So, you’ve seen all the ‘cool kids’ obsessed with Instagram, but you’re not too sure what all the fuss is about. Instagram only launched at the end of 2010, so it’s still a relatively new platform but certainly a very impactful and popular one. Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos using a smartphone. It’s mostly utilised by millennials, 16 – 35 year olds. A recent study conducted by World Wide Worx and Fuseware of the South African Social Media Landscape 2016 has revealed that Instagram has seen immense growth over the last year, Instagram has, a staggering 133% growth from the previous year.



#hashtag and Instagram-2



While Instagram is traditionally used by the general public and celebrities who post photos for friends, followers and fans, some of them have over a in 1million followers. Companies are also turning their eyes to this appealing visual networking site. Since Instagram more than doubled its user base in South Africa over the last year, 24% of major brands say they plan to start using Instagram in the coming year. While 42% of major brands are already currently using it for marketing purposes. To date, Mr Price and Mercedes Benz have had the most success with individual images locally.

If your business targets the younger demographic age group (16 – 35 year olds) and is an image-friendly business like restaurants, clothes, fashion, food, architecture, technology and designers you should be on Instagram. Instagram has a user engagement rate of 4.21%, far exceeding Facebook and Twitter, because most people constantly have their phones in hand nowadays and the Instagram target market’s short attention spans finds a photo-base app easy to process information. In the US 40 million photos are shared daily. Images should be highly creative, captivating, should tell a story and be relevant to the target market.


Some of the best Instagram campaigns for 2015 are:

1.L’Oréal Paris: What’s more romantic then a snowy white winter – this campaign made use of celebrities and the powerful, contrasting colours (red and white), made for good imagery.

tag12. Samsung #standtall campaign

The Samsung #StandTall campaign together with the The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards — an award that honours the achievements of young people supported by The Trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.”



#Terracotta is a legendary bronzing powder developed by Guerlain 30 years ago that is already very popular amongst the brand’s existing customers; however, Guerlain wished to reach a younger audience base through digital media. In collaboration with Mazarine and Performics, Guerlain established a 4-week Instagram photo campaign targeting women in France to bring forth the connection between Terracotta and Paris — both classy and elegant.



Successful Instagram campaigns all have the following in common;

they make use of creative, meaningful imagery, have the backing of a good brand or celebrity, are relative to the target market and make use of catchy hashtags.

A hashtag is a “symbol” (or code) that allows web search engines to find and categorize messages, keywords and pictures. For instance, if you type #cat or #cats in one of your pictures, any user anywhere in the world looking for “cat” or “cats” will easily find your picture and others user’s pictures using the same #keyword. It is advisable to only make use 1 – 2 words per picture.


Hashtags are everywhere. You can see them on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, at events, or even on commercials and movie trailers. Brands or businesses use hashtags to keep track of their brands talk ability and search ability on social media platforms. Hashtags make it easy for their target market to join in on a specific conversation, it improves campaign adoption rates and helps in measurability of posts. It also cuts through the clutter on social media, and helps filter and bring relevant content to the forefront. It themes your content, thus making it easier connect with your industry and audience.

Social media is an experiment, and although there are some guidelines out there, trial and error is still the best way to learn and see what works for your brand. Instagram is the fastest growing platform and can really do wonders to drive your engagement and help you get better noticed. Meaningful imagery coupled with catchy hashtags is essential when reaching out to your target audience. Clicking on a hashtag on any of your social networks, will automatically show all other public posts that include the same hashtag. This is incredibly valuable for a small business because it can expose your content to a wider audience, and help your business get found.


Written by Bronwyn van Dyk, Bronwyn joins Prana as a Marketing and Branding Consultant, working on specialist projects.  Bronwyn has a B.Comm Business Management, a diploma in Marketing Management and a certificate in branding. Bronwyn started her career at FNB as a graduate for 5 years and is now an independent marketing consultant. She has worked her way to be a specialist in her field. Bronwyn has worked across a 360-degree marketing sphere in  digital marketing and as well above and below the line advertising..