THE CMO'S GUIDE TO INSTAGRAM: WHY BRANDS
MUST BE VISUAL TO GAIN VISIBILITY
by Kashem Miah and Nick Burd with Doug Platts, iCrossing
Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion highlights the
importance of visual storytelling for marketers looking to build connected
brands with social and mobile. Text, links, and video have long been the gold
standard for awareness, visibility, and engagement. But the ubiquity of camera
phones and the enduring popularity of photo-friendly social platforms such as
Facebook and Twitter have allowed images to become some of the most engaging
and shareable content on the web. To build close relationships with their audiences, brands need visual
strategies, and Instagram is arguably the current leader in visually representing brand identities.
In this POV, we’ll highlight the key takeaways, recommend next steps for marketers looking to visually
share their brand story using Instagram, and give an update on Facebook’s acquisition of the platform and
discuss what’s next in terms of advertising opportunities on the platform.
WHAT IS INSTAGRAM?
Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter, and then share it instantly.
Sharing is enabled for a variety of social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare, as well
as Instagram's own network. It is also the biggest mobile social media network; the majority of its activities and community exist
solely within iOS and Android mobile apps.
The fact that Instagram is primarily a mobile platform is particularly important, given the fact that people are increasingly
accessing the Internet via a mobile device. According to a recent study by the International Telecommunication Union (ICT),
there are almost 6 billion active mobile subscriptions in the world, easily surpassing other access methods such as broadband
and dial-up. In fact, mobile usage has grown 45% annually over the last four years, ushering in what some are already calling
the Mobile Age.
As with most social networks, Instagram allows users to follow each other; they can also tag other users, use hashtags, and like
uploaded pictures that are shared within their stream from people they follow, which is now integrated with Facebook for greater
visibility and engagement.
Instagram’s popularity is mostly due to the instant shareability, but also its ability to make photos taken with a mobile device look
more professional and stylized.
The application is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 3.1.2 or above, and any mobile phone running
Android 2.2 or above. It is a free app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.