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How 5 APAC brands are #killingit on Instagram

Inspired by the success of National Geographic and Nike, which boast more than 82 million and 75 million followers, respectively, homegrown brands in the region are stepping up their Instagram game with resounding success.

Indeed, the Facebook-owned site is a powerful ally for advertisers. Its 800 million users love the platform for its simplicity, ease of use and novelty, in turn offering advertisers the opportunity to increase followers, engagement and ultimately influence behaviours.

However, as more and more brands try to connect with audiences on Instagram, it’s the ones with gumption and a unique tone of voice that stand out. As we move into 2018, we’ve taken a look at some of the top brands that are #goals on Instagram, and what you can do to up your Instagram game.

Disclaimer: This list isn’t about the brands with the most number of followers, but rather companies who are doing a great job of using the platform to drive those meaningful engagements.

Kayla Itsines: Building 1:1 connections – The Aussie personal trainer-turned-fitness brand built her success on Instagram. Her following – some 8 million strong – is in no small part due to her ability to build personal connections with women around the world. She often posts women’s progress stories and comments on app users’ posts, giving them much needed encouragement and a feeling of insider exclusivity.

Samsung: Enhancing the visual experience – Like the phoenix, Samsung has risen from the Note7 ashes to become a social media force to reckon with. Alongside its huge 3.2 million following (well ahead of Apple’s 2.4 million), the engagement metrics of its feed regularly clock in some 35,000 likes and 1,000 comments.

Much of Samsung’s social strategy hinges on overtly attractive photography that lends itself flawlessly to Instagram. A standout example was the publicity campaign for the Samsung Galaxy Note8 earlier this year. As part of this campaign, artists and designers were encouraged to use the phone’s stylus to embellish photos and post on Instagram, which Samsung later showcased on its page. The campaign was simple but managed to add a fun twist to typical product demos we’re used to seeing.

Cathay Pacific: Harnessing user generated content – At 382,000 followers on Instagram, Cathay Pacific has fewer followers than rival Singapore Airlines. But that hasn’t stopped it doing a far superior job where engagement is concerned.

Cathay Pacific regularly puts influencers and customers in control of its Instagram posts. In fact, it was amongst the first few brands to jump on the user generated content bandwagon with the campaign #lifewelltraveled back in 2015.

There’s evidence to show the approach works. According to eMarketer, 45 percent of people who buy on the internet are influenced by the opinions of other people. While the airline hasn’t revealed results of the #lifewelltraveled campaign, the hashtag continues to be widely shared with more than 1.4 million Instagram posts to date.

Blibli.com: Leverage ephemeral content – Indonesians love the internet and Instagram. With more than 45 million monthly active users, it is Instagram’s largest market in the region, and as such a big focus for marketers in the country.

One early adopter is Blibli.com, an ecommerce company, which has amassed over 133,000 followers on the platform. While that number is smaller than competitors such as Lazada and Tokopedia – Blibli.com stands out for being an early adopter of the platform’s innovative ad solutions. Indeed, it was one of the first brands in the region to test out Instagram’s ads in stories format and found that the campaign led to a 22-point lift in ad recall and 5,000 incremental conversions.

Because of its native advantage, if done right ephemeral content can be much more authentic in grabbing consumers’ attention and driving them to buy your products.

Starbucks Philippines: Keeping it relevant – I am aware Starbucks isn’t technically a homegrown brand – but I’d be remiss not to mention the company’s robust strategy in the Philippines. With some 408,000 followers in the country, Starbucks Philippines has one of the largest follower bases in the F&B space in Asia.

Judging by the company’s Instagram activity, it’s clear they are in sync with what consumers care about and tailor their content accordingly. The team in the Philippines also uses humour and quick response as a way to maintain fan engagement. In today’s world, addressing fans by name and using appropriate emojis is a great way to foster relationships and loyalty.

Mimrah Mahmood is the Regional Director, Media Solutions (Asia Pacific) for Meltwater.