Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social networks right now, and was recently acquired by Facebook for more than $1 billion, which is evidence enough of its increasing clout. For the unfamiliar, Instagram is a mobile-based social app where users take and share photos and videos, and then apply filters to them and share them. With a tagging system akin to Twitter and the support of Facebook ownership, this painfully simple system currently reports having 130 million active users and it's only going to grow from here.
Brands are increasingly using Instagram to engage with their customers. It's a great platform for sharing images of products, customers' photos of positive experiences, and reinforcing brand messaging while facilitating engagement from social audiences. It has been well-documented that social media users are fond of visually-engaging content, and Instagram has developed a platform for creating and distributing compelling visual content. Additionally, it's built to seamlessly share images and videos across 6 other networks, which allows for unified brand presence across the myriad social platforms that customers use. That includes tagging users with '@,' creating promotion campaigns using hashtags (#), as you might see on Twitter, and a comment section where brands can communicate directly with their followers about the images or brand.
Nitrogram, a startup offering Instagram analytics for brands, has a rolling list of the top 50 brands on Instagram, based on number of followers and number of hashtag uses by other users, with Nike, Starbucks, and the NBA topping the list as of publication of this post. These big brands are great examples of how to effectively utilize the platform for branding and engagement. Instagram has also rolled out some features that make it easier for brands (and celebrities) to control their presence, including verified profiles (to keep the trolls at bay) and allowing embedding of their feeds on websites, so brands can easily integrate it into their other social feeds on their company website or blog.
Some key takeaways of this growing trend include:
- Instagram, like Twitter, is a great platform for engaging customers, reinforcing brand image, and generating good content and PR.
- Like other social networks, Instagram allows your brand to communicate directly with your consumers, but the added combination of visual content, user tagging, and hashtags makes for a dynamic social platform.
- It's easy for brands to establish themselves on Instagram and utilize its features to create and distribute compelling content that users will share with their networks.
At Privy, we use Instagram to highlight events that we attend, promotions and brands we like, and food that we like. If you're on Instagram, be sure to follow us: @privy