Originally published in M&C Report January 2015
I remember seeing a statistic published somewhere recently that suggested the number of photos taken in the past year would amount to more than the combined total of all photos that had ever been taken before. I’m uncertain if the statistic is true, but it does get you thinking. The best calculations I’ve found estimates the annual number of photos that will be taken this year will be around 400 billion. This has of course been driven by the development of technology, first camera technology, then mobile technology and most recently the ease in which to be able to share these images. You only have to sit in any coffee shop, restaurant or bar to notice the almost constant nature in which photos are being taken of friends, food, drink, décor – not to mention the ever popular selfie. In many cases these photos are social media bound and will become an instant promoter or detractor of your business, depending on their content. Aside from Facebook, the most likely social platform that will see your photos uploaded by eager diners or drinkers will be Instagram. The site launched in 2010 and then hit the big time when it was acquired by $1 billion in early 2012 by Facebook. By the end of last year the company announced there were now more than 300 million Instagramers around the world and over 70 million photos and videos are posted to the channel every day. The app is almost exclusively used by the younger generations, with some sources suggesting as many as 90% of users are under the age of 35. Within my research this month, there were very few brands truly leveraging the benefits of Instagram – with most sticking to Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of the brands that are using the platform well;
Coffee Snaps It seems that the GEN Y & Z just love their coffee – but not just drinking it, snapping and sharing it too. Two of the best brands leveraging the platform were Starbucks and Costa. Costa have a good following of 27.6k, with superb levels of engagement on posts. The content shared is a blend of professional brand photography, quirky amateur shots and existing imagery curated from elsewhere on the web. Far from being explicitly commercial, the content is very much focused on stunning imagery, not offers or promotions. The brand saw a significant increase in customer posting late last year with the roll out of their cross-platform #costachristmas social campaign resulting in 4729 user generated photos shared on Instagram. Earlier in the year rival competitor Starbucks ran an equally impressive campaign stateside, putting its customer’s creativity to the test in decorating its white cups. The cross platform #whitecupcontest social campaign generated 4125 user generated photos. The level of creativity is outstanding – well worth checking out. The brand boasts 27.6k followers.
Leon is a natural Leon, the brand that prides itself on serving natural fast food, has managed to outgrow many of its larger industry competitors quickly on Instagram with 3,488 followers. The photography shared is very stylistic, centring on imagery that truly inspires and sets the tone for their brand story. The social growth strategy for Instagram is clear with a weekly giveaway of a meal for two for the brands favourite image. So far the competition hashtag #leonlover has generated just shy of 500 user-generated photographs for the brand.
Giraffe needs to grow I really love the custom Instagram widget on the Giraffe site – it’s quite cool and certainly stands out. The following is better than other key competitors at nearly 1,683, but still feels low. Content is regular shared, generally quite commercial in style and generates modest results in terms of engagement. It seems to prove that Instagram users are looking to engage with inspiring photography and to share their own photography, much more than offers or promotions.
Hola-gram La Tasca is a brand that is really switched on digitally. They understand the power of content and how to maximise its effect across the web – with particular success bringing it together on their own website under the heading ‘Your Buzz’. The brand clearly uses hashtags across their promotions and marketing to encourage regular sharing of photos from their restaurants on social – resulting in 16,286 tagged Instagram images.
Written by: James Hacon, Managing Director