January 02, 2014 - Comments Off on What does Instagram Direct have in store?

What does Instagram Direct have in store?

As we all know, social media plays a vital role in helping brands to develop and share content with their target audiences. Picking the right mix of platforms to use is extremely important but with new channels being launched all the time, choosing the right ones to invest time in can be tricky.  In an effort to capture marketers’ attention, many social media networks are now adding extra features to ensure their longevity.

Take Instagram, a social media platform with a community of over 150 million users for example. Instagram is adapting and adding new features in-line with what its users (and possible revenue stream sources) want. Instagram recently added an option to upload 15-second video clips to rival Twitter’s Vine platform. They then added advertising in the form of sponsored posts into users’ feeds, helping brands promote themselves. At the back end of last year they launched Instagram Direct, a direct messaging service.

So what exactly is Instagram Direct and what does it mean for Instagram’s future use?

Released at a mystery event on December 12th 2013 in New York City, Instagram Direct is a feature that has been added to maintain and grow Instagram’s audience by incorporating features users have started to look for elsewhere – such as the direct messaging feature of Instagram’s rivals Snapchat and Whatsapp.

On a personal level this means people are now able to share special moments or inside jokes with up to 15 relevant people, not to their entire following. But Instagram Direct brings more benefits to brands who want to hop on the Instagram bandwagon…

It used to be that brands could have an Instagram account to share photos of their products, allow users to comment and like, hold basic competitions and (just recently) advertise on users’ feeds. However, Instagram Direct now bring brands more opportunities to connect with their audiences.

Cofounder and CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom noted how marketers could use this new feature for contests with their followers and less than two hours later Gap did just that. They solicited comments on an Instagram post and messaged the first 15 commenters with a limited edition Gap product. This is the perfect way for brands to host contests as it is quick and simple, with no hassle for entering, just a simple comment.

Another bonus of this direct messaging feature for brands is the ability to now deal with customer services issues on a one-to-one basis. This will allow visual conversations in real-time to help resolve issues faster and will provide a higher rate of customer satisfaction. This will continue to deepen relationships between brands and their audiences.

At the moment there hasn’t been any information released about the potential direct messaging for advertising purposes, but who know what the future holds for Instagram… the possibilities are endless!