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21 September 2016

Social Media Week 2016: Instagram - A Community Led App

Written by: Jules Delay, Junior Writer at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight, Innovation, Media

Instagram recently passed the ½ billion user mark, with more than 4.2 billions likes and 95 million images posted a day. With numbers of this scale cementing its status as one of the few truly global apps, David Cuen, International Lead of Community Teams, gave an interesting insight into why Instagram is fundamentally community centric and a missed opportunity for brands and agencies alike. David was keen to point out that 80% of Instagram users are outside of the US: it’s a platform that fits the global model, and has specific national community managers to support this mentality. So, why is Instagram “community first”? 

Predominantly, because Instagram evolves by listening to the community. The additions of video content, boomerang, hyperlapse and Instagram stories have all been because of direct and overwhelming feedback from the community. As an app, Instagram’s success derives from its engagement rate – something they refer to as the 1,2,3 rule internally (for every 1 photo you post, you should comment on two other images/videos and like 3 more). Developments in the platform must always help promote the 1,2,3 rule but also be loyal to their three key values: they want the app to act as a tool where you can make simple, creative and inspirational content. 

One undervalued offering from Instagram that marketers can benefit from is InstaMeet events. These events are promoted here, and see the app actively seeking to connect communities in real time. Whether it’s meeting around a sporting event, a social activation, a “photowalk” or a scavenger hunt, there are numerous ways that we can use this to help our brands access the community/audience they are trying to reach. 

When it comes to their most recent platform addition, Instagram Stories, David had a succinct answer when questioned on how similar this feature is to Snapchat Stories. As far as he is concerned, Instagram stories is a necessary feature for Instagram because it allows users to produce more content without spamming their feed. For those who want to engage further with their followers, it offers that access. But, crucially, it doesn’t overload their feed, taking away from the engagement that the app offers as a whole. This development is again one that we can incorporate into our content agreements and understanding of influencer activities across a range of accounts.

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