In its plight to remain relevant in the rapidly shifting social media landscape, Instagram has begun experimenting with new features that completely change the original nature of the platform. From a picture-perfect curated feed to a push for video sharing and promotion of reels, the transformation of Instagram is making the need for multichannel marketing more important than ever.
In 2010, Instagram first launched and amassed a million users after only two months, establishing itself as a staple social media platform for photography. The square format was a quintessential feature that encouraged brands to create profiles that were seamlessly curated and coordinated. Since 2013 the platform has introduced numerous video-centred features such as Instagram stories, lives and reels - a move that created greater opportunities for businesses yet slowly began to isolate its original user base. Once they were acquired in 2018 by Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, there was greater integration between the two platforms, with many users complaining that it was becoming a ‘second Facebook’. The nail in the coffin coincides with the rapid rise of TikTok, and with many users flocking to the platform for its hyper-engaging short video content, Instagram has begun experimenting with a 9:16 format that heavily relies on video content.
At Instagram’s peak, focusing on a singular platform as part of a social media strategy was seen as more ideal than posting across multiple channels. But with the social media landscape being so unstable and new platforms rapidly emerging, the importance of multichannel marketing has never been more pertinent. Customers have a multitude of ways to interact with brands, and by being active on several different platforms brands are able to maximise their abilities to reach potential customers. Investing in brand profiles across several different platforms significantly supports the brand discovery process, increases consumer awareness of the brand and aids in building and maintaining a customer base. The benefit that social media holds over traditional platforms is that it offers two-way communication, giving rise to opportunities to build trust.
However, the content needs to be properly adapted in order to optimise a multichannel strategy. TikTok videos can’t just be posted to Twitter and Instagram lives can’t just be posted to YouTube. Brands need to invest in a social media strategy that is appropriate for each individual platform. The Instagram video update makes this multichannel integration easier, however the demographics of each platform still vary - where TikTok is more popular with 16-24 year-olds, Instagram is most popular with 25-34 year-olds. The content that is posted needs to still be curated for these different demographics in order to execute a multichannel marketing strategy effectively..
It's become clear that in the current age of social media, being active on a single platform isn’t enough. Brands need to be willing to invest in several social media platforms and properly adapt to the different content types to stay relevant - or risk being left behind.