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Why aren’t more brands prioritizing Instagram as a platform-of-choice?

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From what we’ve heard from recent media and blogger reports and studies, Instagram is THE hot platform for brands right now.

According to eMarketer, brands are seeing higher engagement and interaction rates on Instagram–up to 15 times more than Facebook, in some cases.

And, Instagram is growing faster than Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest combined (which, to be fair, isn’t fair, because those networks are at different points in their “life cycle”).

Sbux IG

And then along comes this graphic from the SocialBakers–saying only 19 percent of brands are making Instagram a high priority in 2014 (and a whopping 23 percent are saying IG will have NO priority).

Wait, what?

I’m confused. With growth curves higher than other platforms, engagement at an all-time high and advertising options being thrown into the mix, why aren’t more brands making Instagram a marketing priority in the year ahead?

I believe this is the result of four key facets of corporate marketing:

A lack of compelling visual assets

I’ve talked about this before, but many brands still struggle with visual marketing. Many are still relying on stilted stock photography or more posed branded photography. And, they have little in the way of resources for helping them come up with these new visuals needed for platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest (both monetarily and internal resources).

The creative team’s reluctance to give up control of “the brand”

Brand/creative teams still largely control “brand” internally at midsized to larger companies. And frequently, these brand teams aren’t the ones running and managing social media on behalf of the organization. Their “turf” still belongs in the creative sphere–branded messages and visuals (mostly on more of the marketing side of the house). And, not surprisingly, they are reluctant to give up that “control.” As a result, you see PR/social teams struggle to work effectively with brand teams to produce visuals that work well on platforms like Facebook. I think about what Starbucks has done–just take a look at their Facebook page. The images are clearly not posed, branded photography. Instead, they come off as easy, carefree, but yet very much “on brand.”

The competitive pressure just isn’t there yet

This may be subtle and well under the radar, but I do believe competitive pressure has at least something to do with when a brand gets more involved with a particular platform. No competitors on Instagram? In those situations, it’s pretty easy for your company to say ” you know what, we’ll wait til next year to put resources against Instagram.” But, say you’re Kemp’s and you’re competitors include Ben & Jerry’s. You don’t think the numbers and success B&J is seeing would convince your marketing leadership to take a more active view of Instagram?

The platform admin work is still rough

Instagram is still a mobile platform. Sure, you can view and engage through web tools. But it’s really a mobile deal. And, despite the stats we’ve seen in the last year-plus, most brands are still not equipped or ready to deal or manage mobile marketing platforms/campaigns. Not to mention, the Instagram platform doesn’t lend itself to brand management all that well just yet. You need to log out of your personal account and into your company account to manage. I think that process needs to become easier (much like Twitter’s log-in process where you can toggle between personal and brand accounts very easily) down the road.

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Why aren’t more brands prioritizing Instagram as a platform-of-choice?

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