I (Kiruba Shankar) recently conducted a two day hands-on workshop on Digital Marketing for senior business leaders. As part of my preparation for the workshop, I discovered a startling truth. Most businesses were heavily spending their advertising budgets on Facebook. But the target audience, youngsters in their teens and twenties, were increasingly favouring apps like Instagram and Snapchat.
The senior executives were blissfully aware of the changing trend and it’s important for all of us to play catch up. In this column, I want to focus on why Instagram has caught the fancy of the youth, how different is it from Facebook, and most importantly, how you can make the most of this app.
Within just three months since the launch of the app, it shot up to the top of the app ranking and garnered an astounding 10 lakh users. This meteoric growth caught the attention of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Two years later, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for over Rs.6,000 crore.
Instagram now has over 65 crore users worldwide. The Indian youth have now taken a fancy and they seem to prefer Instagram over Facebook. Like they say, when your parents and grandparents join a social network, it’s time for the youngsters to move to a new one.
And that’s exactly what’s happening. Instagram is considered new and cool and there is a general disregard for an old platform like Facebook. The growing adoption of smart phones and increasingly quality of the cameras has boded very well for Instagram. Instagram’s key feature was camera filters and it gave the power to the users to spruce up and beautify their photos.
Unlike Facebook, there was no need to do much of writing. Photos convey way better emotions than text and its easy content to produce. We are all very visual creatures and we respond and engage with photos way better than text.
Some of the Indian brands that are using Instagram cleverly are Kingfisher beer and PaperBoat Drinks. Individuals like Amar Ramesh, the celebrated wedding photographer and creator of Big Short Films have, found better engagement on Instagram. He says he sees better engagement for his photos and videos on Instagram than on Facebook. To get your photos and stories on Instagram get better reach, use tags wisely.
Find out what tags are popular and which has topical significance. Don’t go overboard with tags. Stick to three or four relevant tags. Much like other social networks, the success of your account depends on how much engagement happens.
The best way to encourage more likes, comments and shares is to ask a question or your audience’s opinion. While Instagram started off with just photos, their video feature and stories features are getting increasingly popular.
Start following other active people. CEOs like Virgin’s Richard Branson and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone are active.
You learn a lot by watching. Then, take the plunge. Download the app, if you haven’t already, and start experimenting. Wishing you the best and may you have an enjoyable experience.
The writer is a digital entrepreneur, professor and author of five books. He can be reached at Kiru ba@Kiruba.com.