How to successfully launch a custom Instagram Filter
So, you’ve decided that you’re going to have a custom Instagram filter made. We already know how filters work and how they help brands grow, but how can we help the process along? With the right design, even without any promotion, your filter will market itself. But why leave things to chance? With a thoughtful launch strategy, you can get the most out of your custom Instagram filter.
As an example, we’ll use our client Herb’s “Let Them Out” custom face filter, which advocates for the release of 40,000+ Americans incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes at risk for contracting COVID-19.
1. Build up hype
What does any good marketing campaign do? Build up anticipation days or even weeks before launch. Get your followers excited about what’s coming up, even if they don’t know what it is. Some examples of messaging that you could use is:
“We have something fun in store for you…”
“Stay tuned for some exciting news tomorrow at 3pm!”
Within Spark AR (the platform that all Instagram filters are built on), you have the ability to choose a start and end date and time for your filter. Use this to your advantage to plan exactly when the filter will go live, and communicate this in advance to your followers.
2. Make a feed post with instructions on how to use the Instagram Filter
Making a feed post is a key launch tactic as the post will appear in your followers’ feeds and will remain accessible thereafter. With this post as a resource, you can always direct curious followers to the post for more information. Include instructions with photos on how your followers can find and use your face filter.
Since filters are so new to Instagram, many of your followers will be unfamiliar with how to find your filter and use it! To circumvent this, make your initial announcement filter feed post a swipe-through carousel post with steps to find your filter. This will minimize any confusion your followers may have, and lead to more organic sharing.
Once you’ve made this post, make sure you share this post on your story so viewers of your story can understand how to use the filter and engage with your post further.
3. Promote your brand’s new custom Instagram filter in your story
In addition to sharing instructions on how to use your filter in a post, you should use Instagram stories to showcase your team using your custom filter! Stories are the best way to share your filter as your audience can directly save the filter from your story. Once your Instagram face filter is live on your account, you can add a swipe up link to your story for your viewers to use it themselves. The link is added the same way you would add a website link, but you will be able to choose your camera effect within the link editor.
Additionally, use Instagram’s story reposting feature to repost your followers using your filter! To do this, direct your followers to use your filter and tag your Instagram account in it. Once they do, you’ll find their story in your direct messages and you’ll have the option to ‘repost to your story’. This is a great way to showcase the community that your brand is building and to encourage everyone to participate! The end result is increased virality of your filter.
4. Share with your Influencer Network
The goal of your filter launch should be to get as many people to share the filter to their story as possible. A great way to do this is to leverage your influencer network by asking them to share themselves using your filter to their story. This will increase the number of impressions your filter receives and also allow viewers of the influencers’ story that are not familiar with your brand to discover products and services. Because the content came from their network or influencers that they follow, they will be more inclined to organically interact with your filter, save it and share it to their own personal networks.
This is how an Instagram filter goes viral! If your brand does not formally work with influencers, leverage your most loyal followers, or even your personal network.
5. Continue to use the new Instagram filter in your story after the initial launch
Keep using your custom filter! Instagram filters are powerful brand assets that will constantly grow even without maintenance. The more people who share it, the larger amount of people it will reach. By continuing to promote the filter after its initial launch, you help to build long-term momentum of its popularity.
Remember that your Instagram filter will ALWAYS be there for you. Once you educate your followers on how to use a branded filter, this paves the way for earlier adoption of future filters. Your next campaign filter will spread itself even more organically! Filter popularity will naturally fluctuate over time, but there is always an opportunity to remind followers of your filter via any of the methods explored in this article. Promote your filter again to create a spike in uses and to initiate virality once again.
By following these launch steps, Herb’s “Let me Out” custom Instagram filter was able to achieve 121,000 impressions and 448 shares in its first full day of being online.