India has a total of 230.25 million Instagram users, which is the largest audience base of the platform in the world as per reports. Altogether, it has got about 1.21 billion monthly active users, which means that India has about 28% of the world’s total Instagram users. This is a huge number for marketers and the right content strategy can be very helpful for them to tap into it.
Episode 5 of the BuzzInContent Conversations Season 2 delved deep into the nitty-gritty of creating a successful Instagram content strategy with Chhavi Mittal, Co-Founder and Content Creator, Shitty Ideas Trending; Shashank Mehta, Founder and CEO, The Whole Truth Foods; Shradha Agarwal, CEO and Co-Founder, Grapes and Ankit Chhabra, Channel Lead of Pocket Aces’ food content platform Gobble.
While the four panellists emphasised cracking the code for Instagram success, how to catch the pulse of the audience, creating engaging content and what ticks as good content on Instagram, they also described how their respective brands focus on the growth of organic reach on the platform.
Starting the discussion, Shashank Mehta, Founder and CEO, of The Whole Truth Foods, said, “Instagram has been at the forefront of our content strategy when we started. We are back with our long-form content, we have launched a publication of our own, we produce long-form videos and hence, we are using Instagram as a distribution platform more. Meanwhile, the algorithm of Instagram has shifted from follower-led feeds to discovery-led feeds, so it is difficult to anticipate the reach right now.”
Topicality, trending music, using how-to, and more are the secret mix to making content on Instagram go viral, according to Shradha Agarwal CEO and Co-Founder of Grapes.
“There are certain ingredients and sauces to make a viral video which are topical like moment marketing, trending music and entertainment shaming. A recent show on Netflix, Masaba-Masaba season 2 used the same tactic which worked wonders for them. Along with that, following the new format works great for content marketing strategy on Instagram,” said Agarwal.
Adding to this, Chhavi Mittal, Co-Founder and Content Creator, Shitty Ideas Trending, said that when one deliberately tries to make a viral video, they have a higher chance of failing as a content creator. As per her, when a video is created from the heart it has a higher chance of striking the right chord with the audience, but it also depends on the timing and the demographics of the platform’s audience.
Increasing followers on Instagram genuinely needs to be content-oriented. Hotshot brands like Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret, Nykaa or other similar brands are the places where people go specifically to watch their content to learn about new offers or collections they are launching.
Hence the number of followers doesn’t increase on the content engagement, as long as the brand is not owing a positioning, or gives an affinity or genre of content. The brand will be only followed if they give them an unsaid feeling, truth or stats, as per Agarwal.
Ankit Chhabra, Channel Lead of Pocket Aces’ food content platform Gobble said that while an influencer might be able to give viewers a specific personality, attachment or relatability, the moment that influencer goes outside of their persona, people don’t like it.
Citing an example of this, he explained, “Being a food platform, if my page is famous for serving biryani, and one day suddenly if we start serving only pasta to the consumers, people will stop checking out our page. Hence, the same problem lies here with the influencers too, when they start experimenting with different kinds of content, moving away from their comfort zone, they fall into a problem.”
Hence, to stand out, the product integration must look seamless. Though it is easy for a food platform to integrate brands naturally, when an influencer does the same it ends up looking like an ad no matter how good an influencer tries to create seamless content, according to Chhabra.
Commenting on the same, Mehta said that most brands go wrong and are not able to stand out because they are stuck in the 80s era- when marketing was advertising when they used to make a 30-sec TVC and play it for 20 years on TV. As per him, some brands are bringing the same ethos to content creation too, while others fail because they are not able to think like a content creator.
Mehta further stated that the core of the content strategy, the written piece or script, needs to be distinctive to stand out; otherwise, one can go about seeking assistance from an agency that will produce content that is similar to that which they are producing for other clients, so exclusivity goes down the drain.
Adding on to this, Chhabra said that the brands that are successful are those that build a lifestyle around their product, so they are not really selling a product rather they are selling a lifestyle.
One of the best examples of this according to Chhabra is what Royal Enfield does. The brand never talks about the CC power of the bike rather they communicate more about travel, exploring and going outdoors.
Zomato also uses this to a large extent, rather than instructing customers on what to order, the brand creates content centred on food culture. They don’t mention delivery in their communication; instead, their content speaks to the audience.
Moreover, with the success on Instagram, also comes the trolls which can be a nightmare for some content creators, so how do they manage the unnecessary trolls and what to do when such things go south on a brand collaboration?
Chhavi said, “So far in my experience, 80% of the time when there is a comment on a branded piece on my Instagram, I try to respond to it in the best possible way. I cannot work with a brand that I cannot endorse, if I am endorsing it then I fight for it.”
For a content creator, the content must be colourful and vibrant, it cannot be just branded collabs. It has to show different pieces of who you are, Chhavi continued.
As to the question of how often one should post new content, Chhavi shared that it is different for different people across platforms, depending on the trends. “There are times when even four posts are less, while on other days you can reduce it down to one every alternate day. However, it heavily depends on how the followers are responding to the posts,” she said.
Apart from this, user-generated content and reels are also a hit on Instagram, so it becomes a challenge for the brands to take careful steps while taking these routes.
Highlighting this, Agarwal explained that brands and creators need to have the right content strategy and viewpoint for making any content a hit. Being an advertiser, one needs to understand the reach and SEOs and what the consumers are looking for. SEO is a science that is used by brands for creating different content strategies.
The brand needs to understand what the customers are looking for and what they want to buy. This can be done by understanding their affinity or genre as well as telling a story through different stages of the brand, product and after-sales service and all these become part of the UGC, as per Agarwal.
Moreover, sometimes it is really difficult to manage creative blocks on Instagram. Chhabra shared that they try to pick up real relevant insights from people’s lives and then they create 4 to 5 different kinds of formats around the same. This is how Gobble has been able to avoid creative blocks, per him and he also added that is important to have a clear objective on the idea one is working on.
On the other hand, according to Chhavi, there is too much pressure of creative blocks when it comes to creating content on an everyday basis. She believes that every video should have a meaning, and also shared that it is once she starts shooting ideas that new ideas start entering her mind.
While Agarwal considers creative block as a science, according to her it is very easy to create a good number of content strategies. She added to this by saying that “Out of 365 days in a year you have hundreds of social days or festivals, which means you have some social day coming every next day that you can talk about. We make a division based on the genres which we call brand consumer product and industry strategy or BPCI and accordingly a chart is prepared. When you have this whole chart ready you can pick 500 content pieces out of it. As a result, you will not feel clogged anytime.”
Using quirky, relevant captions and hashtags can turn out to be a great content strategy on Instagram. There are different ways to do this, like Gobble gives a personality and authenticity to the page to bring out a fun caption. While on the other hand, Chhavi keeps her caption ready in her mind before the content piece is ready.
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