If your brand isn't already on Instagram, it should be. http://www.fastcompany.com/3032848/nofilter-necessary-why-the-smartest-brands-are-on-instagram
Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new FastCompany.com?

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.

Why Every Brand Should Be On Instagram

Bring your brand to your audience—where they document their lives, one tiny square photo at a time.

Marketing is about reaching consumers to invoke a change in their behavior, giving them a call to action. The only way to truly make that shift in perception is to be where people are engaging and spending time. So why is Instagram so important for marketers?

Well, let’s look at the data (because we all love data): Last year mobile media consumption surpassed online for the first time with more than 100 million daily active users, 1.6 billion daily likes, and 20 billion shared photos. And if you’re looking to target millennials, the numbers are even better: With 42% penetration of millennial smartphone users, they spend more than an astounding 439 minutes per month on the platform, according to comScore Mobile Trends 2014.

So how does Instagram stack up against other social platforms, especially those that have been around longer?

A recent study by Forrester Research found that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. All data indicates that users are moving away from Twitter and Facebook and shifting their time to Instagram. This absolutely proves that Instagram is the best social and mobile platform for brands to reach audiences that are willing to engage. If you’re not marketing on Instagram, you’re missing out.

The reason for this unusually high engagement is driven by the consumer, as they crave to visually share their stories, reactions, and experiences—Instagram offers a platform for this with its unique ability to highlight visual content (and all marketers know that visual content is king).

Content on Instagram is simply more sharable, easier to understand, and far more universal than other types of content.

Visual storytelling is an art form on Instagram, and to be able to craft a conversation over an extended period of time is a skill that needs to be harnessed. In order to capture the attention of that audience you must be active on the platform, creating content that is not only engaging but also shareable for your target audience.

Influencers are key

The most powerful marketing comes from friends, family, someone you follow, or someone you trust—we call these people influencers. To reach the ideal audiences for your brand you must connect with and utilize these influencers.

Influencers have crafted and honed their content to grow the following they have. Given the proper guidelines, they can create content for a product or idea that will resonate with your audience and will have a lasting impression. A typical influencer can reach upwards of 300,000 people with a single post, driving not only massive referral traffic to branded pages but creating real-time advocacy at scale.

They have ability to tell a truly striking story in that mobile environment; it’s essential to collaborate with them and tap into their abilities to work for you.

But marketers beware. When looking to strategize an Instagram influencer marketing campaign, remember the core things that are important:

  • The audience.

    Ensure that you are reaching your target demographic. It’s not just about using influencers, it’s about using the right influencers at scale.
  • Transparent content.

    Ensure transparency of your content and the activity of followers. Just because someone has 1 million followers doesn’t mean they are all active, let alone real accounts.

Instagram is indeed for everyone

If your brand is not on Instagram, it should be. Instagram is beautifully simplistic and the most personal of the mobile platforms. It’s full of potential with people eager to connect with a brand on a more intimate and tangible level.

Creating content for Instagram can be a challenge, it’s true. The importance of visual imagery is key to tell a brand’s story, any brand. Regardless of the industry, any company can create campaigns to utilize this platform to reach their targeted audience, sharing alluring imagery and creative captions.

There are many companies getting it right, using this platform to share their story, their background, and their vision.

Take GE for example—yes the technology heritage brand. Through Instagram, the company beautifully tells its story of where it’s been with throwbacks to robotic prototypes of the 1960s to futuristic innovations in aviation, all through imagery crafted to fit a mere 612x612 pixels.

Whether you’ve been on the platform since its inception or are thinking about dipping your toes in, brands need to utilize Instagram if they truly want to reach and resonate with their audience.

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and what better way to tell your story than a thousand words at a time.

Justin Rezvani is CEO and founder of theAmplify.

[Image: Flickr user Derek Mindler]

Add New Comment


  • Bill Lockley

    I've just signed up to Instagram and I must confess I'm still trying to figure out what the point of it is as it regards my business.

    I'm not selling cupcakes. I don't design clothes. I prepare and host trivia nights at pubs. What I do tends to be far less visual and far more text based than other businesses. While I've signed up and may start using Instagram if I feel there is some benefit to it, but at the moment it seems like it's just Facebook but without any text.

  • Not sure if you're still looking to use Instagram for your pub quiz, Bill (seeing as this was posted 10 months ago)?

    What you might want to try is using Instagram to support your quiz. Get people to follow you on Instagram, and leading up to quiz nights you could post part of an image and have people guess what the image is of or where it was taken.

    Through images, you could also give clues about topics that will be quizzed on.

    Follow your quiz regulars and engage with them, and as Nick says, post images/videos of your quiz nights (it might not hurt to get a photographer to take a few pics and prepare them for you).

  • Nick Hupp

    maybe you aren't thinking of it the right way. What do people want out of a trivia night? My experience is about playing a game, with other people, in competition with other people, and having a few beers. Its social, communal. Can you create something that shows that, maybe a piece of video of a particularly bad answer to a trivia question. Maybe people celebrating the win? Anything that can help somebody feel what they would feel while at one of your events.

  • kayla

    Personally, I use Instagram more than any other social app. For our business though, we've found it hard to gain more followers. Do you have any advice for small businesses? www.brilliantlens.com

  • Hi Kayla,

    Who is your target demographic? Have you posted content that is engaging? Have you tried to engage with people that would be in your target? The final question I always ask my clients to ask themselves is why would someone follow my brand on Instagram?

  • "A typical influencer can reach upwards of 300,000 people with a single post, driving not only massive referral traffic to branded pages but creating real-time advocacy at scale."

    I thought this was a really important quote to focus on. Not only is Justin right about using Instagram influencers for their reach, but the trust and intimacy/authenticity of that trust cannot be replicated at scale. It's an amazingly powerful platform and I'm excited to see how this plays out.

  • Agree from a B2C standpoint that there is value in having an active presence on Instagram but what about B2B? From an Australian standpoint, the majority of Instagram users are females aged between 14-20.