How To Use Instagram Filters To Drive Up Your Engagement
Connecting with your followers on a personal level has never been easier. Instagram is still the go-to platform when it comes to engaging followers and growing your brand. Instagram has a vast number of tools you can use to redefine and market your brand with ease. According to data collected by Instagram:
- 90% of users follow a business,
- 50% are interested in a brand after they see ads for it, and
- 2 out of 3 surveyed Instagram users have reported that the social media platform has made interaction with brands easier and more accessible.
Instagram provides you with multiple tools to define your branding style, build your business, and engage directly with the consumer.
As with most social media platforms, Instagram is constantly evolving and updating its features and user database. As such, even though gaining relevance may be easy at first, staying relevant is the real task. Instagram users expect fresh content and it’s the brand’s responsibility to stay on top of this and provide them with the same. This is no cakewalk. With the changing algorithm, new features, and a myriad of filters to choose from, engaging with the customer also means staying ever-vigilant and up to date on new trends and audience preferences.
How to Drive Engagement Up on Instagram
According to a research study done by Mention, video posts garner twice as much engagement in terms of Instagram likes and comments as image posts. To stay on top of this shifting trend, savvy brands evolved their social media marketing strategy to involve more videos to stay relevant.
We’ve moved well beyond video posts. Instagram now has multiple features that brands can use to connect with their audience, like IGTV, Instagram Reels, Instagram Guides, Polls, Q&A stickers, and last but not least, filters. There are several ways in which you could use filters to drive up engagement on Instagram.
What are AR Filters?
Brands have been using Augmented Reality/ AR filters to build an interactive environment for their customers well before Instagram. For example, IKEA launched an AR marketing campaign in 2013 to digitally display furniture in the homes of customers. AR filters are an effective way to help the customer decide on a product by virtually trying it out for themselves. Before Instagram, there was no cost-effective or accessible way to do this. Now, brands can successfully create their own AR filters specifically designed to suit their product base on Instagram. This way, people interested in your brand can use your AR filter to interact with your products.
Instagram partnered up with Spark AR studio in 2019 and opened up the creation of AR filters to the public. Since then, Instagram filters have taken the social media platform by storm, with some filters going viral and getting well over 1 billion views. Brands are now opting to use this opportunity for their benefit, creating Instagram filters that highlight their products and drive their user engagement up. A prime example is NARS cosmetics, which created several filters that allow users to try different lipstick shades.
How Does it Work?
Brand marketers can create their own AR filters, share them on their stories, and have their followers try it out themselves. Followers can then also share these filters by posting them on their own stories, further broadening the market and driving up engagement. By using your filter on their stories, your followers are essentially acting as your brand ambassadors, opening doors for higher engagement and limitless reach. With Instagram being one of the top social media platforms for brand development and customer engagement, creating a good AR filter can do a lot. It attracts the attention of your followers, which can even allow it to go viral. This will get you more re-shares and encourage more users to engage with your content.
Brands should aim to create AR filters that allow followers to recreate their visual style and experience their product first-hand. Contrary to popular belief, Instagram filters aren’t that difficult to design. In fact, making an original, branded Instagram filter is actually easier than what a lot of people might think. And in today’s day and age, there’s never a short supply of creative individuals who are willing to help with the process. Here are a few tips you can use to get started.
1. Have a detailed creative brief.
Using AR filters can be invigorating. The Instagram AR technology itself is fun to use and easy to manipulate. Even if you’re just creating new filters to make the most out of the ‘wow’ factor, make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to build your brand in the process. Instagram filters can make a real impact when it comes to brand discovery and growth. Also, with the virality of filters being through the roof at the moment, there’s no time to waste. When you’re setting your creative brief, consider the following carefully:
Who are you targeting?
Determine your target market. Who do you want to appeal to? As with most market research, setting a target market from the get-go is important. Your target market is who you’re trying to attract. They’re the group of people you’re appealing to. These are the people who you’d want as customers to buy your products and engage with your brand. All future campaigns, including AR filters, will be catering to this group of people.
Be specific with your target market. It can’t just be ‘Instagram followers’. Which subset of Instagram followers in particular are you aiming to attract? Are you looking to attract new followers? Will you be reaching these new followers through sponsored ads or via your existing network of followers? Your aim is to capture the value that you want to provide your desired audience.
What is your objective?
What do you want to accomplish with this filter? Decide what you want the filter to do for you – whether it be creating brand awareness, driving up engagement, or conversions. Finding a clear objective will help you set a goal for the campaign – which will inadvertently also act as a guide for your team of creatives.
What’s the tone you want to amplify?
Are you looking to work off an existing tone already known to your audience, or are you branching out and experimenting with a new tone? What do you want people to feel when they’re using your filter? Be it excitement, joy, or intrigue, be clear on what vibe you want your filter to put down.
What’s your call to action?
How does your filter support your objective? What does it allow the user to accomplish? Is it an evergreen filter or will it be event-based? Which way do you want the camera lens to face? Will it be from a selfie angle or from the user’s perspective? Look at existing Instagram filters to get some inspiration and find what works for you.
What is your promotion strategy?
The easiest promotion strategy is to promote it on your own stories and highlights and encourage your followers to use and share the filters on theirs. You could also promote it using influencer marketing or ad spend. Using influencers to promote your filter can be a great way to track its effectiveness and stay on top of follower feedback.
2. Pick your team of creatives wisely.
You’ll most probably need to hire outside talent to actually create the AR filter. Talent is never in short supply – especially on freelance networks. This is why you need to have a comprehensive brief. The more comprehensive your brief, the more efficient your creative team will be in crafting you a stellar filter. Once you’ve found your designer, collaborate on the specifics of the filter.
3. Analyse the results.
This is the part that determines whether you’ve accomplished what you set out to do in your creative brief. Measure your efforts to understand your audience patterns and the overall success of the AR campaign. Use what you learned to understand how you can optimize the Instagram filter and make it even better.
Instagram has valuable insight tools that track your filter’s shares, impressions, and captures. Use this to understand how your audience is interacting with your filter. Make sure you understand how your filter is doing in the social media world. This will also give you an understanding of what your next steps should be. Make your filter a part of the ongoing effort to engage and interact with your audience.
Your Instagram journey is never over. The app is constantly optimizing its user interface and introducing new marketing tools and features. You can tap into these new features and use them to grow your business and build your brand. Since we live in the age of the internet, it’s wise to give your Instagram page the same consideration as a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Your Instagram identity is an ever-growing and evolving enterprise. Instagram connects your business to the world and makes it more accessible to millions of people.
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