One way to get better at something is to study what the people better than you do and then copy or improve on their techniques. If you want to be better at marketing – at getting people to care about your product – you should be a devoted student of brand advertising. Find the brands that are good at building a following and watch them to learn how they do it.
On Instagram, I follow Starbucks and Kate Spade (in addition to my friends). Not because I care about those brands, but because they have devoted followings and post to Instagram often. Starbucks has eight hundred thousand followers and they post pictures of coffee cups. Kate Spade posts pictures of their office staff working in NYC. When I check my feed to see the latest pictures from my friends, I see these pictures as well – and their comments (why do people comment on a picture of a Starbucks cup?). Patterns start to emerge. You start to notice what types of pictures get more Likes than others and what types of comments people leave. And you start to learn a technique.
A lot of my peers (in the software world) pride themselves on being anti-advertising. They install ad-blocking software, avoid the “popular websites”, skip TV commercials and ridicule large brands. I think this is a mistake. There is a lot to learn from what other brands do right (and do wrong). For a while, I used Safari with Flash uninstalled for a more pleasant browsing experience (and longer battery life). But I eventually switched back to Chrome because I felt like I was missing too many ads.
We all think ads are annoying but if you want to be better at marketing, you should make studying advertising a part of your regular routine. Follow some brands on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, the blogs or wherever you hang out. Don’t always skip commercials. Sign up for some newsletters. Subscribe to a magazine (they are cheap!).
You can see the most followed Instagram users here. Most are celebrities – scroll down until you find brands. The top 3 are currently MTV, Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret.
Side note: I think Instagram is the future of brand advertising. More on that later.