In September of this year Instagram hit the huge milestone of 400 million users, with more than 75 million of those users logging on daily. As we reach Instagram’s 5th birthday (October 6th) I’ve been thinking about my top 5 trends past and future, as well as what we’ve learned about ourselves and the platform.
1. But first, let me take a selfie!
Come on, admit it, you’ve taken one. We’ve all taken one. The selfie. Love them or loathe them, Instagram is the breeding ground of the selfie. Kim Kardashian-West and her 48 Million followers even bought her book full of them. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said ‘ahh leave them to it, the selfie is harmless’. That was before the creation of the selfie-stick, this I simply cannot excuse and if I ruled the world I would ban them in a heartbeat.
2. #CatsOfInstagram #NoFilter #SorryNotSorry
Although Twitter was known for the rise of the hashtag, to convey a feeling or summarise a tweet when the 140 character limit held you back. Instagram is where we have seen hashtags become universal, inclusive and often hilarious. As I’m writing this there are currently 24,711,910 posts with the hashtag #CatsOfInstagram. That’s more than the entire population of Australia. Streuth! Hashtags like this have allowed fellow cat-enthusiasts to find each other, to build a global community and share the trials and tribulations of their favourite feline friends.
3. Hot dogs or legs?
Gone are the days where your uncle Bob invites you over to look through endless slides of his recent trip to the Costa Del Sol. Now we’re faced with the social media equivalents, check-ins, artistic sunsets, naughtily named cocktails and my favourite, hot dogs or legs? Instagram has enabled us to create a picture postcard version of our lives. Unlike the more rant-friendly Facebook, Instagram is a place of positivity where we share the best moments in our lives and take pride in curating images we want the world to see.
Increasingly in the last year we have seen brands realise that instagram is a powerful tool for customer service. Your customers are talking to their peers about your products, bloggers are leaving mini reviews for their communities and if you’re not having a conversation with them then you’re missing out on marketing and customer service opportunities. New functionality also allows forward thinking companies to monitor geotags and hashtags, joining the customer where they are.
“We see instagram as a big opportunity to leap from remedying issues to making the experience better for guests” - Director of Social Strategy & Activation for Hyatt, Dan Moriarty
5. Buy Buy Buy.
With Instagram’s media rich content it’s no surprise that the platform lends itself so well to advertising and ecommerce. The new Call To Action buttons will seem as intuitive as the regular interface for users but will open huge doors for brands. With ecommerce set to boom through Instagram I can only assume that customer service will do the same.
And then at long last I’ll finally be able to buy a t-shirt with my cat selfie printed on it all through Instagram. Maybe I’ll send it to them for their birthday.