Content Marketing, Other Networks, Owned Media, Shared Media, Social Promotion
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For years, I tried to wrap my head around the obsession people – mostly my female peers, in my estimation – seemed to have with these image-centric social media platforms (specifically, Instagram). And then, I finally got one. And when I got one, I finally got it.

Twitter is tremendous, but text heavy. Facebook’s fabulous, but is becoming more of a hotbed for third-party (Buzzfeed, Mashable, etc) content sharing than anything these days. But the emergence and the inherent illuminous nature of Instagram are plainly intoxicating.

There’s something to a social network that allows users who are spending all day consuming content in text form to satisfy a different part of the brain that thrives on creativity and imagery (of course, that’s the right brain we’re talking about). A tweet has a lifespan of maybe a day or two, but a picture is worth a thousand words and lives on forever – perhaps even capturing the essence of who we are and what we do.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

“Is it a good pic? Are you gonna post it to Facebook and Instagram!?”

These words are thrown around so commonly among today’s youth, they’re now almost more verbs than nouns.

“I saw you Facebook-d that,” or “Nice insta” are common vernacular when you’re looking at the 18-29 demographic. If you’ve ever been around young people at any event or scenic location – or even just out and about at a restaurant, shopping center, or social gathering – you know these things to be true.

Taking pictures has always been the norm. But the transcendence of the digital space has changed why we take pictures, then what we do with them. With the push of a button, our lives are pictures, and these pictures now become living, breathing entities that are, in some ways, as much of an extension of our personas as our very physical presence.

Marketing on Instagram

Instagram’s 300 million users make it one of the most popular social networks out there. Seventy-five million people use it on a daily basis. It’s estimated that about a fourth of the U.S. population is active on Instagram. If you’re a marketer looking to reach consumers who actually want to view your stuff, boy, this should make your eyes pop.

Once B2C brands figured out that engagement rates are out the roof on Instagram, and that they too could have an owned, scalable presence there, many recognized the benefit of dedicating internal resources to maintaining a solid presence in this valuable, free space.

Some other brands owning it on Instagram:

  • Saucony (Running can enhance one’s life, as shown through imagery; simple bio section)
  • Delta (Beautiful images of the sky; user-submitted video content; newsworthy posts)
  • Starbucks (Because, what do they not do well on social?)
  • Beats By Dre (Use of celebrity)

Because Instagram is still widely considered an advertisement-free platform for consumption of content and falls on the “life” side of the “work-life” balance, I think this makes it a less intrusive, “under-the-radar” social networking and social media marketing space that brands should explore.

If your brand isn’t on Instagram, for whatever reason (maybe you think because you’re a small business owner or a B2B company, or you lack the internal resources to reasonably maintain the account), I’d challenge you to at least give it a try. See how it goes.

Data shows that, whoever you are, your customers are undeniably on Instagram, likely posting, sharing, liking and commenting. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were doing so with you?

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