Just over a year ago, Facebook snapped up Instagram for a staggering $1 billion in a move that, at the time, was viewed by many as an attempt to stay relevant among mobile users. Viewed a year later, it remains to be seen whether the investment will pay off for Facebook. But as branding and marketing agency HypeLife Brands mentioned last week, the time is now for brands to start embracing this photo-sharing platform.
For Facebook, the move was a wholly strategic one, instantly allowing all mobile users to access the coveted photo app (Instagram was an Apple exclusive previously). But interestingly, its widened reach hasn’t tarnished the application’s exclusive feel and inherent purity of expression. In speaking with Zach Russell, Brand Strategist at HypeLife Brands’ Kansas City office, he notes, “There’s nothing our clients are more curious about right now than Instagram. There’s a real buzz going on as brands figure out the best ways to reach out and connect with Generation Y, and a lot of that buzz starts with photo sharing apps like Instagram."
"I suppose that's what makes Millennial marketing so interesting," Russell continues, "the fact that one of the best ways to market to Millennials is to make sure that you're not."
Russell points to the general mindset of Millennials with regard to Instagram’s success in sidestepping the negative view of marketing, one that’s hyper-aware and often hesitant to engage with anything that may present itself as a campaign. “Pictures capture a moment in time,” says Russell. “They expose our flaws, they tell stories, they evoke memories. In many ways, there’s nothing more authentic than a photograph. And in today’s heavily mediated world, it’s the authenticity that the Millennial generation craves above all else.”
But Russell also points out that Instagram users have contributed to keeping the platform free of the advertising clutter you may find on other social networking sites. “It’s pretty remarkable, actually,” says Russell, “and refreshing. Here you’ve got millions of people who, except for the usual few, come to express themselves through art, passion, experiences, and life."
“For these reasons, cultivating a following on Instagram may also be the best way to develop loyalty and reach the Millennial consumer base."
As it turns out, Millennials' craving for connections with people they admire and believe in makes Instagram the natural destination for brands looking to tell their unique stories. Perhaps Facebook simply saw the writing on the wall before anyone else, which wouldn’t be the first time.
To learn more about Instagram’s impact on brands or to discover tips for engaging Millennials through photos, visit HypeLife Brands online.
HypeLife Brands is a leading brand development + precision marketing agency dedicated to helping brands engage the Millennial generation. HypeLife serves a select roster of clients across the U.S. focusing on lifestyle startups and challenger SMBs in industries such as arts & entertainment, healthcare, insurance, and world-changers.
Founded in 2001, the agency is headquartered in coastally-located Oceanside, California's Downtown Arts District.
Learn more about HypeLife Brands and their laser focus on Millennial Marketing at HypeLifeBrands.com