Why Instagram is a powerful tool for change
Before moving any further, take a look at these mindblowing statistics:
500+ million users worldwide
75 million daily users
About 30% of the US population uses Instagram
49% of the US population uses Instagram on a daily basis
Instagram became a king of social engagement, surpassing social platforms like Facebook and Twitter by 29% and 60% explains Nate Elliott of Forrester Research. What’s more, Instagram allows you to share content on other social networking platforms such as Twitter, Linkedln, Facebook, Tumblr, and Flickr. Instagram is a powerful tool because it allows not only to engage but also influence the opinions of others. From big business to popular influencers, Instagram has become the primary source of sharing news, promoting products, and generating a steady following. Instagram lets you find whatever and whoever you want just with a few clicks, letting you send messages videos and even going live. Still not convinced that Instagram is one of the most powerful social media platforms? Well just take a look at some of the examples, in which Instagram completely changed the trajectory.
© RachelRyle’s Instagram
The Flamingo Story
Did you ever think that your regular pool floats can sell for up to $99? Apparently, their popularity spiked after a few Instagram posts in 2015. It all started with a post by Taylor Swift, pictured on a white swan float. A few weeks later, animal floats became ‘the hottest trend of the season.’ Mandi Ansari, a lifestyle blogger, explains that every year the design changes, altering the trend along with it. Blake Barrett, co-founder of Funboy, a Los Angeles-based company that sells a variety of summer essentials said that his sales skyrocketed after Swift’s Instagram post. And let’s not forget that the company was only a few weeks old at that time. Furthermore, Barrett explains that everything they make must look good on Instagram. It’s the idea that everyone can have fun and post trendy photos in place of expensive yachts and private jets.
© Diamond_travellove Instagram
Ultimately Instagram allowed people to get closer to the famous lifestyles promoted by celebrities. According to Mic, sales on inflatable swans doubled after Swift posted her Instagram picture. Moreover, searches for pool floats are at all-time-high and google searches for adult pool floats are at a five-year high, thanks to Taylor Swift. You can even find events, such as Floatchella, which hosts an annual float event near the Jersey Shore and gathers over 1,000 participants with their floats. Inflatables help to grab attention. Some say that it’s like having an expensive car that you can showcase. However, floats are also available to everyone at an affordable price, starting at $15.
Besides business promotion, Instagram can also serve as a platform to make a change and help social activism.
Instagram and Social Activism
Instagram, a visual-first medium, has a great power to drive social activism. Images can be more emotionally charged, and make more impact on people compared to a tweet. Just take a look at the cause such as climate change. A photo can be much more effective in delivering the message, and examples of it can be seen from posts about #MeToo, BlackLivesMatter or even Hunger in Yemen. But the question is whether all of these campaigns on social media generate results. According to The New York Times, the answer is yes. For example, for the #MeToo movement, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by Rainn, noticed a 30% rise in incoming phone calls. Another example, #TimesUp, raised $25 million to date thanks to Instagram.
© Natalie Portman’s Instagram
Despite the positive influence, Instagram can also cause a number of controversies. Accounts can get a lot of bad press, for using serious campaigns for personal gains, just like during California wildfires during which influencers used the situation to promote their personal brands.
Regardless, Instagram can make a change. What a photo on Instagram can do, unlike the image in a magazine, is attract the right audience that could potentially get in contact with the organizer and either participate by helping directly or spreading the information on their stories.
How Influencers use Instagram to make a living
The word ‘influencer’ entered the dictionary last year. An influencer is someone who uses social media, such as Instagram, to sell their brand or even lifestyle. An influencer can range from a world-famous celebrity to Instagrammers with millions of followers. It’s the idea that ‘anyone can do it’ that draws people to influencers. Tora Northman, an influencer with a following of 41K, asserts that it became easier to become an influencer and that all you need to do is to create an Instagram account, thanks to brands who partner with ‘micro-influencers.’ Amy Valentine, on the other hand, another influencer with 140K followers, thinks that it’s not easy to become an influencer. She claims that having ideas is not enough; an influencer also needs to understand how to make them marketable.
© HudaBeauty’s Instagram
Influencers also claim that people are looking for feeds that are real and not well polished. Being able to stand out is what can make you a successful influencer. Today, influencers are forced to be more transparent in what they post, specifying whether their content is an ‘ad’ or ‘gifted.’ Although influencer culture hasn’t peaked yet, it continues to evolve daily. For many influencers, social media is the only means of income. For example, Huda Kattan quit her job and with the help of social media started her own beauty company, which is now worth more than $1bn.
How Business can sell their products on Instagram
Instagram makes it easy for businesses to expand. Not only can they create awareness by posting regularly about the brand, but now they can even sell their products by letting qualified companies to tag their products in images and videos and then turn them into shoppable links. Statistics show that 80% of Instagram users already follow an active shopping business. Ads on Instagram cost money, but businesses can sell without spending a dime. What’s more, 38% of customers claim that they often buy products they see on Instagram.
Instagram makes it really easy for consumers to make a purchase. By clicking on a tag, followers are taken directly to the page where they can buy the product. In addition, businesses can also add CTA in the Instagram bio that links to an Instagram landing page. This way, companies can make sales without spending their budget.
© SkinCeuticals Instagram
Regardless of your status, whether you’re a celebrity, business or just a regular user who aspires to become an influencer, Instagram lets your voice be heard.