BACKGROUND

Instagram is a huge social tool that connects people all around the world by sharing pictures. It has its origin in 2010 in San Francisco with a project to bring photography to mobile phones. Instagram is a huge network with more than 40 million pictures shared, it has 400 million users every month and an average of 80 million photos each day.

Brands can use Instagram to capture new followers, and therefore, new potential customers, due to the fact that Instagram posts generate a participation rate per user of 4,21 per cent; 58 times more than Facebook users, and 120 times more than Twitter users.

After two years of functioning, the launching of Instagram for Android and a couple of uptades, Facebook anounced the adquisition of Instagram for two million of dollars in 2012. This fact was the inflexion point for Instagram. The company has come from one million users registered in 2010 to reach the incredible amount of 100 millions users by September 2012.

WHAT IS INSTAGRAM?

Instagram is an app everyone can get without additional charge and offers users a huge variety of tools that could be used by the user to promote themselves in other social media platforms. It is important for both, users and brands, to benefit from all the tools Instagram offer, in order to influence people, capture new followers and customers. Instagram can serve as a way to influence people through pictures. In order to maintain followers, users must be active in Instagram by post a daily picture or through Instagram Stories.

Instagram's name comes from the combination of Insta ( Instant ) and Gram ( Telegram), the idea comes from the purpose of mixing instant pictures easy to share, and short text that could be used as image captions.

THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

What does Instagram do to attract new users and retain the ones it already has? Instagram first started off as a social media platform through which people could post photos with short texts attached to them. Over the years, Instagram has had to compete with other social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat. This has forced their marketing team to come up with innovative strategies to compete and become a successful company. Some of these strategies include the implementation of Instagram Stories, direct messaging and even the option to upload longer videos.

Instagram is considered one of the most competitive social media platforms when it comes to photo and video content. One of their first social media strategies they implemented to grow in this market was to give the option for users to upload longer videos. This strategy sought to make users spend more time on the application and aimed to increase their satisfaction with the company. Nowadays media has a great influence and more and more people tend to have a shorter attention span. This is why Instagram uses this to their advantage by uploading short videos and therefore people spend more time looking at different types of content. However, they do not make them longer than a minute because their strategy is different to that of YouTube, they seek users that like to have availability to a wider range of content and that enjoy shorter videos.

On the other hand, Instagram includes short advertisements based on users likes and interests. These advertisements are customised for every user and aim to target specific users in order to obtain better sales of their product. This is a way for businesses to promote themselves through Instagram. It is for this reason that Instagram also lets you upload photographs simultaneously on Facebook as well as on their platform. In other words, whenever you upload a photograph on Instagram, you have the option to upload it as well on Facebook and you get a Facebook notification. This makes Facebook users aware and can serve to attract potential new users for Instagram.

In addition, instagram has implemented insta stories to their platform which is a series of short videos and photos that users can upload and that are erased after 24h. This has given the company more versatility and competitiveness in relation to other social media platforms. Also, Instagram promotes itself with sponsorships and different deals with Formula 1 teams, photography events and other companies whom wish to have their endorsement.

WHAT COULD INSTAGRAM IMPROVE?

Because Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms when it comes to photo and video content, they should use this to their advantage by implementing a new type of strategy to retain its users and encourage new ones to use their platform. So as to become more competitive we believe that Instagram could organise photo and video competitions called "insta-competitions". These will be done daily, weekly, monthly or even annually. There would be different prizes for winners like tickets to photography events, cameras, accessories and Instagram merchandise. Also, they would be available for all users and we believe this would attract new users that are interested in photography. With this new strategy, Instagram would grow as a company and users would be more involved and satisfied with their platform.

INSTAGRAM IN THE FUTURE

Instagram has become part of our everyday life, capturing more and more users every week. At this rate Instagram has become a social media giant and with the implementation of "insta-competitions" they will have a greater share in the social media market. These competitions will serve to attract photography enthusiasts with common initiatives and make instagram's community more active. Users will want to compete for prizes and there could even be different divisions like amateur and pro divisions.

All in all this is a great oportunity for instagram because nowadays technology is developing very rapidly and more often than not companies are struggling to keep up with this change. A big actor in this development is media and it is fot this reason that we believe "insta-competitions" will be a huge success, making Instagram the king of social media fotography and video content.

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