Which one is the last reel you watched or shared today? Who is your favorite influencer? How many times do you check the notification on “Insta”? These casual talks seem quite familiar to you, don’t they? Instagram has become our favorite go-to social media if you are bored or have nothing to do. However, I am the one who checks it even though I’m in the middle of the work. How unnecessary it feels, but you won’t deny the fact that Instagram has become a part of our daily lives. We feel connected to the background music in the reels, we like to share what we are doing on “Insta Stories” and wait for someone’s reply in “DMs”.
Have you ever thought what is the journey Instagram has made to be in the current form it is right now? In this article, you will read everything about the success story of Instagram.
Instagram has a fascinating history, marked by its rapid rise and ability to stay relevant to the changing choices of users. The app is changing the way we socialize, do business, and shape our culture.
Founding of Instagram (2010): Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger co-founded the app in October 2010. Originally known as “Burbn”, it was a location-based check-in app on which users could share their plans, pictures, and check-ins. However, the founders understood that the photo-sharing feature of the app becoming more popular than anything else. Hence, they decided to pivot their focus on it.
Launch as Instagram (October 6, 2010): In 2010, the name has been officially changed to Instagram. It comes from the combination of “Instant Camera” and “Telegram”.
Early Growth (2010-2011): This app attracted one million users worldwide within two months of its launch and gained rapid popularity. The built-in simplicity of its user interface and the variety of photo filters it offered made the app more appealing to a wide audience.
Introduction of Hashtags and Filters (2011): To discover the desired content and share related topics, Instagram introduced hashtag features. Moreover, the platform offers you a number of filters to enhance your photos and videos creatively.
Acquisition by Facebook (April 9, 2012): To boost credibility and resources, huge business ventures take place in every industry. Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 was one of the most significant milestones in the social media industry.
Expansion to Android (April 2012): Initially, only iOS device users could use the app exclusively. In April 2012, the Android version was launched, expanding its user base even further.
Video Sharing (June 2013): To enhance user engagement, Instagram introduced a new feature, Reels, a 15-second video to compete with other emerging platforms like Vine and TikTok. By allowing video sharing, the app became more popular and people started spending more time on the app.
Advertising and Monetization (2013-2014): By introducing sponsored posts and advertisements into users’ feeds, the app started monetization. Due to this, many businesses could advertise their products and services to a broader audience.
Introduction of Instagram Stories (August 2016): The company introduced Stories that were similar to Snapchat’s Stories, in 2016. With the help of this, user can share their photos or videos for 24 hours. This feature was a significant success for the platform.
IGTV (June 2018): To upload long-form video content, Instagram introduced IGTV, to compete with YouTube. The feature was not successful and they discontinued it a few years later.
Instagram Shopping (2019): To shop for products directly from the app, it started shopping to boost its growing influence on social media in e-commerce.
Being a dynamic platform, Instagram offers a range of marketing strategies to engage with the target audience and emerge as a powerful social media tool. Here is a list of marketing strategies the app offers to increase its business:
- Business Profile: By starting a business profile, Instagram provides access to valuable insights that trace your weekly performance through analytics. This feature assists business accounts in developing content strategies and analyzing reach on posts, reels, and stories.
- High-Quality Visual Content: As a visual platform, it requires users to upload high-quality images and videos to reflect the identity of your brand. To make your content viral, it is important to keep consistency in style and aesthetics for building a recognizable presence of the brand.
- Use of Instagram Stories: You can use stickers, polls, and quotations to interact with your audience and drive engagement with them.
- Content Calendar: If you keep uploading similar content every day, the app dumps it in the first stage. The more you share and upload variety, the more you receive a boost from the app. To maintain variety in your content, try to create a content calendar that will help you plan and schedule your posts.
- Hashtags: Users can upload their content and use hashtags to increase their reach to non-followers by using hashtags. Make sure you are using relevant and trending hashtags in your posts to increase discoverability. However, avoid overloading your captions with too many hashtags, as this can be seen as spam.
