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Instagram for B2B Social: The Rise of the Visual Influencer


Originally posted on WOMMA’s All Things WOMM blog.

2012 will be known as the year when the social web went visual. Pinterest is the fastest growing network of 2012 with a growth of 4,377% in just six months. Growth on this platform continues: Pinterest grew from 20 million to 30 million unique users in July 2012.

Instagram’s sale to Facebook for $1B underscores the interest in an image centric social web. The photo sharing app boasts 100 million users and is becoming engrained in our culture. New York Fashion Week recently introduced a digital tower that displays Instagram users’ photos from the event.

This has given birth to the visual influencer – people whose images and pinboards have attracted a large following. Last week, we used this idea to reach and amplify our IBM client’s important role powering the US Open. Visual influencers received a guided tour of IBM’s impressive cloud, data, and analytics infrastructure as well as the Game Changer Interactive Wall developed by Ogilvy New York & Hush Studios, Inc. for IBM. Influencers included Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, digital and lifestyle influencer Steven Rojas, and world-class photographer Sam Horine, who gave IBM a combined Instagram audience of over 202,000 followers. One photo alone received 2,548 likes on Instagram.

Visual content is becoming a critical component of the social web, and opens up a whole new channel to amplify and engage.

Here are three quick tips on selecting influencers. Something to keep in mind; it’s not just about who has the biggest following. It’s also about who has the most relevant voice intertwined with the goals of the brand.

  1. Must be active on the Web in the context of your brand.
  2. Have the ability to reach a large audience but also have high levels of engagement. Observe the conversations that take place. Are the conversations back-and-forth with fans/followers or is the person merely talking at their audience?
  3. Be sure the influencer will impact positive sentiment that matches the brand’s audience.