As a social media platform, Instagram has achieved incredible success, boasting over 100 million users, and last week they introduced social profiles. The interface looks like a cross between Instagram and a Facebook timeline, with the top header as a rotating display of photos, and the rest displayed in a date-based grid.
The design of the interface was likely influenced by Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram earlier this year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a full integration with Facebook in the future. This new Web interface will undoubtedly cause a surge in interest, registered users, and engagement. For brands, this surge in interest could mean new customers, but it will be up to the brand to create an engaging page where they can speak to a new audience.
Starbucks’ has already invested in building its Instagram profile, and it is a prime example of how to do it right. For Starbucks, Instagram proves to be the ideal medium to feature the iconic photos that made the brand famous in social media. Their 910,888 followers would certainly agree.
Another early adopter brand, Sharpie, is geared toward a younger set, with colorful hand-drawn art that is both visually stimulating and consistent with the brand story. Sharpie’s social media lead says that they are enthusiastic about Instagram social profiles, because it will give them the ability to tap into fans who do not have access to an iPhone or Android devices. (Ad Age)
How can Instagram social profiles appeal to brands?
Though the interface design is beautiful and there is a lot of potential, the incentive to join Instagram social profiles isn’t really there for brands at this point. For many who are still trying to grow a Facebook fan base, and who are investing in content creation for Facebook, I don’t know that the current offering is enticing enough to encourage brands to divide their resources. Additionally, any brand that joins the platform will need assets to display a rich visual presentation.
Where brands go, advertising often follows, so it is only a matter of time before we will be purchasing Instagram ads for our clients. It is hard to say what Instagram advertising will look like, but the visual nature of the platform means that it might be something we haven’t seen before.
As with any social medium, the end result should be sharing. While there is potential for sharing of Instagram photos to be sparked by the ability to now cut and paste URLs directly from your desktop, that remains to be seen. Though brands are intrigued by the prospect of having a place to showcase their content in one place, we have yet to see how they will share this content. Instagram will need to build in some innate sharing functionality in order to drive traffic.