The Proven Influence of Instagram on Culture
Instagram; what started in October 2010 as a platform to post everyday lifestyle photos to friends has since evolved into one of the biggest change-makers in our culture: fashion, food and, most apparent, wellness. Data has shown that from 2013–2016 Instagram has continued to surpass social media leaders Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat in total influencers’ earning power due to the ability to influence buying decisions of their followers through just single photo posts, a powerful and easy way to advertise (data from 2017 is not yet released).
The popular social media outlet has tellingly led a cultural shift towards health, fitness and wellness advice and accountability. Lesser known, more niche brands like meal plan Whole30 and fitness company Bikini Body Guide have created 360 degree marketing plans centric to Instagram, focusing on user-generated content, and developing a unique and unconventional approach to digital marketing. These companies have been able to compete with more mainstream products and services for market share, and often times are able to encourage more widespread awareness through this platform, as they are more nimble and will go-to-market on promotional ideas and developed products much sooner than a larger consumer packaged goods brand has the ability to do, which can take up to 6 months to get a single product approved.
Enter Instagram celebrity Agnes Muljadi (@artsyagnes), who has fueled the popularity of healthy living and veganism on Instagram by documenting her eating habits and journey through the content of her Instagram posts. Known initially for her beautiful ballet photos, Agnes began to integrate other facets of her healthy lifestyle into her Instagram feed. Through Agnes’ posts we see that she appeals to her followers to join her on a lifestyle of self-fulfillment and healthy living via veganism and exercise. Agnes cuts through the clutter of constant digital bombardment of information on everything and anything, by helping her followers discover the true nature of where their food comes from, and the sustainability and ethical practices both for the earth and for the animals, through effective food and product posts. Her endorsements of products guide her audience of almost 200,000 followers on their own buying habits.
As the interest in veganism grows on Instagram, revealing a large audience of people who want to feel better, eat well and be more connected with the world around them, there has been an uptick in the number customers that support brick-and-mortar retailers like Whole Foods or Sprouts, or online markets Thrive Market and Vegan Essentials. To date Thrive Market has raised over $111 million in investment money, showcasing to the world that this type of health-consciousness is here to stay.
Studies show that vegans feel extremely energized with improved moral function over the standard platform user. No longer relying on addictive substances such as caffeine to get them through the day, they typically have an energy that comes from within, and rest easier at night knowing they are taking the small steps necessary to not only making themselves healthier, but also the world around them. By being able to find advice, information and support through Instagram content such as @artsyagnes’, which can include tips, recipes and motivating photos, the extent of this social media influence stretches far and wide, changing the landscape of food and lifestyle in dramatic shifts never seen before.