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When Style transforms into a Story

When Style transforms into a Story

Today marks the start of London Fashion Week (LFW) which can only mean two things for the week ahead, stylish consumers will be glued to their phones and fashion brands will be working a lot of overtime.

LFW is the opportunity for journalists, consumers, buyers, celebrities and influencers to catch a glimpse of the next season’s collections six months before they hit the shelves – unless it’s Nicola Formichetti, then you can receive it within an hour from Amazon. But do not fret, if you are without an invite or ticket, this season, fashion brands and influencers alike will keep the FOMO at bay. And if you are within the 150,000 who are attending then well done, you’ve essentially made it.

Thanks to its audience of more than 500 million users, Instagram Stories has evolved to become the top choice for fashion brands to trial instant content. According to Instagram Advertiser statistics, 75% of Instagram users take action after viewing an Instagram sponsored post, and the number of brands using Instagram Stories is expected to rise to 70.7% by the end of 2017.

But how do Instagram Stories actually provide long-term value for a brand with content disappearing after 24 hours?

Fashion brands will benefit from this platform in a number of ways; whether it’s providing a countdown or showcasing their garments in action, it will create an impact. By inviting their followers to witness behind-the-scenes action of models getting fitted or practicing their walk pre show, this will provide an in for fans to what was previously an exclusive experience. This indoctrinates the viewer to become invested in the brand, becoming encouraged to view future posts and establishing longer term brand affinity.

You may have seen organic posts with ‘swipe up’ at the bottom that are reserved for users/brands with 10k+ followers. Most brands will have these verified accounts, enabling them to link out to their websites, landing pages or blog posts from within their stories – helping to provide a ROI for their short-lived stories.

A study from Rakueten Marketing has found that premium fashion marketers will pay up to £93,000 per post, showing just how powerful influencers and their stories are to an event like LFW. This year Topshop have invited actress Sophia Brown and Women in Fashion co-founder Lily More to take over their blog and to involve them both in a live streaming via Topshop.com.

For the social media spectators like myself, it’s a long term benefit to the brands to provide access into the behind the scenes of the event and are exposed to every aspect of this season’s collection, developing brand ambassadors and fans and fortunately Instagram Stories provide just that.

Fortunately London Fashion Week lasts a full 7 days, unlike Insta Stories – which can only be a good thing for fanatics like myself! So before you tap through those #LFW posts, take a second to think about the lasting power of Instagram Story.

Filling our feeds with food

Filling our feeds with food

Picture this: I’m meeting some friends for brunch on a typical Sunday morning. I order an acai smoothie bowl and a matcha latte.

What happens when the waitress brings across our order? My hand reaches for my iPhone, opens Instagram and I’m being absorbed into my online journal, also known as my Instagram Story. After a quick edit and a location tag – because no one has time to be elusive these days – I admire my perfectly filtered photograph starring the components of my brunch on an oh-so-edgy tarnished wooden table. A second later it is posted for the whole world to see.

What actually is the purpose of this post? Who knows and really, who cares. But who needs to care? It’ll be gone within 24 hours anyway.

Since 2010, 208 million posts have been shared on Instagram with the ‘food’ hashtag. The majority of these are nothing more than a fairly standard plate of food which has been greatly improved by some good lighting and careful editing.

The current mentality seems to be that if it’s not posted on Instagram, it didn’t happen.

On the other hand, the app that went live in 2010, provides a platform for restaurant brands to engage and adjust to the growth of social media and its consumers. With its 600 million active users, Instagram has become a drawing board for foodies, creating a bible for potential food and drink hotspots with the addition of the location sticker. If clicked on by the consumer, this could earn more revenue for the brand and provide the user with the ability to see live events from a chosen location.

What makes Instagram unique is that it has the ability to hold more worthy photographs in comparison to an average foodie website. This is because of you, the user and consumer. People love food photography because people simply love to look at food, and if there is a personality behind the visual, it immediately becomes more relatable. Due to increased popularity of international food culture, more users are willing to try different cuisines than ever before, as they have previously ‘seen it on Instagram’ and therefore, it is familiar.

Standing on your chair to capture the aerial view of your food and drinks is something I must admit is out with my boundaries. However, if you think that your meal is worthy of an Instagram upload, then surely that’s hats off to the chef! I’m not saying that my acai smoothie bowl was remotely average, I mean, it still made it to the gram. However, I am greatly aware of the danger of total addiction to an edited and, to an extent, false view of the world, which makes reality look boring in comparison.

