1. The Cara Delevingne phenomenon
Instgram has literally made a whole bunch of terribly irrelevant people very #instafamous. Chances are you don’t know who Maartje Verhoef is, but she walked more fashion shows last season than models from the kingdom of Instagram royalty Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner and Miranda Kerr combined! Instagram has a unique and unparalleled ability to create incredible hype around people and turn them into brands. Cara Delevingne is one of the biggest benefactor’s of Instagram’s incredible clout building prowess and that influence preceded any success she had as a regular model.
2. All the cool kids are doing it!
The coolness barometer is strongly dictated by what teens like and the teeny boppers have spoken loud and clear by crowning Instagram the new dictator of all their time and energy. Among 13-17 year olds, Instagram saw an increase of 7% in users over 6 months last year. Facebook dropped almost 30% in the same period. To put it simply, Instagram is Glen Coco, while Facebook is poor, gold hoop-less Gretchen Wieners. And if you didn’t understand that quote, you are probably still on Facebook…
3. We all like things that look good
As the old saying goes ‘A picture says a thousand words’. Pictures are much more accessible than words because they’re universal and require just one glance. Even the most mundane everyday activities like going for a run can be made much more appealing with an artfully framed photo of whatever fluro coloured #nikes you’ve coordinated with whatever pastel coloured health drink you’ve bought against the backdrop of a #sunset rendered tastefully vintage with the addition of the Valencia or Nashville filter. It’s even more impressive if you can pull it off with #nofilter.
4. Simple is the new black
Instagram has streamlined all its features and settings into incredibly simple formats. You get one single feed and no annoying sidebars. Videos don’t annoyingly autoplay. You take a picture, filter it, write a caption and post it all in a couple of taps. But, one of the biggest social media concerns is privacy. Unlike Facebook where navigating security features leads you into a maze of confusing trappings where a profile picture might be viewed by friends of friends, a picture you add to an album might be viewed by everyone and a picture you post only to your wall might be viewed by friends only. There is no grey area in Instagram. Either your content is public or it’s not.
5. You’re the boss
Parents are the most frequent recipients of the “YOU DON’T KNOW ME, IT’S MY LIFE” from teenagers, but Facebook is also committing the sin that all teens hate. Once, I looked up pre-natal vitamins for my cousin and for months, Facebook was showing me ads and pages for baby products. Facebook thinks because Taylor Swift is my guilty pleasure, I will also buy into the headache inducing mess that is Ariana Grande and her tired half-up-half-down hairstyle. Instagram also makes recommendations, but only if you look for them. And no Facebook, I do not want to play Farm Life Saga.
6. Seeing is believing
For businesses, Instagram is still a relatively untapped goldmine. Pre-Instagram, Nike could talk the talk and tell us how cool grey and coral splattered runners would look, but would we believe it? With Instagram, brands have an unparalleled platform to prove it to consumers who are actually interested and engaged and then turn it around to those same people to do their bidding and keep that message circulating and relevant. If a business is trying to get people through the doors with a sale and cool event, then a picture of the stock and trendy pop up paleo hot dog bar will reassure people they’re not turning up for all of last season’s rejects and some cold Frankfurters wrapped sadly in Wonder White.
7. Instagram is only getting bigger
Instagram is still in that sweet late growth stage entering maturity where its full potential is just about to be realised. People are still joining every day at a rate much faster than they are dropping out so there is still a lot of hype around it while it’s still shiny and new. For now, it’s basking in all its fresh faced glory.
8. We are obsessed with ourselves and looking perfect
When you post a selfie on Facebook, it’s deadly embarrassing, but Instagram has muted the choir of selfie shaming holier-than-thou haters who try to bring you down. There is even #selfiesunday, which, if used ironically enough, completely negates any notion that you may love yourself a little too much. And if you have a pimple, you can blur the little sucker right out of your life. If the lighting isn’t doing your flawless new balayage justice, then you can simultaneously brighten, saturate and eliminate shadow to make sure your honey blonde streaks stay looking fierce without sacrificing the piercing orange glow of the afternoon sun. Maybe you don’t eat 10-year cured Iberian jamon on organic quinoa and kale sourdough drizzled with free trade local olive oil with deconstructed iced coffee served in a repurposed watering can every day, but your followers are none the wiser. You and your life are #instaperfect
Guest post by Joy Chang