Instagram lessons from Taylor Swift.

The world of social media has significantly evolved these past couple of years, and although it can be hard to keep up with everything, it is also a great source of entertainment.

My favourite social medium definitely is Instagram – I could honestly scroll down for hours. I can always find inspiring, funny, authentic content made available to the world by people like you and me… and businesses and pop stars.

Haters gonna hate.

Being popular on Instagram has nothing to do with posting pictures of your offices and team to show the world how hard you work… oh well, not solely!

The photo-sharing social medium celebrated its 5th anniversary recently, and for that occasion, they released the top 5 accounts with the most followers. Friendly reminder: we count more than 400 million global users on Instagram. Needless to say, it’s a great audience for any business to reach. But beyond that, if businesses only consider this app as yet another way to reach potential customers – well, they’ve got it all wrong.

Why do you think Taylor Swift managed to become the queen of Instagram? No, it’s not because of her looks. We all know she’s a business woman like no other, yet, she’s just another 20-something woman who enjoys simple things in life. She loves cats, her boyfriend, her mum, her friends… so she shares pictures of them!

From the words of Charles Porch, head of global creative programs at Instagram: “The type of content we see from these people is authentic and often times really fun”. There, he said it. The magic potion on to how to really engage with users. Marketing managers often like to stay in control of the company’s image by having straight, dull and, let’s face it, boring messaging on social media. I personally like it when a company does not take itself too seriously. Showing users that you do a good job and that you are authentic (and by authentic, I mean human), is the way to go!

Sure, not all businesses are equal on Instagram, depending mostly on the nature of your business. However, I strongly believe that there is a path for each industry, whether you are a trendy activewear brand, a catering or an insurance company. The beauty of Instagram is that users from across the world have various intents and are very open-minded. Also, keep in mind that it is only so easy to click on the “follow” button on a profile or to “like” a picture.

So what makes Instagram such a great platform to gain followers?

The answer is quite simple, in fact, it’s so obvious I don’t even need to explain: communication!

Instagram is basically a direct line between the account owners and its followers. Engagement is key, just like on any other social media actually. Of course, it’s easy to post pictures, it only takes a few minutes, but you can’t expect thousands of likes and comments if you don’t engage with your followers by replying to a comment for example.

Because the app is more about posting pictures rather than text, it is by its very own nature more appealing to users. “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer. Seeing beyond the businesswoman that Taylor Swift is (let’s face it, she’s the boss), is a godsend to her army of fans. What is better than seeing your idol – or brand – living like you and me? Humanisation of the image we often see in the papers or on YouTube is the best publicity one can think of, especially in 2015 when if you’re not on social media, you’re already out.

Building your accessibility to your customers or future customers on social media is crucial, and probably the most important part of the Taylor Swift business model. I guess it could be considered as retention marketing. Who would be the most likely users to buy again from you? Yep, exactly: those who have already been convinced, and who follow your every move on social media.

Instagram has this particularity to show the truth (when not photoshopped, but this is another topic…) and present the brand and the people behind as they really are.

On a daily basis, I always like to interact and follow brands that present themselves accessible and friendly. I always get a bit bored by businesses who take themselves way too seriously. It is important to build trust in your brand of course, but I think it’s a bonus to show the world that you’re more than just a name trying to make profits.

Note: If you’re interested, here’s the full list of the top 5 Instagram accounts:

  1. Taylor Swift,
  2. Kim Kardashian,
  3. Beyoncé,
  4. Selena Gomez,
  5. Ariana Grande.

Are you considering building a social media strategy? Talk to one of us at Reef, or reach out to me in the comment section below!

Photo credit: Taylor Swift’s Instagram

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