Equally, the popularity of Instagram has certainly had some negative impacts. It has created a competitive marketplace for restaurants, as they now have to adapt to being ‘Instagrammable’ by featuring tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes and other interior that simply are photographs waiting to happen. The pressure behind the app can also force brands into creating new recipes for the sole purpose of becoming a strong Instagram trend, which means the app is costing restaurants extra money as they are giving into the 21st century #foodporn craze.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, Instagram is addictive. The aspiration to achieve some social gratification from a post that features last night’s dinner leaves you on a cliff hanger as you wait patiently for those likes and views to rake up. But what this vulnerability can also question is: does the food we photograph actually taste as good as it looks, or is it all just an irrelevant false illusion?

The answer comes down to a matter of opinion, but one thing is for certain – Instagram is fed by our love of food.

Brooklyn does Burberry

Brooklyn does Burberry

Burberry is getting a bit of stick at the moment. I mean, hiring Brooklyn Beckham to shoot their latest Burberry Brit campaign – how dare they? Fashion photographers across the world lashed out as the eldest Beckham child announced it via his Instagram and shared the news we could watch the live stream on Snapchat.

I can see their point. They’ve worked hard for years to hone their craft, build relationships and ultimately make it in a business that’s hard to crack. However, as a comms professional I think it’s brilliant.

Brooklyn has over 5.9m Instagram followers and is one of the most influential people in the world right now. Arguably his audience isn’t exactly Burberry buyers – but let’s face it, everyone loves a Beckham. I know I follow him, so do my friends and colleagues and would we have known or been interested in a new fragrance campaign if it wasn’t for him? By getting Brooklyn on board, the brand has gained global coverage and has positioned themselves as cool, innovative and accessible to all.

People want to see what he’s doing, what he’s wearing and who he’s talking to. This is why Snapchat is the perfect platform. The behind the scenes look into celeb life is what makes the social channel so brilliant and Burberry have combined this love for celeb gossip with their own story.

For me Burberry is owning Snapchat. They’re the only brand doing it well.

It’s the third most popular social app among Millennials and has more than 100 million daily active users. So why isn’t the industry using it more? It’s raw, relevant and real which can be scary, but with over 6 billion daily video views surely that’s a risk worth taking. Digital commerce outperformed all other Burberry channels, with mobile visits accounting for most of the traffic to Burberry.com.

Maybe 2016 is the year we all jump on the Burberry bandwagon?

Influencers: keeping up with the kids

Influencers: keeping up with the kids

As a communications agency it’s our job to ensure clients and their products reach their audience. It’s also our job to ensure they embrace all channels available to help reach that audience. The way we consume content has changed immensely over the past five years, print newspapers are shifting to online and social media has given us 24/7 access to global news (and cat videos), but there is one other platform that has been around since before Facebook and doesn’t seem to be slipping – that platform is blogs.

Bloggers have become an integral part of online life and yet many brands are still reluctant to collaborate with this breed of media. Their value can’t be measured with the same formula as print, their influence goes beyond their readership and surely people aren’t just paid to review the latest skincare products? It seems so.

Are 18-24 year olds buying newspapers? Are they as influenced by advertising? It seems not as bloggers are not only reviewing beauty products, they’re discussing lifestyle trends, from wedding planning to party wear and cocktail making to home décor, so it’s only right we embrace this new age platform.

We work regularly with some of the UK’s top influencers to help promote many of our clients. From Glasgow’s golden girl, Forever Betty to London’s Pinterest Queen, Temporary Secretary and Instagrammer Mike Kus. Over the years we have established great relationships and are now in awe of not only their Instagram-esq lives, but the professional level in which they have grown to operate in the social space.

As for the future of media, we hear time and time again the world is changing, everything is online and print is dead, so to stay current and continue to reach our chosen audience we have to change tactics, even if grudgingly, but this doesn’t mean forgetting about the tried and tested approaches, but it’s ensuring we work with our clients to come up with the best solution for their needs.

Instagram launches new mini moments video app Boomerang

It’s gidday from Instagram as it unveils its newly launched app Boomerang.

The new, stand-alone app allows users to create low effort, mini videos of moments that play forward and backward, providing a GIF-like feel. Although Instagram is trying to steer us away from viewing the content format in the same light, suggesting “a boomerang” provides something a bit more “special and unexpected”.

In this new format, Instagram is encouraging users to capture a moment and let it come alive again and again on loop. Instagram want you to “transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again”. The experimental videos will be enabled for direct upload to Instagram and Facebook via the Boomerang app but the videos will also be saved to your own camera roll.

In today’s digital age, Instagram, one of the fastest growing social media networks of all time, knows only too well its need to compete with other social media platforms in bringing users new ways in which to publish content. Providing users with new ways of portraying and publishing their lives more creatively is one of the challenges given to all of the big players in social today.

Boomerang’s attempt to facilitate fun, mini moments will no doubt be a hit with users due to the minimal effort required from users to capture a moment in time. The only possible downside being that the functionality of Boomerang video comes from a separate app rather than living in the current Instagram app itself. Maybe something Instagram will merge over time.

To see how the app works, you can watch Instagram video on it in the blog post.