Instagram has gone from a selfie platform to a storytelling platform overnight. It's quickly challenging the social media trifecta of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn through photo sharing in a mobile world. Instagram gives brands an opportunity to tell their story through visuals. From the time we're kids, visuals have played a significant role in our ability to understand and connect with stories. Whether it was a picture book our elementary teacher read to us or the colouring book we got for Christmas; visuals have forever allowed us to better understand a story and connect with it. In marketing,storytelling is an art that needs to be considered and applied like a science.
Storytelling is the glue to building stronger relationships with your audience and being unforgettable. It's stories that are shared, remembered and passed on from one generation to the next. In a world filled with noise, it's important that brands embrace storytelling as one of the best ways to cut through the noise and stand out. In 2014 Instagram will continue offering brands an opportunity to achieve social media success while becoming a more mature platform for marketers. I'm confident that this will be the year where more brands start to leverage Instagram and achieve success. We've already seen brands from boring industries leverage content marketing tools like Instagram and that trend will only continue.Here are a few reasons why Instagram will rule in 2014:
Social Becomes More Visual
It's impossible to predict the future without considering the actions of the past. If you look at the last twelve months, there has been a significant increase in the number of photos shared on social media. With channels like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook putting more focus than ever on photos and visual assets, it's clear that this is where the future of social lies. On Twitter, images are now showing up directly in your newsfeed instead of forcing people to click a link to view the photo. While Twitter & Facebook have battled back and forth this year over where Instagram fits into the mix, I think 2014 will be the year both sides come to an agreement that Instagram can enhance the user experience on Twitter. As such, Instagram photos will have more reach and be able to
Sponsored Posts Become Mainstream
Instagram has already rolled out their approach to ads with companies like Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s expressing positive results. Similar to most advertising platforms, they measured success by gauging the amount of reach they achieved through instagram along with qualitative metrics surrounding the ability for users to recall the campaigns. While these advertisements will continue to develop and drive success in 2014, sponsoring posts by influencers is where I see Instagram really growing as a marketing tool. There are thousands of power users on Instagram who influence culture and the buying behaviours of their networks. Identifying these people and paying to have them post about your brand is something that will become very common place in the upcoming year. I've spoke with many brands and startups leveraging this tactic at a reasonable rate with a great return.
Instagram Hasn't Peaked Yet
This is only the beginning. We haven't seen the true marketing power of Instagram yet but 2014 will be the year. The landscape is ready and marketers are finally starting to understand how they can use a tool like instagram to tell their story and connect with their audience in a more compelling way. I'm excited to see how Instagram continues to grow and how they react to the Snapchat comparison as they continue to shape the photo sharing industry.