Out of all the social media platforms my favourite is Instagram.
Beautiful pictures - tick; a keyhole perspective into other people's lives - tick; getting inspiration on where next to travel - tick. It has it all. I can while away hours scrolling through my feed and checking out just what people I know, and often don't know, are up to. They may be friends, acquaintances, celebrities or 'influencers', but I have chosen to follow the images of their lives -- and I love it.
And why do I love it quite so much? It is because, as Lynn Enright says in her article, it's a good news platform. You don't get people moaning about politics (yes, I am looking at you Facebook), or complaining about poor service (cough - Twitter - cough). Instead, I get a glorious insight into the daily lives of the people I follow. It may be because I am the worst FOMO sufferer of all time, or perhaps I'm just nosy, but Instagram is my happy place.
Marketers are taking a closer at Instagram and how best to maximise it to promote their own brands. Instagram, I feel, needs a more delicate touch than any other platform, and smart marketers will take this into account.
Instagram is place we go to distract ourselves, to escape the hubbub of life, to seek respite from the cacophony of brands trying to engage with us on a day to day basis. As soon as we feel that our escapism is being encroached upon, we will quite simply turn off and tune out. Instagram feels very much like real life (or at least the real life we wish we all had) and brands need to be careful not to distort or fake that feeling.
There is a huge opportunity for brands who plan their approach to Instagram carefully. Authenticity is key, as is a consistent tone of voice. Avoid the hard sell and appeal to target markets' reasons for having an Instagram profile in the first place. Those who do will see brand awareness, engagement and influence soar.
The major criticism of Instagram is that it doesn’t look like real life and that it promotes an unhelpful beauty standard and yeah, I get it – it’s a visual platform where people attempt to ape advertisements in order to sell an idealised version of their own lives. But alongside that, it’s a place where people tell stories – literally with the Snapchat-like Stories feature or in the captions beneath their pictures.