The Power of Instagram and Why
You Can’t Ignore It
Ancient Egyptian civilizations are perceived to be quite intellectually gifted, culturally rich and centuries ahead of their time. These Egyptians used hieroglyphs, or pictures, to communicate. Fast forward to the 21st Century where we have a multitude of social media platforms at our fingertips every hour of every day. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are far from unpopular, the increase in popularity and user-base of Instagram over the last few years has been monumental.
This is the social media platform that uses pictures to communicate. Facebook and Twitter are also admittedly plagued with the GIF and meme phenomenon, but Instagram has seemingly established its pictorial monarchy over all other casual social media platforms. What caused this unexpected boom in popularity? Why did we allow this tool to sneak up on us and slowly take over our lives? And most importantly, as entrepreneurs how can we capitalize on Instagram’s fame for our own gain?
As of June 2018, Instagram boasts 1 billion monthly active users making it the second most popular social networking app. Instagram successfully surpassed Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn in terms of global active users. Instagram is now owned by Facebook, which is currently the most popular social media platform. One of the main reasons why Instagram is so popular is because of its mobile-friendly setup. People have less and less time to actively pursue social media engagement through their laptops and tablets which is why Instagram is favoured by most. It is primarily a phone app that allows easy navigation, editing and sharing of pictures.
Since we, as a species, are hardwired to respond positively to imagery, this app is perfect. Instagram is an image-first app whether its personal posts, news or advertisement. Captions and hashtags are also limited to a specific number which makes the apps focus entirely on the visuals. This is another major reason behind this apps immense popularity and wide user-base. In a survey conducted to understand Instagram’s super users, 70% of the 500 respondents confirmed that a post’s caption is not the focal point of a truly successful post. Users concluded that the most popular posts were portraits and landscapes with group photos and selfies taking the backseat.
One of most attractive features offered by this app are its special editing filters. These filters allow users to easily edit their ordinary pictures for enhanced lighting and dramatic effects. Choosing the most appropriate filter is directly related to the engagement and response a photograph generates on Instagram. Because of the pressure to select the best filter for Instagram posts, there has been a remarkable increase in the popularity of third-party photo editing apps as well. 53% of Instagram’s users regularly employ third party photo editing apps before sharing their pictures on Instagram.
This app is also incredibly user-friendly and is constantly adding exciting new features which keep its users looking forward to each update. Instagram stories were modeled after the same principle as Snapchat, but surprisingly Instagram stories are now noticeably more popular than Snapchat stories. Some people attribute Instagram’s massive success to its simplicity. This app is attractive to all groups and ages but its users are mostly below the age of 30. This indicates the young and energetic nature of the social media platform, a factor that has been missing from its competitors such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
The number of advertisers on Instagram has doubled over the last year and with good reason. While Facebook suffered a loss of user-base when it began allowing advertisers onto the website, Instagram has faced no such challenges and continues to steadily grow its popularity and reputation. In a survey of 2,500 micro-influencers, 60% of them believed Instagram was the ideal platform for engagement.
Some professionals have laid out a basic guideline to ensure maximum user engagement on Instagram. The first strategic guideline is to focus heavily on the image quality even if it requires some basic photography training. Another important aspect to remember is to always keep the material light, breezy and casual.
A brand or business must always have a call to action when advertising on any social media platform, this is especially essential for Instagram. Rewards for followers are always encouraged. These rewards offer users an incentive to stick around and are usually in the form of exclusive content, promo codes, discounts and often as simple as thank you messages.
Instagram has often been described as a ‘sassy marketplace’ and as such is the perfect platform for brands looking to engage with the younger demographic. This demographic is all about beautification, motivation and the desire to make the world a better place and that is precisely why cause related marketing is incredibly fruitful through Instagram.
With the daily use of Instagram increasing and user-base getting wider with every passing day, there is no real indication that this platform’s popularity will die down anytime soon. Who knows, maybe it is a gateway for us to revert back to the illustration-driven communicative habits of the ancient Egyptians.
As Instagram sits comfortably beside Facebook as the second most popular social media platform, it is probably not a bad idea to begin or further familiarize oneself with its dynamics in order to better promote a business, a hobby or even an idea. The time is now, the engagement is wow and the place? It’s Instagram.
Jill Taylor, USC™, UFSC™, UCPO™, UDRC™
Certified UltimateStager™ | Feng Shui Specialist™
Ultimate Professional Organizer™ | Ultimate Decorator & ReDesigner™
Manager of Student Experience & Tutoring