Instagram at 10: the future of marketing

By Georgia Ward

On 6 October 2020, Instagram turned 10 years old and since the inception of the photo-sharing app, social media marketing has never been the same. Over the last decade, Instagram has come a long way, from reaching its first million users in December 2010 to being brought by Facebook in 2012 for $1billion. Now, the social networking platform attracts one billion active users every month, with over 95 million photos and videos shared on the platform every day.  

So, what does the future of marketing look like on the visual content platform? We share three trends hospitality marketers should be utilising 

User-generated content is still king 

Instagram’s latest features, such as Reels, has provided businesses with a vital opportunity to capitalise on user-generated content. While consumers get more creative with how they post on social media, brands have access to a plethora of visual assets they can utilise within their marketing strategy to both engage with current customers and attract new ones. Where appropriate, hospitality businesses should invite their guests and customers to capture their experience and encourage them to share it on social with their relevant handles and hashtags. A simple but effective way to generate audience engagement and convert prospective bookers.  

Organic and virtual influencer marketing  

While advertising on the platform has continually increased, Instagram has encouraged influencer marketing to become more organic. Users will ‘trust’ their peers or micro-influencers to make a purchase decision more so than ever before. Micro or nano-influencers will be a safer bet for businesses, as they will be able to offer fresh, authentic content to a targeted audience at much lower costs. This virtual ‘word of mouth’ strategy is becoming an increasingly viable approach for hotels and venues to take, as when the influencer has been strategically selected, brands can attract engaged prospective guests from their target audience. 

One trend that is gaining traction is virtual influencers, which seems ironic with the haste of Instagram audiences to highlight ‘fake’ accounts or ‘bots’. Virtual influencers are fictional computer generated ‘people’, who have been developed by creators and brands to become internationally recognised influencers and advertise their campaigns.  

Don’t quite believe me? Take a look at Samsung’s recent campaign with virtual influencer @lilmiquela. 

Stories offer a huge promotional opportunity 

In a recent update, Instagram expanded its Explore tab to create a personalised experience for each of its users. This feature now shows a variety of content types, including images, Reels and Stories, which best fit user preferences. According to the platform, over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day. 

Stories offer huge promotional opportunities for hospitality marketers as they can showcase businesses, products or offerings in alignment with users’ interests and previous searches. Regularly posting organic and real-time content on Stories will bolster your existing marketing strategy and will optimise your profile for inclusion on the Explore page.  

Discover how Custard’s experience in social media strategy and content management can increase your exposure and deliver ROI by contacting our team today.