If a brand isn’t on Instagram and no one is around to see it, does it even exist?

I was part of a pitch recently for an Instagram campaign, and the client said something that stuck with me. He relayed the story of his boss’s 16-year-old daughter. As part of a normal, everyday conversation among her and her friends, the topic of insurance came up following a social media ad campaign one of them had seen.

The 16 year old brought up her father’s company and the youth benefits it offered. A friend of hers frowned. “I’ve never heard of them before.” She picked up her phone, and after a few seconds of typing said, “They’re not on Instagram.”

Her friend may as well have said, “They don’t exist.” Because to that 16 year old, who no longer watches television without fast-forwarding through the ads or in most cases doesn’t even watch TV at all and instead downloads or streams the latest series and movies, the insurance company that her friend’s dad runs may as well not exist.

After all, marketing is about reaching consumers to invoke a change in their behaviour. The only way to drive that call to action is to be where your target audience is engaging and spending time. And teenagers and young adults, haven’t you heard, spend a lot of time using social media. According to the Global Web Index, an average of 1.89 hours is spent social networking each day and, globally, an impressive 95% of 16-34s have at least one social media account. This figure drops directly in line with age.

So not only do teenagers and young adults use social media, the trend in social is unrelentingly towards the visual.

So let’s talk Instagram for a minute. A recent study by Forrester Research found that Instagram users were 58 times more likely to like, comment, or share a brand’s post than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users.

During the recent Facebook Africa office launch, the parent company of Instagram announced that the picture-sharing social platform’s local usage is growing at 115% per year, faster than Facebook did in this country during the same period.

Worldwide, Instagram reported more than 400-million monthly active users as of September 2015. Over 65% of leading brands already have an active account, but only 19% of those brands have more than 100,000 followers.

According to Forbes, more than ever before, social media users want to see brands posting visual content. In fact, visual content is currently the most important tactic businesses use for optimising their social media content.

A picture is worth a thousand words. And, as someone once said, what better way to tell your story than a thousand words at a time?


Written By: Ines Schumacher