- Collaborations and Influencer Marketing: The app offers collaboration features for influencers to partner with other brands and extend their reach and credibility. It helps to increase the number of followers and build trust with them.
- Engage with Your Audience: In order to stay relevant, is important to build your community by responding to comments and direct messages (DMs). It helps the brand in long-term success, as people can stay connected.
- User-Generated Content (UGC): Encourage your customers to create content related to your products or services and share it with their profiles. UGC is not only authentic but also an effective way to showcase the real-life use of your products.
- Instagram Advertising: The app earns from sponsored ads and products by targeting a specific demographic and following their interests or behaviors. Its strategy of including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and story ads helps the app earn revenue from it.
- Contests and Giveaways: Run contests and encourage giveaways to boost the authenticity of your business by sharing or tagging friends.
- Live Video: Instagram provides an interesting feature of live video through which you can communicate with thousands of other users and share your opinions on anything. By hosting real-time Q&A Sessions, you can solve queries about the product and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Live video can create a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Geotaging: By using Geotagging, you can add the location to your post or reel and encourage a sense of engagement withers. If you are planning to host an event or are willing to increase local visibility, then Geotaging helps to create awareness among your followers.
- Adapt to Algorithm Changes: The algorithm of Instagram keeps changing frequently and to increase the visibility of your product, you have to adapt to it. Catering to this, you can stay updated with the latest changes and try to adjust your strategy accordingly. Increase your content’s reach by promoting it on different social media platforms.
Challenges and Controversies
In the early years of its settlement, Instagram started facing user privacy concerns. Several incidents of data breach and concerns about personal information of data usage occurred. Moreover, users are complaining about changing algorithms of the app that the reach of the post and reel keep fluctuating. It has been observed that the company has copied several features of other apps like TikTok. The competition with other apps has constantly driven it to innovate and adapt its features in order to increase user engagement. Furthermore, it has faced criticism affecting the mental health of its potential users. The platform promotes unrealistic beauty standards and self-deprecating ideology through cosmetics.
Impact and Influence
Being one of the popular apps among various generations, Instagram has extended its influence across various domains. It is boosting the e-commerce platform by providing a platform for influencers and businesses to drive sales and brand recognition. Furthermore, the platform is playing a crucial role in shaping the trends, starting from food, fashion, travel, books, and lifestyle. It is the preferred medium for promoting awareness about social issues like body shaming, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and climate change activism.
Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Instagram
Instagram is the best example of a business model that has stood with minimum investment and maximum profit proliferation. Several business schools are incorporating it as a case study in their syllabus. So what marketing lessons you can learn from it?
Set an Objective: Although some goals seem too ambitious, you should always set high goals for yourself. Before starting a business, it’s crucial to identify your target audience, since it caters to specific niches. Hence, it’s important for you to be familiar with various methods to convert the target audience into potential customers.
Learn from Influencers: The app supports the idea of following your passion. Catering to this, influencers upload content regularly and inspire others to make their dreams come true. Many people mimic the content uploaded by larger accounts. Similarly, you must have discipline while making efforts and should enjoy what you are doing and think about what you are contributing to society through your business.
User engagement: Without user engagement, every business dies in its initial stage. The app pays attention to users’ social media behavior and promotes high-quality images and educational reels. If you are preparing a business model, make sure that you are building a customer base that will receive something new from it constantly.
Patience and Resilience: The company asks users to have patience in terms of going reels viral, increasing the number of followers, increasing the reach among non-followers, etc. It teaches you not to get demotivated if you aren’t getting the results you desire. Every business requires a process to follow and you should be resilient toward the challenges coming your way.
Instagram started as a simple photo-sharing platform but has now become an important marketing tool for businesses and a part of our daily social media interactions. It is beyond question that it will persist in its evolution, maintaining its relevance in our lives for the foreseeable future. Being one of the most powerful tools, this app is changing the definitions of social interaction, shopping, etc. We hope you enjoyed reading our article and understood what journey it has made throughout all these years.