Instagram was launched on the 6th of October in 2010 making it just over four years old, so what exactly is it that has made this social media platform so successful, so quickly? The company’s CEO Kevin Systrom believes the success of the brand lies within the underlying importance of image sharing, “Instagram is about seeing a live pulse of the world right now, it's not just about taking a photo of a cute baby or a cute dog.” Elaborating upon this Instagram’s co-founder, Mike Krieger went on to describe his vision of the future, "What we need to do is figure out how to take the fact that everyone's contributing from around the world and broadcast that more globally. If you're interested in what's happening at the World Cup, you can peer in, see the football players and see what they're thinking and doing before they go onto the field. Those are the types of things that I want to enable over the next year." Have a look at this infographic timeline of Instagram since it went live in 2010.
Analysing a new intelligence report published by Business Insider it becomes apparent that Instagram has quickly becoming the prominent social media network for young adults and teens. In terms of importance, the study found teens describe Instagram as the ‘most important’ current social media platform and is the most used, above both Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, over half of teens and people in their early twenties are on Instagram. More than half of 12 to 24 year-olds said they had an account on Instagram in early 2014, according to a survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital, compared to 19% of all those survey respondents 24 and older. Following on from this, Piper Jaffray found that Instagram reached 83% penetration among upper-income teens, ahead of even Facebook. This makes the social network an extremely desirable platform for advertisers, particularly high end fashion brands and consumer electronics.
Marketers are increasingly shifting their strategies towards visual marketing, making platforms such as Instagram the perfect playing field- although integrating brand marketing within such a consumer dominated user base is not easy. One of Instagram’s main attractions is its transparency and normality. Users have the freedom to post whatever they like whether it be their pet, their dinner or latest creative expressions making it very easy to spot a photoshopped corporate ad promoting McDonalds latest saver menu. For brands to successfully integrate themselves within Instagram their content has to be creative, innovative and personal, these images must tell a story and reflect personality. Instagram is the perfect opportunity to interact with consumers on a personal, emotional level improving brand awareness and brand perception but it is so easy to get wrong. Many individuals believe ‘snapshot’ marketing to be the next big thing within social, creating native ads that seamlessly blend in with content being put out there by consumers. Content should feel ‘real’, stock photos, studio shoots or photoshopped images simply don’t work on Instagram. People want to see creative, clever and expressive content that intrigues and inspires.
Below are some examples of clothing brands who really understand how to use Instagram. This is achieved by using the same tone of voice as their consumers and posting images that their target audience wish they were posting on their own accounts, therefore leading to high levels of interaction and lots of ‘likes’.
As well as creating individual content, brands are finding new ways to promote their services and products through ‘Instagrammers’ that already have existing respected and trusted followings due to years of quality content and interesting photography.
For example, Alina Tsvor, who found ‘Instagram popularity’ through posting beautiful images of cities and landscapes. Tsvor decided to contact ‘Chicago Helicopter Experience’ asking for a free helicopter ride in exchange for the promise to caption the images she shot during the experience with the company’s name and link to their Instagram account with her 55,000 Instagram followers. “I got two helicopter rides out of it and got a bunch of my friends rides, too.”
Among the three in-air photos she posted over the next few weeks was an at-dusk bird’s-eye view of the city that she published with the caption, “Just looking for some new roofs to climb @chetours.” It gained over 3,400 likes.
It is techniques such as these that demonstrates the importance of posting content that people enjoy and engage with, that blends in with current trends. Although in this instance it wasn’t the brand’s initial intention to contact Tsvor, it resulted in success and is definitely something other brands should be actively doing. The target for brands isn’t to pretend that they are just another consumer posting content without intention but to offer followers a reason to ‘like’ and engage. This can be achieved by using well planned and on-trend content that can stand out for the right reasons and not just a blatant desire to sell.
How does MCM Net plan to use Instagram throughout 2015?
It is evident that Instagram is now one of, if not the, most effective way of communicating with consumers on a personal level by providing a platform for brand value expression. We have identified a necessity to increase the amount of MCM Net presence within Instagram whilst maintaining an impressive level of quality and consistency. We plan to execute this through a series of planned campaigns that will be rolled out throughout the year as well as a desire to create new and innovative content in response to current affairs and trends. This will not only have an effect upon MCM Net but also our clients. We value the importance of reacting quickly to changes within the industry, especially in regards to changes in perception and effectiveness of social media platforms such as Instagram.
This blog post was written by MCM Net’s intern, Thomas McMahon.
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