The saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ – and with Instagram in mind, whoever’s saying it would be right. Now in its fourth year of service, Instagram has established an engaged community of over 150 million users, who on average share in excess of 55 million photos on the platform every day.
With over fifteen times more engagement than Facebookᶦ, Instagram is positioning itself as the go-to app for both consumers and brands. A recent year-on-year analysis of the app from Strategy Eye Digital Media showed a 66% growth from 2013² and this growth is likely to continue.
In 2012 Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase the platform, instantly integrating its functionality into its own by giving members the ability to view Instagram content directly in their news feed. This integration means that 1.9 billion monthly active Facebook users now have direct contact with Instagram content, seamlessly ‘liking’ and sharing images from one platform to the next.
Due to these developments, joining Instagram is a must for businesses. In a report produced in late 2013 by research firm L2, Instagram boasts the most engagement and the highest conversion from browser to shopper. The report also shows that 92% of luxury brands (who post an average of 5.5 times a week on the platform) increase their customer base. The stats echo the increased need for creative content; as a visual generation grows up, brands adopting a personal, creative approach are gaining consumer market share.
Learn From the Best
Brands are realising this potential and joining Instagram on a daily basis, adding the photography based social platform to their wider marketing plan. Want to see how it’s done? Below is a shortlist of four brands currently winning on this growing platform.
Starbucks Creative Content
With over 2.5 million followers, Starbucks is one of the leading brands on Instagram. Nearly every post features a Starbucks drink, but rarely includes a store. Their approach highlights bringing people together to position its brand. By capturing images from friendly faces to customer drawings, Starbucks uses Instagram filters to soften its product-focused content, creatively amplifying its brand to the everyday consumer.
Audi Caption This
Using a mix of pro (DSLR) and bespoke (smartphone) photos captured on the platform, Audi not only does a great job with its imagery, its captions are very clever too. The caption shared with the image below reads, “Engineer your obsession #BuildYourAudi”. By sharing every day, relatable objects, Audi engages its audience, without just talking about their product.
Nike PhotoID Campaign
Early adopter Nike has been on Instagram since January 2012, with a strategic content plan in place from the start. On its official account and all its ‘child accounts’ such as @nikefootball and @nikerunning, users will only see photos that feel right on Instagram: beautifully shot landscapes and people using the product in context — the kind of real-life feeling that Instagram is all about.
Nike continues to run one of the most successful campaigns on Instagram to date, Nike PHOTOiD. It launched in April 2013 and allows users to design their own Nike shoe online and then place it within one of their own Instagram photos. The results produce personalised content, highly shareable for an engaged and targeted audience, whilst also amplifying the brand effortlessly.
Louboutin Luxury Reimagined
Essentially purveyors of shoe porn, this luxury brand has taken to Instagram to make its products even more desirable, sharing images of shoes in provocative places, behind the scene shots of scantily dressed models and thought-provoking statements like “Can you pirouette in Pigalle?”. Using the channel to engage a growing and influential audience, this brand has utilised the focus of the channel to maintain its marketing strategy very effectively.