This week, Instagram welcomed a significant social media milestone of landing more than 100 million users in less than three years since its launch in October 2010.
What started as a fun, hipster App, quickly caught the attention of businesses wanting to be a part of the growing picture-sharing trend that users just can’t get enough of. It seems like a marketers dream: simple messages through photos, simple execution with just a snap of a picture and a filter button, and an audience eager for visual stimulation.
A range of retailers, event planners and many other business, familiar with the success of Facebook and Twitter, types quickly set up Instagram accounts and began shoring up a slew of followers. Now, businesses from Victoria’s Secret to Surf Magazine are pumping out beautiful pictures every day, many of which regularly make it to Instagram’s “popular page.”
But what I’ve yet to hear about is another way marketers can use Instagram: product placement. While businesses indeed have a presence on Instagram, many private users are just as – if not more – successful with the social media tool. Especially among younger users, many accounts have drawn tens of thousands of followers, who are users simply interested in what’s posted there.
That’s where there may be a significant amount of untapped marketing potential in Instagram. We see product placement in movies and television shows, like the YOLO brand in Keeping Up With The Kardashians or the Coke brand in American Idol. Tapping some of the private account users with streams of attentive followers can offer similar opportunities for shrewd marketing.