Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms at the moment, with over 200 million monthly users sharing 60m photos a day.
The Facebook-bought network started as a simple photography app, allowing you to add vintage filters to your photos. Now an increasing number of businesses are signing up to market themselves to younger, more edgy and creative audiences.
The appeal of Instagram is that you don’t need to think of too much to say. A picture speaks 1000 words! When you upload a photo, you can add a simple description, but this is limited to 2200 characters.
Most people just add in a few hashtags here to allow their content to be found by users searching for specific themes, for example #London or #Sunset.
Celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Beyonce are using it to give us an insight into life through their eyes. Luxury brands like Burberry are using it to show us backstage from photoshoots and shows. Food bloggers (such as DeliciouslyElla below) are using it to show us their recipes, where they shop, and their favourite shops. Fitness fanatics are using it to show us videos of their workouts and latest routines. There are so many different genres using the platform, and it suits anyone who has access to exclusive or unique images.
The platform is set to launch advertising options to UK businesses and brands this Autumn (or so I’ve heard), but I think there’s a few things that need improving before they can. Here are three things I’d change to Instagram:
1. Clickable links to external websites:
At the moment it’s very frustrating if you want to direct traffic to an external website. This could be directly to a product for your customers to buy, or it could be to explain a competition or promotion in further detail. The options which brands have at the moment is to add an shortened Bit.ly link, and hope that their customers memorise or copy and paste the link into a browser. Or some brands change their main URL link in their profile to reflect a campaign or competition. Without clickable links, Instagram will have a hard time convincing brands to invest in advertising when there is no easy way Facebook has added tracking ability to it’s advertising platform, and Twitter offers Twitter Cards which offer customers easy ways to direct traffic back to site.
2. Managing multiple accounts from one user
Currently, Instagram community managers must log in as the brand which they are posting on behalf of. This is relatively time consuming for the busy social media manager, who may be managing multiple Instagram accounts. Both Facebook and Twitter offer easy ways to switch between brands, and personal accounts, from one login and this would make taking photos on the move and managing more than one account a whole lot easier.
Instagram currently does not offer any insights or data around your account performance. There is no easy way to track engagement on posts, or find out more information about your follower demographics and location. I currently use Iconosquare to manage accounts, as it is an easy way to track comments and search for hashtags from a browser. You can also look at a snapshot of your activity on Instagram and see which posts performed the best. IconoSquare is currently free, but this may not be forever.
It will be interesting to see how many changes Instagram makes before it launches it’s own advertising platform. Some US brands including Ben and Jerry’s and Levis have already given the advertising a go, and both saw a jump in engagement.
Who do you think will be the first UK brand to try it out? Let me know on Twitter! @AvocadoSocial