Why Online Brands in India should use Instagram Right Now!

Instagram is all a rage these days in India. A great place to be creative and express yourselves. Globally, it has become quite popular with consumers and thus also with marketers. Online brands around the world have used Instagram for growth and engagement. We take our examples from Airbnb (a marketplace to list and rent homes — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbnb), to look at how they used Instagram to their advantage. So read on if you want to know why you should use Instagram right now.

Instagram’s growing popularity in India:

Instagram is an online photo/video sharing social media mobile app that started in 2010. Instagram had 100 million active users globally within 2 years and 300 million active users within 4 years! Quite naturally then that marketers took notice and became active too. Instagram was not too crowded with overflowing marketing messages, so the opportunity to connect with target audience was huge.

Airbnb took advantage of this opportunity to reach millions. They simply used a lot of high-quality images from all over the world to connect with its travel-spirited consumers. This prompted the ‘’selfie-mobile-user’’ travel community on Instagram to share their images of far off travels with Airbnb. Soon, users that wanted to rent out their homes also joined to share innovative images with Airbnb. By connecting both of these growing communities on Instagram, they were able to increase their followers.

Now, the same opportunity that Airbnb had, also lies in the Indian market. Because consumers in India are just about getting warmed up with Instagram. With approx. 9 million ‘’Instagrammers’’ in India, a number that doubles every year, it provides a great opportunity for the Indian online brands today. Typically, an ‘’Instagrammer’’ in India is young, upwardly mobile and with a good spending power. This demographic is out there, living their lives and regularly shares images of their recent purchase/recent travel/recent experience, etc. As a brand, you cannot afford to miss out on connecting with this demographic on Instagram.

Instagram is a great place to position your brand:

Instagram is all about sharing images. So brands will definitely get noticed through innovative use of images. A marketer can very easily register and create a profile page on Instagram with a few description lines and a few set of images. To launch a marketing campaign, they only have to post thematic and engaging images. The more relevant the images are to the brand/product/service the more likes, re-share or comments it gets. Creating hashtags also makes sure that users are able to follow all the content shared. Brands can easily shape their positioning with the right use of relevant images.

For example, Airbnb was seen as a low cost option for traveling on a budget. Airbnb wanted to move away from this branding. So, they started using beautiful images of unusual homes at exotic far off locations. This changed their branding from a ‘’low cost’’ travel option to an ‘’experiential’’ travel option. This way Airbnb also connected to a larger community of travelers who want to explore exotic, innovative, personal and humane staying options over hotels! With time, Airbnb also launched more types of campaigns and even contests on Instagram.

Instagram is a great place to generate customer driven content:

Users can simply use their mobile phones to click an image or record a short video through the Instagram mobile app. Then they post it with a description, use popular hashtags and also tag friends. Instagram also provides a range of image filters that quickly converts a ‘’normal’’ click in to a piece of art!

Since an average user can post great looking images, Instagram becomes a great place to generate crowd sourced content. This way brands with customer driven content can stay relevant and engaging for a longer time.

For example — Airbnb launched a video marketing contest on Instagram called ‘’Airbnb Shorts’’ in 2015. It encouraged its followers to share 15 second videos of cities that inspired travelers. These videos were obviously voted through likes on Instagram (as easy as double tapping the post!).The best of videos were given free air tickets and stay at some very exotic Airbnb listed homes! These crowd sourced videos became quite a sensation that drove thousands of followers to connect with Airbnb. And, Airbnb also got a lot of interesting insights into traveler behavior for future content marketing strategies.

Instagram is a great place to get organic reach:

As soon as marketers launch a marketing campaign, they can get likes, shares and comments within a few minutes. Since humans simply love to watch and share images/videos, Instagram has potentially a wider organic reach than any other social media site. For example — on Facebook, brands cannot use their company page to reach each of their own followers! The post is either lost due to some algorithm or some filtered view. Whereas on Instagram, followers can easily see each of the post shared by a brand! This element is compounded by the fact that there are comparatively lesser amount of paid/sponsored marketing messages to distract them.

Perhaps the only limiting element of Instagram is that it allows only one hyperlink and that too in the profile! So a shopping element is missing like the Facebook store. But this too adds to a greater engagement with users as they do not constantly leave Instagram to follow the link in every post! Such a level of organic reach and engagement leads to better conversion than any other social media site.

Summary:

Airbnb has now got over 1.5 million homes listed for rentals across 191 countries. A large part of its success can also be attributed to Instagram, which has 1.1 million Airbnb followers!

Some of the online brands in India that have used Instagram for marketing campaigns, such as ‘’Grofers’’, have also seen approx. 8% incremental reach to target audience. The next phase of growth in Instagram followers is now brought upon by Bollywood celebrities creating their profiles!

So in summary, we have seen why Instagram with its great growth opportunity, easy to market elements, ability to stay relevant and better reach, should definitely be used by online brands in India!

Send us your feedback and questions.