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Of all social media sites, Instagram has made possibly the largest impact in the smallest period of time. The social media platform which is focused on photo sharing has acquired a huge following all over the world, and is of particular interest to the key millennial demographic.

The travel industry has also hugely benefited from Instagram, as the photograph-based nature of the social media platform ideally lends itself to showcasing holiday destinations. Already numerous destinations have gained a significant following on Instagram, and it is also common for users of the site to pose in various holiday snaps on their personal profile page.

Instagram Changes Holiday Photography

Instagram perhaps underlines more succinctly than any other phenomenon how much holiday photography has changed. Once upon a time, grainy holiday snaps which took weeks to develop and then were placed in a physical album where commonplace. Now one can produce professional quality photographs, and post them so people all over the world can access them, within a matter of seconds.

The Guardian newspaper has recently been focusing on the impact of Instagram, and especially assessed the visible trends in the social media platform. The publication particularly noted that Instagram can tend to induce envy in people utilising the social media site, with viewers of Instagram pages being forced to tolerate sun-kissed images of paradise-like, unspoiled visages.

In humorously assessing the impact of Instagram on holiday photography, The Guardian noted several particular memes and themes which are prominent. The first of these is the classic ‘hot dog legs’ photograph of people relaxing on a beach, beneath an azure blue sky. This photograph has probably had a hugely significant impact on the travel industry, as although the general public in general can be sun-worshippers at any time, the ubiquity of this image has surely contributed to many people spontaneously seeking out copious amounts of sun, sea and sand.

Another hugely popular photograph which frequently appears on Instagram is that of the wingtips of an aeroplane. Taken from inside the body of an aircraft, this sweeping shot of the skyline courteously reminds people that you are holiday and they are not!

The classic holiday group shot, the infamous selfie, the cliched photograph taken in front of a notable monument or particular landmark, and the classic social media text conversation captured in photographic form, are all recognised by The Guardian as being examples of Instagram detritus. Yet the fact that all of these photographic themes are already so familiar to so many of us underlines that cultural ubiquity of the social media platform.

The Rate of Social Media Change

Not only has Instagram become an important social media site and a central part of the popular culture, but the speed with which it has achieved this is also particularly notable. There is a popular video on YouTube which assesses the rate of change in contemporary society, and illustrates beyond all doubt how this change is it growing exponentially. The video particularly notes that the take up of social media has been extremely rapid in comparison to similar technologies.

Yet even since this video was made just a few years ago, it seems that the pace of change has grown further still. While Facebook and Twitter took a few years to really gain traction and become part of the popular cultural lexicon, Instagram seems to have become massive almost overnight. Instagram attracted over 100 million users in under two years from its launch, underlining how quickly this social media platform attracted users.

Similar technologies and platforms which are also newcomers are also attracting users extremely rapidly. Already, the recently launched Periscope seems to be part of everyday life for millennials in particular, and new concepts and multi-million and even multi-billion dollar Internet businesses seem to spring up on a weekly basis nowadays.

Digital Marketing Takeaways

Thus, the popularity of Instagram is indicative of a particular trend which digital marketers must pay heed to. It is increasingly important to touch base with every possible social media platform, as the genre expands rapidly into new areas and directions. Facebook and Twitter remain the largest social media platforms in the world by some distance, and it would be absolutely stupid to neglect any marketing efforts on these massive sites. But though Facebook and Twitter should be subjected to a concerted digital marketing effort, it is also equally important to embrace other new social media platforms which represent the cultural zeitgeist.

Of these, Instagram is the most naturally suited to travel industry content owing into its visual nature, and numerous DMOs have already taken advantage of the social media platform in order to produce distinctive marketing campaigns. Other important technologies are the aforementioned Periscope, and the similar mobile-based social media site Snapchat. Even advertising on other youth-oriented platforms such as the video game steaming site Twitch must be taken into serious consideration.

Popular culture moves extremely fast nowadays, and nowhere is this more true than among the key millennial demographic. Paying attention to the rise of Instagram and incorporating this into a digital marketing strategy should therefore be considered important, but it is equally crucial to understand that doing this does not constitute the culmination of the evolution of a digital marketing strategy. It is essential for marketers to keep very closely acquainted with the latest trends in this rapidly evolving industry.

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