The business of Instagram: Creativity and community key to growth - execs

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Content creators on Instagram should be closely looked at as part of future beauty brand growth plans on the platform [Getty Images]
Content creators on Instagram should be closely looked at as part of future beauty brand growth plans on the platform [Getty Images]

Related tags Instagram digital Meta beauty 4.0 beauty tech community video

Beauty businesses must focus on pushing creativity and building communities on Instagram to spur engagement and drive growth, according to executives of the platform.

Meta-owned Instagram had long been an important space for beauty brands and creators. And as digital engagement continued to build worldwide, there remained plenty of ways to use the platform to drive business growth, according to Gord Ray, product marketing director EMEA at Instagram.

“Instagram is so important across all aspects of the funnel, not just awareness, consideration or conversion,”​ Ray told attendees at Meta’s House of Instagram​ event during British Beauty Week.

According to a global media study of 48,000, commissioned by Instagram, nearly half of people surveyed used Instagram to shop weekly – “a high percentage”, ​Ray said.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, agreed. “We know commerce is more and more shifting from offline to online, and we know a lot of people spend time shopping on Instagram.

“But we also know people are more likely to buy from brands that share their values, beliefs, which is why it’s important to use platforms like Instagram and Facebook to tell your brand story to your audience,” ​Mosseri said.

Pushing creativity

Ray said Instagram already offered many different opportunities for users and brands to show and play with creativity. And the commitment to being a “platform for creative exploration”​ was important for growing a brand in this space, he said, particularly given another recent consumer study of 25,000 indicated businesses were perceived as more creative if on Instagram. 

[Getty Images]
[Getty Images]

And Ray said the company was working to improve its creativity offerings to businesses, brands and creators alike. “Ahead, where brands will be able to really explore creativity, and Instagram is taking the first steps in this, is with things like the launch of digital collectibles and NFTs.”

But beneath all of this, he said video content would remain crucial to successful creativity on Instagram, most notably via its Reels function where users could create 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and other tools. Almost half of Instagram accounts (45%) now interacted with Reels at least once a week, he said, which was a high percentage given the function had only been available for two years.

Mosseri concurred: “Reels is our fastest-growing format. With Reels on Instagram and Facebook, we’re about 30% up quarter over quarter versus last year, so I encourage all of you to think about how you can tell your stories using this format; using short-form video.”

Looking ahead, Ray said Augmented Reality (AR) within these videos would also become increasingly important and powerful. But he said with any video creation, it was essential brands “read the room”​ and kept content real for those it was aiming to reach.

Building community

Beyond creativity, Ray said the concept of community was expanding fast on Instagram into a lot of new areas, with many users using the platform to build relationships with brands.

And much of the power of community on the platform, he said, came from creators. Teaming up with or collaborating these users, he said, therefore made “good business sense”.“…The value of a creator being part of your community will have an enormous impact on your business.”

Mosseri said: “This space of shopping through creators, we think, is incredibly important long-term, and we’re trying to embrace that as best we can, which is why we’re so focused on doing right by creators.”

[Getty Images]
[Getty Images]

Another way to encourage interaction and build community, according to Ray, was working with live broadcasts. “The more I speak to businesses, they often tell me that when they’ve gone live, they’ve learned more about their community from the comments and questions they ask.”

The ‘full collective power’

Driving growth as a beauty brand on Instagram, ultimately, was about threading all of this together, Ray said. Looking at “the full collective power”​ of the platform for storytelling, he said, spurred engagement, interaction and ultimately click-through sales.

“…It’s about the unparalleled creativity across Instagram on the many surfaces, it’s also about building community and in particular leaning into creators, and it’s about focusing on growth by using the many ad opportunities available, and in particular branded content and reels,”​ he said.

Mosseri said: “We’re going to continue to try and create value for people, creators and for brands on Instagram. We’re going to continue to focus on video and messaging which we see as those big paradigm shifts and where Instagram is going to have to focus on in the long-term.”

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