Instagram has become the ubiquitous social media platform of the day, and part and parcel of that status is hatred and misunderstanding. It’s easy for those who aren’t really engaged in it or those who don’t look further than skin-deep to think frivolously about it and thus dismiss its changes as nothing more than a trifle. But if you’re a photographer, or a brand, or a model, you really can’t afford that, and I urge you to open your eyes and look deeper – Instagram has been and is the weapon behind massive successes.
Honestly, if you do some digging, and I have, the stories of business growth facilitated and attributed largely to Instagram usage are mesmerizing, and the numbers involved are eye-widening, bowel-loosening, and perhaps laugh-out-loud ludicrous.
One of the more recently publicized successes has been the meteoric rise of Triangl, a bikini brand that’s the brainchild of an Australian duo who found themselves broke in Hong Kong only to start Triangl and go from $5 million in sales in the first year to an eye-watering $25 million the second – largely attributed to strategic Instagram use. When we consider this, and the well known fact that product placement within the IG images of heavily followed users demands a pretty penny, it’s hard to avoid acknowledging two things: Instagram proves how powerful imagery is, and, anything Instagram does is going to potentially affect commerce in a large way, and for a great many people.
So it’s little surprise when this week the dominant news in the world of tech and social media was the atrocious new re-design of Instagram’s logo, which seemed less avant-garde, and more Windows 95. The change itself became instantly meme-worthy and even garnered its own charge.org petition to change it back – that’s some 350,000 people strong. But something else occurred while we were all too busy staring at the kaleidoscope, it seems IG’s new algorithm hit stride.
If you go onto your IG account and pay attention to the times the posts in your feed were posted, you’ll likely notice the order is no longer chronological.
Now, I wrote about this when it was announced, and how this means only good things for you as a consumer and as a photographer, but since it’s likely hitting you now, it’s really time to pay attention. In many ways, actually, this could be a leveling of the playing field because your quality of content on IG has never mattered like it matters right now, so if you were considering a focused effort on IG, it would seem this is the moment – when being seen frequently and by many is less about strict numbers of current followers, but on merit moving forward. The kind of growth matters and is more important than ever.
Having this discussion with some friends I know with trailer loads of followers revealed that a question they often get asked is how does this benefit photographers?
It benefits photographers the same way it does any brand, and considering IG is strictly visual, you’re already well suited to this platform. It’s also worth keeping in mind perhaps the most exciting thing IG has in store which we’ll touch upon later this week likely, and that’s the fact Instagram is testing a ‘Direct Contact’ which would allow users to email you directly, and that’s part of the User Business Profile which IG is testing right now. I cannot stress enough that if you’re a photographer and not making the most of IG, you’re letting the some of the best pass you by. Stay tuned.