Props to Facebook for purchasing Instagram because now while many are experiencing Facebook fatigue, Instagram is blowing up. Recently, I too decided to take a Facebook hiatus and have replaced the gapping hole left in my heart with Instagram. I was tired of filtering through ads and promoted page posts on Facebook and have since found a new friend in Instagram's simplicity. Apparently, I am not alone. In just a little more than three years since its initial launch in October 2010, Instagram has grown to 100 million monthly active users (another reason Facebook bought the company).
Now that the app has gained more traction, many companies have started to recognize the value Instagram offers and the relevancy of visual content marketing. Brands are beginning to understand that sharing images is a quick, effective way to spread awareness and cultivate relationships.
Companies are exploring how to tell their story and connect with users via Instagram and this phase of experimentation offers great learning for these companies and other brands out there.
A company that has experimented and has done so effectively is General Electric. While the brand isn't necessarily “hip,” and its products aren't all that exciting, the company has managed to gain a following of 132,013. How does a mainly B2B company become an Instagram leader? General Electric thinks outside of the refrigerator and posts images of their products from an artistic perspective.
It's apparent the company is less focused on branded images and trying to sell their products and more concerned with creating awareness for their brand -- who they are and what they do with behind the scenes photos.
After perusing the accounts of a few popular companies on Instagram, I took notice of the reasons why these brands have found success on the social media platform. It seems all post interesting images that have less of a focus on the brand itself and more of a focus on its culture. Red Bull posts images that reflect the lifestyle of the brand –- think of snowboarders getting air, skateboarders doing ollies, and skydivers jumping out of planes.
These brands also post consistently and post often, leading to a stronger following of their fans. NBC News has a following of 322,596 and posts beautiful images from around the world every single morning without fail. Free People, owned by Urban Outfitters, engages their fans by encouraging them to submit pictures wearing Free People denim, which Free People then posts to their Instagram. Lastly, companies that have found popularity on Instagram are sticking with a theme. For example, MTV posts behind the scenes images from events (candids of Channing Tatum).
Instagram has now proven itself to its social media competitors by offering a new way to express yourself and promote your company. 40 million pictures are posted daily –- don’t miss the opportunity to join the next best thing (after Facebook, of course).
What brands do you think are using Instagram effectively? Please share.