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Instagram trends to watch in 2019 from Battenhall’s Drew Benvie

One billion active users are now flocking to the social network of the moment, Instagram. Whether you’re using the app to check out your friends’ Stories, follow the news, keep up with your favourite celeb, or you’re one of the Hinch Army, Facebook’s fast-rising social network has it all.

But for those working in brand PR, agreeing on an Instagram strategy is the first hurdle, and often a high one. Every year, I work on our brand benchmark social media report, and this year we looked deep into how brands are succeeding at Instagram.

The Battenhall Instagram Brands 100 has some killer tips from the 100 biggest brands on the social network. By looking at what the data has shown, we’ve pinpointed three important factors that brands need to prioritise to perform well on Instagram in 2019.

1. Stories have overtaken the main feed

During October 2018, the 100 brands featured in our report published 10,079 Stories – 13% more than posts on the main feed. In terms of typical social user behaviour, it’s now all about tapping to watch Stories rather than scrolling through a feed of posts. It’s clear that this trend will become more prevalent in 2019 and we will see brands place even greater emphasis on Stories content at the expense of the main feed.

2. Insta-reality

In 2018, audiences have increasingly shunned ‘Insta-perfect’ accounts, turning to real-life micro-influencers instead. People like Mrs Hinch and Celeste Barber are perfect examples. The authenticity of these influencers offers a refreshing alternative from the over-produced content posted by celebrities and major brands, and we have seen engagement and impact delivered in turn. The increasing popularity of micro-influencers should encourage companies to work with them to reveal fresh perspectives of their brand and engage with new audiences.

3. The data deluge

We’re all obsessed with likes and views, but a far richer seam of data is now available to brands using social media. Like other business processes, social media has become completely data-driven in terms of planning and delivery.

For example, Instagram has its own Insights section, a relatively new addition to the social network which has, to date, been pretty data-light. Now, lots of useful info is readily available and can be used to provide valuable business insights and predictive analytics. Using Insights, you can monitor how your posts and Stories are performing at a more granular level and, in turn, develop more effective content.

As Instagram becomes the social network of choice for corporate as well as consumer brand communications, it’s not enough for brands to simply be present; they need to actively harness the data available to optimise their social media strategies.

Top 10 brands (by followers)

  1. @natgeo - 91,699,802
  2. @nike - 80,946,720
  3. @victoriassecret - 61,293,586
  4. @nasa - 35,827,647
  5. @chanelofficial - 28,648,524
  6. @zara - 28,261,532
  7. @gucci - 28,356,589
  8. @hm - 27,197,736
  9. @louisvutton - 27,159,455
  10. @marvel - 23,344,729

Figures correct as of 31/10/18

Highest followers growth

Written by Drew Benvie, managing director of communications agency Battenhall, the full report is available to download at Battenhall

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