An Instagram presence is a must for every brand in today’s time. Every brand keeps the platform on their marketing radar because let us be honest it’s the way to attract loyal customers. 

However, creating sales-focused content isn’t enough to get followers on Instagram. To really tap into the power of this social media, branded content should focus on all three stages of the sales funnel – awareness, consideration and purchase. So, how does a brand do that? 

How to generate branded content on Instagram?

We analysed the Instagram pages of some of the top brands with the most effective social media strategies. Then compiled a list of 5 tips to help you make the most of branded content

Create collaboration posts

Instagram recently launched a feature via which two accounts can upload a collaborative post. This post or Reel is visible on the main feed of both accounts. 

Whenever you collaborate with an influencer, ask them to send you the collaboration invite when they create a post focusing on your product or service. 

Such posts will appear on your account. At the same time, the influencer’s audiences will see your name as the co-author, which expands your brand’s exposure. 

Another option is using the paid media partnership feature on Instagram. Go to Business in Settings and then click on Branded Content. Turn on the “Required Approval” option. Now, creators can send you the “Paid Partnership” tag request for their posts. This is the best method to increase visibility and reach without violating ASCI guidelines

Encourage user-generated content

The best way to get organic followers (hands down) is through user-generated content. However, curating quality UGC is not an easy task. That said, brands can:

  • Create fun challenges and encourage people to participate. 
  • Make a unique hashtag for these challenges. 
  • Ask users to use the hashtag as well as tag your brand’s page in the challenge post. 

Many music labels are using this trick to make their songs viral. They organise dance challenges, asking users to recreate the hook step of the song and post it on Instagram. 

In return, they provide incentives like sharing the best video on their page. It creates a win-win situation. People get exposure and the brand goes viral. Think Gaana creating HotShots.

However, this strategy works best if you are a popular brand that many people already know. If your brand is comparatively new, keep a prize for winners. It can be goodies or monetary incentives. 

Awareness campaigns are also very effective for encouraging organic content creation. The #RedCupContest of Starbucks and #IHackedLife by Lenovo are two very successful examples of user-generated content. 

Stay up-to-date on your content

People tend to share content related to current affairs or trending topics. Instagram too decides the quality of content based on how many people are sharing, liking, and commenting on it. 

So, when more people share your topical posts, it not only reaches their followers, but Instagram also recommends them to more users. This increases the popularity of the brand. 

Here’s how you can create up-to-date content: 

  • Create content for all major festivals and events

Use festivals like Women’s Day and Diwali to promote a particular product, special sale, or discount codes. Also, try to look for uncommon events and festivals happening around the world, such as World Sleep Day or National Pizza Day. These non-mainstream events fascinate people and generate curiosity amongst them, which eventually leads to more comments and likes for your page. 

  • Show support for social causes

Followers turn into loyal customers when they identify with your brand. So, if anything major is happening around the world, like a women’s march or an LGBTQ+ rights protest, extend support through your content. It shows that your brand contributes towards society’s betterment and attracts the attention of people. When you partner with the right creators, they really can change the world for the better.

  • Play with the current trends

Creating content on trending topics gets your brand instant attention. The sooner you tap into them, the more engagement you will get. This is because trends don’t stay relevant for long. Especially in the present scenario, most trends don’t even last a week. It’s a small window to create content, but turnover in terms of engagement is high. 

Utilise all branded content types 

Instagram keeps on launching new features to increase the quality of content as well as engage more people. It’s why it branched from static posts to videos to Reels. Each type of content appeals to a different section of the audience. 

So, when producing branded content, use as many formats as possible. Here’s are some tips for creating quality content in various categories: 

  1. Static Posts: Click quality pictures, keeping the main motive, message, or product in focus. Use captions to describe your intent behind the post. 
  2. Stories: Establish a personal connection with your customers using Instagram stories. Show behind-the-scenes pictures and videos, how you spend your day at your workshop, any upcoming project of the brand, etc. These updates help in building trust. 
  3. Reels: Create Reels that you think customers will share more. For example, problem-solving or “hack” reels get more views. 
  4. Grid Videos: These videos should engage people within the first few seconds. Start by stating a problem or hypothesis that your customers often face. Then go on to explain how your brand “solves” it. 

For some inspiration on creating different types of Instagram Ads, swing by here.

Always narrate a story in your branded content

People scroll through thousands of pages of content every day. So naturally, they don’t retain all they see. For brands, that means low recall. Also, most people use Instagram for entertainment. If you just talk about brand, product or service features, it won’t have an impact. 

On the other hand, if you connect your brand or product to an emotion and convey it through a story, users will pay attention. The story should be relatable and should catch the viewers’ attention within the first 10 seconds. It could be funny, emotional, or informational, depending upon what reaction you want to incite amongst the audience. 

Keep branded content true to your voice

Growing your reach through branded content is not a herculean task. But, yes, it has to stay true to your brand values and voice. Stick to it and the strategy pays in spades. Think Zomato’s light-hearted approach and frequent updates on current affairs with a twist of humour. Or Tinder’s heartfelt love stories of people from different backgrounds.