it shows Netflix’s human side, while the native feed videos showcase its various media offerings. Consequently, it’s a fine example of how Instagram’s different video hosting options offer you a flexible way to connect with customers in 2020.
Coupled with the other advantages of the platform that we’re going to look at shortly, and you have a very compelling promotional package through which you can achieve a great deal. And since video is prime material for cross-channel distribution, it can also be used very effectively as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign. Now, let’s consider the broader benefits.
Shoppers today don’t just want to buy from the retailers with the best prices or the shiniest products. They want to feel that their money is going towards companies that deserve it: companies with personality, self-awareness, and excellent customer service. So how do you convince people that your company can offer those things? It’s simple: you tell your story.
For an example of this strategy in play, look no further than Nike. The activewear brand is renowned for its use of story in its marketing, particularly through the exploration of individuals in the industry (Colin Kaepernick, for example).
Take this recent post about Nike Helden, its campaign to celebrate German athletes whose efforts and achievements are visible both on and off the track.
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Helden features a new generation of German athletes, who work hard on and off the pitch, on the track and in their communities. They don?t just focus on the win, they pave the way for others and push culture in a positive direction. ? We believe in a world in which everyone can become a hero, leveraging the powerful platform sport provides to those who speak up. ? You never do it just for yourself. (Du tust es nie nur für dich.) #justdoit
Scored with David Bowie’s Heroes, it’s a stirring clip that gives the viewer chills. But above all, it tells the Nike story through a visual narrative. As the caption highlights, “[Nike] believe[s] in a world in which everyone can become a hero, leveraging the powerful platform sport provides to those who speak up.”
This is a stellar piece of video content that showcases Nike’s brand story in such a way that draws customers towards them, not because of their product, but because of who they are.
So how can your brand embrace brand storytelling on Instagram through video? Think about the following: why your company was formed, how it grew, facing and overcoming challenges along the way, how it reached its current level of success, and where it plans to go next. Whether it’s a simplified tale trimmed to fit 60 seconds or a deep dive within IGTV’s more generous 60-minute limit, one superb video about your brand can win you a lot of support.
There’s one core factor that I pointedly left out when it comes to companies deserving business, all because it warranted its own section – and that’s business ethics. In a time of overwhelming concern about environmental and economic sustainability, companies are expected to show that they’re not only aware of those issues but are also seriously invested in addressing them.
Handily, video is perfect for doing this: just one great talking-heads piece running through your brand’s code of conduct can seriously bolster your popular perception (you could combine the video with a copy of that document inside an Instagram story).
Patagonia is probably the best example of a brand showcasing ethical consumerism on Instagram. Renowned for its eco-friendly emphasis, Patagonia has taken huge steps in its bid to limit its impact on the planet, even going so far as to ask its customers not to buy its products if they don’t need them.#Patagonia is probably the best example of a brand showcasing ethical consumerism on Instagram. Click To Tweet
Check out this Instagram video from the brand:
This simple video clearly and concisely explains Patagonia’s Wornwear Recrafted line, apparel made from other, recycled clothes. Short, simple, and easily digestible, it perfectly communicates Patagonia’s ethical commitments in a way that suits the platform.
Lastly, we should touch upon the usefulness of live video, because it’s outstanding for cultivating the all-important engagement that drives brand growth. It also provides a great contrast: in other instances, you have glossy videos with high production values, but live video is raw, choppy, and fundamentally unpredictable. This makes it feel more authentic and transparent.
By using Instagram Live (a feature of Instagram Stories), you can stream live video to your followers and interact with them as you do so. Why not take advantage of that? You could show some behind-the-scenes footage of how your business runs, making it clear that your company isn’t some kind of cold untouchable monolith – or run a live workshop in your subject area, demonstrating your expertise and offering value that can bring in new followers.By using Instagram Live (a feature of Instagram Stories), you can stream live video to your followers and interact with them as you do so. Why not take advantage of that? Click To Tweet
Grazia UK are particularly adept at using Instagram Live to drive engagement and connect with its audience. The women’s publisher regularly hosts debates from its London HQ and streams them live on Instagram.
The debates cover everything from women’s social issues to Brexit, and garner hundreds of thousands of views. Their followers can even contribute their own questions and opinions, with the presenters offering responses there and then.
Wrapping up, Instagram video now offers both the exceptional reach of the platform in general and enough flexibility to get creative (short-form videos, long-form videos, and live video, with each type viable for inclusion in a rich Instagram story). Because it’s ideal for storytelling, showing personality, and conveying your USP, it could be exactly what you need to start bringing in new customers once 2020 gets underway.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a writer for Micro Startups, your online destination for everything startup. She’s passionate about hard-working solopreneurs and SMEs making waves in the business world. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup and charity insights from top experts around the globe @getmicrostarted.
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