Tuned: Why brands should click, tag, post on Instagram
by Thabang Leshilo (@Thabang_Leshilo) There are over 1m active Instagram users in South Africa, according to Mike Wronski, managing director of Fuseware. While this number could be regarded as insignificant compared to the near 10m Facebook users in the country, it signals an important opportunity for brands to gain traction with its early adopters.
Personal observations of the medium suggest there are two types of Instagram users. The majority currently embrace the photo-sharing platform with gay abandon and no self-censorship to post filtered selfies, sunsets and rainbows, images of every meal eaten out and even whole albums at a time.
But there are also individuals who are more discerning, who use the platform more sparingly and as a means of self-expression.
These folk — the minority — are behaving like artists or social commentators as they post beautifully captured images of all kinds of interesting and unique findings, or of subjects that are of particular interest to them.
For brands, Instagram provides insight into people’s greatest passions helping their custodians and ambassadors understand what makes them tick.
Also, it enables brands to keep in step with the most emergent happenings and trends from the ‘cool kids’ of Mzansi, and then reflect these in their communications. The trick is to identify the right people to follow (not stalk).
Importantly, the ‘cool kids’ — early adopters — certainly do expect brands to engage with them on Instagram. If you, as brand custodian, are still asking yourself if your brand should be active on the photo-sharing app or not, consider these 2014 Instagram report statistics (from startup company Olapic and research firm L2):
- Engagement on Instagram is 15 times that of Facebook, with users spending an average of 257 minutes per month.
- Instagram receives 1 000 comments and 8 500 likes per second. That comes to 1.2bn likes per day.
- More than 16bn photos have been shared to date, with an average of 55m uploaded each day.
- The number of users has increased 66% to 32m users, it’s the fastest growing of the top 10 mobile apps.
- Instagram ads have helped retailers increase ad recall by 32% and boost brand message lift by 10%.
Starbucks and Nike are the best international examples I know of mastering this platform, using their own content and user-generated content. While very few South African brands are present on Instagram, there are a few doing a great job of it: Woolworths (currently SA’s leading brand on Instagram), BOS Ice Tea and Yuppiechef.
Time to click, tag, post?
Thabang Leshilo (@Thabang_Leshilo) is a project manager at strategic marketing consultancy Added Value. As a ‘next-generation’ marketer with fresh and curious eyes looking into the industry, she has a keen interest for brands that are culturally in tune with and able to integrate and immerse themselves into the everyday realities of the consumer. She contributes the monthly “Tuned” column, sharing marketing insight and analysis, to MarkLives.
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