Few months ago, I was invited for a prelaunch of a new restaurant at Central Delhi. It was amazing to see bunch of youngsters (below the age of 25), clicking pictures and instantly posting them on Instagram. Instagram has become the new social media platform where people share pictures (Mostly selfies and according to a report in USA 70% of Instagram pictures are selfie). Over 150 million users love Instagram as it is the simplest way to capture and share the world’s moments. Last year, Instagram had launched Boomerang, an app where you shoot a one-second burst of five photos that are turned into a silent video that plays forwards and then reverses in a loop.
Heard of Instabloggers? They are the people who post pictures on Instagram, gets likes, have followers and can be seen for restaurants as well as five star reviews – A new social media to spread the buzz . They also have a networking aspect as they receive comment or “like” on the photos.
Before I get into the details of Instagram and how impactful it is, I would like to clarify that this post isn’t about any individual, group, society. I am sharing certain specifics, based on my discussion with some of the top bloggers across domain and social media specialists who handle FMCG clients as well as restaurant owners. Besides this, I also referred to various surveys and news that was published on various global sites/newspapers and agencies.
What we did
4 months of extensive research in four major cities. We targeted accounts that had more than 10K followers. We observed their pattern, posting frequency, subject, pictures and the ”likes”.
It was interesting to note the results. Of the thousands of account we followed there were hardly couple of accounts that had 10% or more “likes” on their pictures. This was across various categories. People with 10k followers on instagrams, had 100-200 likes on pictures and that too, not on all pictures.
What kind of social media influence are we talking about? What impact we are looking at by these numbers? It seems this question isn’t asked too often by a number of people running social media channels.Instagram is game of hashtags, nothing more than that. If you will not use hashtag, I doubt you will get more than 1-2 likes.
Another interesting observation was – We scrolled pages of Instagram and wanted to see how much can you scroll through. Not more than 5-6 scrolls that covers 20-30 pictures. Most of the pics were personal posts and one would easily miss on lot of pictures posted by people that we follow.
Now if we talk about accounts that focus on food, it was quite revealing to know that pictures shared/uploaded, weren’t clicked by some bloggers and credit too wasn’t shared. With hardly 1% of their total followers, liking their pictures, it’s amazing to see that how they call themselves influencers. How can they influence people when they hardly have any genuine followers? Also if you look closely and look at their likes on the pictures, most of the people appear, to be those who follow hashtags and they do not belong to that geographical area. This also leads to the hard fact that most of these numbers are fake and have been bought just to show the numbers. The ethical implications of buying followers are rarely brought to the forefront. PR’s are willing to invest in those bloggers, who have huge number of followers, without analyzing blogger aesthetics.
I am not even talking about insta bloggers’s knowledge in their respected field, which they hardly have. One of the pioneer digital media experts shared that they receive mails in their inbox where XYX instagrammer or someone on twitter would tell them that they are big influencers social media influencers and surprisingly they don’t stick to any particular domain. They claim to be experts and some hire PR’s for them as well, to talk about big influencers they have been. With an emerging trend of using social networking sites one is expecting more and more likes and followers to their profiles. Having many and many followers on Instagram has its beneficial points, if the followers are genuine.
PR’s believe that the organic growth in the number of followers results in popularity of that blogger, however buying fake followers, hardly results in boosting social credibility. These are people that use Instagram to share their photos. They would buy more Followers to prove their social presence. They will have 10k followers, whereas in real life, they might only know 50..
So what is happening in the digital marketing space? well in india it’s at very nuance stage and people are still trying to figure it out that how the social media works and what is digital marketing. We still follow the orthodox method and rely more on print media. Though the fact is that digital media is spreading its wings and growing at rapid growth. You can also see the change in print because most of the print media is either shutting down or focusing on online channel. The act of paying for followers has been a relatively quiet part of the social media conversation.
One of the very famous social influencer and blogger said in one of his interview that Instagram or twitter or facebook are extended part of your blog. They are here to support your blog, you can’t just throw any weight just because you have x number of purchased followers on Instagram or twitter.
Warning: the world of fake photo followers is not competitive, but eluding for many, leading to companies/PR’s targeting wrong set of influencers – Not only followers can be bought, likes and comments can be bought too.