Joe Welstead and Charles Matthews are the founders of Motion Nutrition, a leading nutrition brand specialising in organic sports supplements. Despite operating in an increasingly saturated market, they have been able to carve out a strong identity for the brand and are now sold in Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic. as well as seeing rap growth in their online sales.
Much of Motion Nutrition’s success has been achieved through their use of Instagram to both distribute beatifully branded content and also to engage with influencers that have large and relevant audiences. We met with Joe to find out more about how they had developed such an effective Instagram strategy.
The Fitness Network:
What would you consider to be the main factors in your success on instagram?
Over the last couple of years we’ve always made Instagram a priority and learnt a huge amount along the way. I would say the key principles to our success have been as follows:
1. Have a clear brand
First of all, it’s essential to know who your audience is and how your brand will reach them. We were clear that this wasn’t about professional athletes, it was for regular healthy and active individuals that just wanted a bit of help with their nutrition and were willing to invest in it. Therefore it was essential that our brand was communicating a lifestyle rather than just promoting a product.
2. Create content that’s instagram ready
Once our brand identity was clear, everything else became so much easier. We knew exactly what kind of lifestyle we were trying to promote and so went to the south of France where I grew up and held a photoshoot surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes. The product was secondary.
Throughout the photoshoot we were constantly thinking “How will this look on instagram?” and that has turned out to be hugely important. It’s over a year since we did that photo shoot and we’re still regularly posting it on Instagram. Photography can seem expensive but if it’s done well and with social media in mind then you can stretch that investment a very long way indeed.
3. Find the right influencers
Without even trying we were approached by a number of people in the BBG community. One American lady in particular really opened our eyes to the power of influencer marketing when she posted about Motion Nutrition at 11pm UK time and by the morning we’d had 7 sales that we could directly attribute back to instagram.
That said, you have to be extremely careful to engage with the right people. We’re not interested in giving away hundreds of discount codes to anyone with a large following. They have to be absolutely on-brand. Not only this important for protecting the integrity and consistency of the brand, but it also makes your life a lot easier. For example, if I ask someone who really gets our brand to write a recipe, they will just get on and do it. No fuss. However, if I had to instruct someone who wasn’t genuinely living and breathing the Motion Nutrition lifestyle then there would be endless back and forth about how to create the right kind of content. It has to come from an authentic place.
4. Focus on engagement over sales
The first thing you need to appreciate about instagram is that while it can (and does) generate direct sales, it’s predominantly about brand engagement. Promotional activity should always come second. Once you have loyalty to your instagram content, you’ll find you have loyalty to your brand and products, but it has to be in that order.
5. Be highly active
When we started I thought it would be enough to post a couple of times a week but with instagram you really have to be on there every day. You also need to be highly reactive. You’ve got to move quickly and capitalise on that moment of interaction. Once it’s a day old your response becomes irrelevant.
6. Don’t cheat – you’ll be found out
There are companies who try to cut corners – buying fake followers and spamming with fake comments. It’s really easy to spot and only harms the brand in the long term. You’ve got to find time to do it properly.
7. Don’t be shy!
User Generated Content is everything on instagram. At first we were worried about being too pushy but we’ve come to realise that it’s absolutely fine to ask people who have a good experience with your prodiuct to interact with you online. If anything it just strengthens their relationship to the brand and provides you with awesome UGC (User Generated Content) in the process.
8. Be ready to innovate
The moment instagram stories came out we were straight on it. That’s the only way to turn a platform development like that into a competitive advantage. Whenever a new feature comes out you have to test it quickly. Large companies are often sluggish which gives smaller brands like ours a big advantage.