Discord around Instagram is rife with negativity when it comes to our wellbeing (and perhaps rightly so). When people talk about the impact Instagram has had on our lives, conversation is usually angled towards vanity, or concerns over anxiety amongst our younger generations.
For all its potential faults, however, Instagram is making us better marketers. It makes us see ourselves through other people’s eyes. We think about what content is most likely to appeal, get engagement, boost our stats – even start more conversations.
Rather than simply doing what we want to do, going where we want to go, or wearing what we’d normally wear, we make decisions based on what we think will have the biggest impact among our peers. And this can be a conscious or an unconscious decision.
We consider timing when it comes to sharing our updates with the world, and we even adopt a trial and error approach with our content, recalling that previous post that did really well and trying to recreate the same success.
It also encourages brevity. Whilst Instagram is of course, a predominantly visual platform, the captions we do use tend to be short and sweet. As writers, we’re often given wordcounts to meet, when the first thing you’re taught in any writing course, workshop, or degree, is that less is more. Write your content, then go back and cut out anything that isn’t crucial to your point. Concise copy has more impact.
Obviously we all know these fundamental elements of marketing but Instagram is making these our mindset rather than just a practice.
Perhaps it’s because we feel the “success” or “failure” of a post more personally, we are influenced by this the next time we post. There’s not the level of detachment we’d have when marketing our own or our clients’ businesses. I think also, the frequency with which we use social channels like Instagram is what helps this become more of a mindset than a practice. We’re fast becoming a generation that eats, sleeps and breathes social media, so of course this is going to infiltrate into other areas of our lives.
Instagram also reminds us to be closer to the competition. We all do a competitor research before we put together a new marketing strategy, but there’s a big difference between a quick SWOT analysis and being surrounded by others in your space (in the case of Instagram – friends and acquaintances). It provides you with ideas, it encourages you to up your game, and you can learn from the successes (or failings) of other people’s content.
Even if we keep track of our competitors in a more professional capacity, it’s not as invasive. It’s much easier to ignore.
I think to a certain extent, being an Instagram user has an unconscious impact on what kind of marketer you are, however, I think we can also take a conscious effort to treat our own and our clients’ marketing more like our Instagram accounts.