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06/01/2014 by
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What Can 2013 Tell Us About Future Instagram Trends?

With over 150 million users, 16 billion photos shared overall and an average of 1 billion photos liked in 1 day alone, Instagram is the little photo sharing platform that could.

selfie 500x410 What Can 2013 Tell Us About Future Instagram Trends?

Its growth has only continued to skyrocket under Facebook’s wing, with the social media giant lending its coding chops to help Instagram quickly develop a host of new features, like video sharing.

That’s big news not just for consumers but for brands as well, as some studies show the platform outperforming Twitter and even Facebook itself in terms of engagement.

So how can the savvy marketer take advantage of that highly motivated audience? Take a look at last year’s trends in hopes of predicting the future. Without further adieu, here are this year’s top 5 Instagram trends, and what they mean for 2014.

Instagram Trends: 1. Selfies

Travel in a time machine back to when MySpace was social media royalty and it’s clear that selfies are nothing new. (I mean, if Narcissus had been given a digital camera, that pond of his would have resembled any 20 year old’s Instagram feed, so it’s not like self-obsession is a new phenomenon).

This year, though, selfies got a whole lot more nuanced in a number of cool and completely horrifying ways. As this hilarious and frightening selfies infographic shows, we saw a number of new subcategories.

Selfie Spin Offs 500x2668 What Can 2013 Tell Us About Future Instagram Trends?

These include #belfies (the butt selfie), #helfies (the hairdo selfie), #funeralselfies (yeah…selfies at a funeral…) and #bookshelfies (the tragically less popular selfie in front of a bookshelf).

Even Obama was caught taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, so yeah, it’s pretty clear this is the end of society.

What This Means for 2014

I think it’s pretty obvious: Selfies will continue to evolve as we stretch to find more excuses to make our self-obsession socially acceptable.

From a marketing standpoint, that’s actually a great opportunity. If Instagram users just can’t keep themselves away from the form, why not give them an excuse to do so by inventing your own kind of selfie — one that just so happens to be subtly associated with a brand?

A great example of a beauty brand claiming the Selfie? How about the Selfeye by Max Factor?

Of course, you’ll have to tread lightly here and you’ll need to do a lot of experimentation, but who knows?

Reach out to your followers on both Instagram and other platforms, invite them to participate and you might just have the next hashtag hit.

2. Throwback Thursdays

Appropriately, the roots of Throwback Thursday can be traced all the way back to the beginning of Instagram hashtag searches in 2011.

tbt 500x215 What Can 2013 Tell Us About Future Instagram Trends?

Now, the trend is firmly entrenched. What does it involve? Simply posting photos from the past.

Though this could mean something retro, like a movie poster from back in the day, it’s often users’ own photos from many years ago or just last summer.

What This Means for 2014

It’s unclear how much longer Throwback Thursday will remain popular, but while it’s there, get in on the fun by posting throwback photos of your product or employees from the past.

One thing that definitely will stick around, however, is user generated content based on a hashtag.

So, why not try inventing your own catchy hashtag and popularizing it on your social media channels? You may get a lot of opinions, but if you find the right angle, you’ll also get a lot of exposure and traction.

3. Ads That Don’t Look Like Ads

Instagram has been an important platform for brand building for a while now, with everyone from Threadless to Playboy to ABC News posting photos of products, models, work behind the scenes, and major events.

In 2013, brands were finally given the opportunity to advertise on Instagram as well in the form of sponsored posts, which show up automatically in users’ feeds.

There was great uproar about this at first, but it’s quickly become clear that users will tolerate and even like gorgeous photos that fit in well with the look and feel of the site, kind of like how many readers actually enjoy the advertising in magazines like Vogue.

In general, users seem to be more tolerant of great images in advertising than of outright pitches.

What This Means for 2014

Building up your brand’s Instagram feed will still be important in 2014, so keep snapping those photos and investing in high quality professional shots.

If 2013’s relatively successful rollout is any indication, you can expect to see more high quality sponsored brand photos in feeds — a trend brands should definitely jump on, as a great photo is far more likely to be shared on social media than written material.

4. Looped Video

Instagram’s video service — the platform’s answer to Twitter’s Vine — has been popular ever since it was introduced in the spring of 2013.

The 15-second videos continue Instagram’s snapshot feel, enabling users to give us a glimpse into everything from personal travel moments to behind the scenes prep for a fashion show to breaking news.

This has been a great even for celebrities like Kobe Bryant, who posted a popular clip himself walking during rehab.

What This Means for 2014

Video is going to keep growing on the platform, and brands should continue to brainstorm fun and creative ways to take advantage of the service.

Brands like GoPro make a great model, posting a wide variety of videos that show their customers using their product in fantastic situations all around the world.

Of course, as a camera, GoPro has a leg up, but this again only drives home the lesson that marketing on Instagram needs to feel like natural content, with products demoed in only the most relevant ways.

My Opinion

There have been many interesting trends on Instagram this year, and if the platform’s current evolution says anything about the ways it’s headed, there are sure to be more big trends in the future.

The company, at least, hopes that the platform will eventually become something more akin to a photo news service, and it’s likely they’ll integrate more location-based technology soon to keep up with their main competitor, Mobli.

What About You?
With these past trends in mind and new trends on the horizon, only one question remains: what will you do with the platform in the New Year?

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About the Author
Rosie Scott is a digital content strategist at an online marketing company in London and avid blogger. You can find her and her knitting at The New Craft Society or on Twitter @RosieScott22 where she’s always up for chatting.

Source: Infographic The Spawn of Selfies by 2 Little Fleas

 

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