Built on the principles of Bob Marley, consumer electronics brand The House of Marley is all about bringing earth-friendly, premium audio electronics and lifestyle gear to the world. Our team prides itself on the materials used in all of the products we introduce to retail.

To share our message of earth-friendliness as well as our commitment to global charitable causes, Instagram has become a significant platform for us to direct our attention to. As a brand marketer, I can tell you it’s a no-brainer. Consumers are 58x more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram compared to Facebook, which explains why it is Marley’s fastest growing social channel. In fact, we’ve seen an 80% growth in followers in just the past year.

Naturally, Instagram is our platform of choice when we want to launch a campaign that relies on visual storytelling.

For Earth Day, we decided to do just that by introducing an evergreen series (titled #MaterialsMatter) to our most engaged audience.Visual Storytelling on Instagram

Why Visual Storytelling?

As mentioned, Instagram is House of Marley’s most significant platform. Our audience is extremely visual, and we receive genuine feedback from our consumers there every day.

Better yet, we’ve found that sharing visual stories on Instagram is an effective way to increase engagement without breaking the bank. For our #MaterialsMatter campaign, we had a fairly lean budget, and yet by sharing inspiring content on Instagram we were able to offer our audience something unique using what we had – House of Marley’s principles.

Regardless of budget, the key to effective visual storytelling is strong content. Below, you’ll find five simple steps to visual storytelling, so you can go out and create a successful Instagram campaign too.

1. Know Your Message

Like any story, there should be a message or a “moral” at the close of the story.

The message we wanted to carry along in our story was simple: All of the materials in our manufacturing process matter. Consumers can easily see the connection to the message in the name of our series (and hashtag), Materials Matter. The end goal was to teach our current shoppers and future consumers about each of the materials we use in our production process.

It’s ALL about the materials when we speak using the #MaterialsMatter theme. The finished products almost take a back seat, and that’s okay with us!

Visual Storytelling Example 1

2. Create Standout Imagery

Thematically speaking, it was important for us that our visuals matched the message. We talk about our products all the time, but have not taken a moment to discuss and showcase the materials—individually—yet. With this campaign, we had a unique opportunity to feature them one by one.

Highlighting the versatility of our brand was also important to us. For example, lots of consumers may know about bamboo, but what do they know about ceramic or rPET?

As a brand, it’s our job to educate our consumers on the work behind the scenes.

For the purposes of visual storytelling, the content should stand out on your feed. We wanted followers to wonder, “What’s that?” and to click on the images one by one.

As we followed the series in real-time, we noticed that the same people who liked a photo posted at 10 a.m. of the hemp material also liked the photo posted at 1 p.m. of the aluminum material. Consumers were following the story and going from photo to photo, which is exactly what we had aimed to do in creating imagery that looked nothing like the rest of the content on our feed. Sure, it fit our aesthetic, but the subject was different.

Again, this campaign was not about featuring products. None of the content for this visual story featured products. In fact, you can browse The House of Marley feed today and easily pick out the images used for this campaign. They stand out very clearly.

3. Keep It Platform-Specific

User behavior varies significantly from one platform to the next, and content must be geared to fit this reality. For House of Marley, it was important for us to keep the content exclusive to Instagram and to engage our followers in a new way.

We introduced the #MaterialsMatter theme on Twitter and Facebook by directing users to our Instagram profile to view the grid we had created that told our story, instead of pushing the same message to all of our platforms. We wanted to personalize the experience for Instagram and continue to send traffic to our Instagram page. After all, Instagram is where photos like this “belong.” And this was a visual storytelling play for Instagram, not Twitter or Facebook.Driving to Instagram

4. Tell a Unique Story

It might be cliche, but our brand’s technique was to just be our genuine self. Aside from “selling,” brands should also be teaching and inspiring through their content; this is what we aimed to do with #MaterialsMatter.

House of Marley introduced the series on Earth Day, a day when many brands try to make themselves relevant by hosting sales and retail discounts. We took a different approach.

As a brand built on Bob Marley’s legacy and vision of “One World,” our sustainable attitude and mindful practices are what set us apart in the consumer electronics space. Through our #MaterialsMatter story, we taught consumers about each of the materials using facts that our product developers shared with our entire team.

To create a story like this—a unique, compelling one that educates—it requires the team to really come together. It can’t just consist of the marketers telling the story.

Unique stories come from the entire organization – not one social manager!

Your story can only be unique if it really speaks to your brand’s roots.

Visual Storytelling Example 2

5. Supplement Organic with Paid Content

The best part about supplementing organic content with a paid strategy is that it can be adjusted to meet every brand’s budget needs as well as the goal of the campaign.

For House of Marley, we saw this as the perfect time for us to test out our Curalate lookalike audience against a custom Facebook audience – specifically those with earth conscious interests and habits. We learned that both audiences performed above average in terms of cost per engagement and ad relevance (CPE was under $.11 and relevance of ad was 9).

The day our #MaterialsMatter series launched, our brand experienced a 76% increase in brand page interactions. Follower count was also positive, along with potential impressions. We used Curalate’s built-in ad manager, which made it easier to navigate and complete an ad. Our brand will definitely be spending more money on Instagram due to how simple the process was and the results we saw.