I remember when I first downloaded Instagram at the time of its launch back in 2010. I didn’t really understand it, none of my friends or family had it, and I didn’t treat it like a social media site.. All I knew was that it had really awesome photo filters that made my photos look epic! Ask me what I think of Instagram today (four years later) and I’ll tell you something totally different. Instagram is now my social media platform of choice, I’m on it more than I’m on Facebook (in fact at one point, I didn’t even have Facebook) and I never use Instagram filters anymore (my favorite is VSCO). To boot, my jaw literally drops to the floor when someone tells me they don’t have an Instagram and the first response out of my mouth is, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?! Are you serious?” You’re probably wondering, “So what does that have to do with anything? How does that even relate to marketing communications?” Well, the point of my story was to illustrate how much Instagram has evolved from its inception to the important marketing communication tool it is today.
Speaking from personal experience, Iʻve witnessed first hand the power of Instagram. For example, when brazilian bikinis started to trend, I watched a tiny, little, Hawaii bikini shop – @sanlorenzobikinis – go from mom and pop to changing the entire bikini scene. Walk onto any beach in Hawaii… You’ll find that it’s easy to tell the residents from the tourists. Most, if not all, local girls can be found sporting an SL bikini. Theyʻve become so popular, in fact, you can even catch celebrities wearing them.
As a second example and personal experience, there’s a friend of mine’s shave ice (or you might call it a snow cone) truck. Using, absolutely no marketing avenues except Instagram, she and her husband were able to utilize the social media platform to get the word out about their new business. Featuring their patrons with their shave ice concoctions on their Instagram account, @originalbigislandshaveiceinc, was a hit and is continuously drawing in a crowd. In less than a year, the shave ice truck has become known as the best shave ice spot on the west side of Hawaiʻi Island.
From what Iʻve seen, Instagram has really done wonders as a marketing communication tool for small businesses. If Iʻm being honest, Iʻm not sure that Instagram would have the same effect on larger corporations (i.e., producing sales and helping businesses to expand). What do you think?