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3 Creative Ways to Personalize Marketing with Instagram

There’s a common saying in business; people buy from other people, not from companies.

This saying is more accurate in today’s environment than ever before. Gone are the days when companies could develop a generic ad, buy some airtime, and blast the message across the airwaves. People have developed built-in filters for this type of content and say “no thank you” when they receive these pitches.

Brands have seen the writing on the wall, and are shifting their strategies towards more personalized content that further enhances engagement.

Personalized Content Fits Perfect for Instagram

Instagram has evolved into a visual storytelling platform used by brands to post entertaining, illustrative content that tells their most appealing stories. The platform allows a more intimate dialogue to occur between brand and prospect; marketer and consumer. Instagram will continue to evolve throughout 2017 into a channel that is ever more integrated with personalized branded marketing campaigns.

However, just as the platform inevitably evolves, so too must your approach to using the channel. Differentiation is an all-important tactic in an increasingly cluttered marketspace, which means the images and the stories you share on Instagram need to stand out from the competition.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can customize your Instagram strategy.

People Love a Great Instagram Story

There’s no getting around it - people prefer personalized storytelling. Over 150 million people actively followed Instagram Stories in the first 25 weeks that the feature was added to the social platform. That’s incredible growth!

How can you put this growth to good use?

You are one of thousands of brand marketers who is asking that same question. Mobile content consumption has taken the world by storm, and along with those mobile habits come the mobile behaviours. Attention spans are shortening; people are instantly accessing content, images, and information through their smartphone devices. You need to optimize your strategy so that you can share the types of stories that will resonate with a mobile-first audience.

Listen to some great advice for how to think about Instagram Stories, which you can use to reposition your products and creative assets for seamless, comprehensive storytelling.

Listen to Behavioural Activity

If there’s one thing that marketers agree is critical to their success, it’s data and data analysis.

HubSpot compiled a piece of content called “The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics.” The document provides some great data about Instagram as a platform, and tips to enhance the value of visual and video content. There are also some interesting insights about mobile behaviour; such as how 82% of people will conduct one final search on their phones prior to making a purchase.

Know the Numbers

The conceptual theme throughout HubSpot’s content is how marketers identify their position within the marketplace. Those who comprehend both their positioning and their audiences are more likely to increase engagement rates across platforms like Instagram. This engagement, if done in a thoughtful and targeted way, subsequently improves lead generation and conversion rates.

Those who struggle with this information will generate less robust numbers.

This isn’t a new concept for marketers; proving the value of any initiative with data and analysis is imperative to scale growth. But the concept must now be applied in practice to Instagram.

More people are engaging with content through Instagram than ever before - second only to Facebook in terms of active users in regards to social platforms. Brands must conduct an equally qualitative and quantitative analysis of their Instagram analytics to calculate the potential for growth through Instagram.

Encourage Creative Expression

Brand awareness is a common goal within marketing teams. Many of the world’s most popular brands establish an emotional connection with their followers through the types of content they produce. Visual and video assets shared on Instagram can help your team achieve those same goals.

You can create very personalized, highly targeted content through Instagram Stories that is customized to the behaviour of your personas. Use your analytics from both Instagram and Facebook to dissect this data and come up with messaging that resonates with your ideal customer.

Tap Into Your Followers’ True Colours

One example of a brand that created a highly personalized marketing campaign is John Frieda. The company specializes in hair care and colour products, but wanted to inspire loyalty among their followers through a shared love of colour.

John Frieda created the #ShadesofMe Instagram campaign through personalized video content. Fans of the brand are invited to visit the campaign page, connect with Instagram, and select your natural hair colour. An algorithm then compares your hair colour with the most popular colours in your Instagram posts. This data is then used to create a personalized video that describes what the shades of those colours say about you and your personality.

The brand developed creative social content leading up to the launch of the campaign, and partnered with credible influencers to help increase participation. Alex Bradbury, John Frieda’s Digital Marketing Manager, said the goal of the pre-launch was to lay the groundwork for a very personalized customer experience. She said the next goal is to build off the momentum of the campaign to improve loyalty and advocacy amongst followers of the brand.

“Everybody wants something that nobody has; that’s the crux of it. They want something that’s tailored to them, something that gets a layer deeper.”


Content is King; Personalized Content is Critical

Bill Gates was the first influencer to coin the phrase “content is king.” He made that declaration back in 1996, long before content marketing as a practice was adopted into today’s ever-changing marketplace.

Cyrus Shepard, Founder of Fazillion Media and a former Moz employee, introduced a new idea that should resonate with every marketer today.

“If content is king, then the user is queen, and she rules the universe.”


I believe that the rise of platforms like Instagram requires another re-jigging of that philosophy. Personalized content is critical to building relationships so that people actively want to become your customers.

Remember the old business saying - “people buy from other people, not from companies.” In a world where content is used to build brand awareness and educate prospective clients, personalizing your information as much as you can is imperative to success. Visual and video assets inject a little character into a brand and are great for connecting on Instagram. But those assets also show people that you are human; you have thoughts and expressions that allow others to connect with your beliefs. Personalization; it can’t be overdone.


Ready to learn more about personalization with Instagram? Register for our upcoming Instagram best practices webinar to learn more about who uses Instagram, and recommendations to personalize your brand through the channel.