Instagram and the New Social Networking Order of Operations

The recent news of Instagram’s newest foray into the Web interface and experience has been fodder for much conversation. All excitement not withstanding, what we're witnessing right now could very well be a blueprint on how to build your brand's presence, digitally and socially, for the foreseeable future.

Instagram layout

All similarities to another social media channel’s visual layout aside, earlier I had planned on writing about how the use of Instagram was transcending the social web as we know it. This thought was spawned while watching an episode of ESPN’s E:60 that was being directed to behind the scenes photography on Instagram images. We here at Blue Fountain Media have held many conversations about how a hashtag on Instagram can both make your content easier to find and serve as an entrance point for your audience. Not only is this point of entry and the ability to easily index your content important for engagement, it also helps people relate and having a major brand validate and actuate this sentiments gives us more credibility. #humblebrag

UX and You Eye

Nike Instagram

Even when Instagram introduced this update to their previously non-existent Web presence, it was a present to most users. The ability to enjoy the Instagram experience on a desktop only makes sense, no matter how many allude to the demise of the desktop, as it provides more opportunity and a higher reach—both principles of traditional marketing which, lo and behold, still exist.

The current version builds upon this by making it easier for users to review and select images on which they can like and comment.

It’s also more visually pleasing and nice to see a more dynamic cover photo for users… oops, did I say that out loud?

The road map courtesy of basic principles

Let’s step away, for just a moment, from the philosophy of digital marketing strategy that states that visually satisfying content is the way to go. Instead, lets delve deeper into what is taking place here by looking into how Instagram became successful:

  • They identified a target audience;
  • They also identified a target activity;
  • Built a tool that matched audience behavior (mobile) and made it easier for the user’s activity to take place (sharing);
  • Grew their audience; and
  • Expanded the experience to new channels.

We continually see and read posts on how much and how quickly mobile use is growing. This is especially true in the social space - where the intersection of digital and traditional marketing resides. Instagram’s order of operations illustrates how, no matter the channel, we must look at how to market through the eyes of the user. What do they want? How best can they use our product or service? These are not only the keys to success, but also the keys to successful growth.

What’s next?

Well, if you have your new Instagram available (if not, just wait a few days), you will quickly notice that there is essentially no control over which pictures scroll above the fold. Their seemingly arbitrary or unknown algorithmic formula has yet to be solved. However, let’s look at this as another opportunity for growth. It’s worked so far…

Whats been your experience? Send us a Tweet @BFMweb, or leave a comment below!

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