The Brand vs. Instagram

So I’m probably going to be one of many bloggers out there to comment on the whole Instagram frenzy/debacle/catastrophe or what have you not circulating throughout social media over the past few days, but I thought I’d put my two cents in…. not talking exactly about whether I agree or disagree with the changes, but more specifically, touching on how much power social media apps have over the way businesses operate and do marketing online. 

By neglecting the feed’s chronological order and changing it to show posts that Instagram thinks are of most interest to the user, many small business and young entrepreneurs run the risk of losing their established, follower-base and forego the possibility of becoming #instafamz. But is this what they should really be concerned about?

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@pityreally

Despite their statement on Twitter saying no changes were to be implemented for the time being, the negative response from many users speaks volume about the importance of attracting followers through engaging content both within Instagram and extending beyond to other platforms such as their own branded applications. After all, without this function (i.e. the instantaneity derived from chronological feeds), businesses have only theirselves to rely on. It therefore holds true that, good content = greater reach. Brands must keep in mind the importance of relevancy, and Kaplan’s (2014) four I’s (individualise, integrate, involve and initiate) provide critical advice on how they can uphold that.

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Like many other fashion brands, the Australian online fashion retailer The Iconic generates involvement by hosting the occasional photo contest and encouraging users to post/hashtag/tag. This creative process often creates excitement among followers (particularly when ultimately there is a reward waiting in the end) and initiates the creation of user-generated content. The holy grail for mobile social media.

In 2014, the brand was awarded “Best Mobile Commerce Application” winner at the Oria awards, based on great feedback from customers. Their app provides easy integration into user’s lives by allowing customers to scroll through and purchase clothing items instantly through a fast and secure checkout, anywhere at anytime. It is also somewhat individualised in the sense that users are able to sort through clothing based on their needs and interests (i.e. filtered by brand, colour, price, size or whether it is a sale item).

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The Iconic App

Adding to all the hysteria, just a few hours ago Instagram also put forth an announcement stating they will officially be updating their video function which will allow users to record for up to 60 seconds (a jump from the current 15 secs) and create videos with multiple clips from your camera roll. So how exactly will these changes to mobile social media technology affect marketing? This will provide more creative opportunities for businesses and force them to rethink their video marketing strategy. However, at the same time they must ensure what they post is captivating enough to hold the viewer’s attention as most often it takes only a split second to decide whether or not to continue watching.

Other sources: 
Kaplan, A. (2012). If you love something, let it go mobile: Mobile marketing and mobile social media 4×4. Business Horizons, 55(2), 129-139.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2011.10.009

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