Three of the Most Important Instagram Trends of 2020

Get to know the trends shaping Instagram strategies in 2020.

© Leonie Hanne


It’s been a busy year on Instagram, with a host of new updates and plenty of exciting content creation opportunities for brands. We take a look at the three most important trends and how they've influenced the way the brands approach the platform.


Instagram Challenges


Instagram users have been making the most of their downtime and participating in a number of Instagram fashion challenges to keep themselves busy. From the #QuarantinePillowChallenge to Leandra Medine Cohen's #GoingNowhereButF*ckItImGettingDressed challenge, people have been using Instagram to showcase their favourite lockdown looks.


Ahead of the first ever virtual London Fashion Week, the British Fashion Council partnered with John Lewis to launch the #LFWCatwalkChallenge. Donned in their favourite outfits, Instagram users filmed their very own catwalk moments (from their gardens, balconies and bedrooms) and shared them alongside the hashtag. A select number of video submissions were then made into a short film that was virtually screened during the event. A £5 donation was made to the British Fashion Council’s Foundation Fashion Fund for the Covid Crisis for each video shared.


Back in May, Instagram users took to the platform to recreate their favourite Met Gala looks using objects found around their homes as part of the #MetGalaChallenge. Highlights included Cardi B's 2019 gown designed by Thom Browne, Diana Vreeland's Met Gala look designed by Yves Saint Laurent for his monographic show in 1980, and of course, Lady Gaga's iconic pink look by Brandon Maxwell.


Instagram challenges have offered businesses the opportunity to boost awareness and build engaged online communities. They've also proven to be a great source of UGC during a period when content production has been challenging.


Livestreaming


As an increasing number of brands turn to livestreaming, Instagram users are engaging with businesses on the platform more than ever. From informal interactions with designers to livestreamed runway shows, performances and dedicated real-time programming, brands including Dior, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, and Levi's are using this tool to connect, educate and inspire their followers.


Unlike short-form videos, livestream viewers are often prepared to give between 30 to 60 minutes of their time. Viewers with prior knowledge of a livestream are also more likely to tune in for its duration. With this in mind, brands have been devising and implementing promotional strategies in the build-up to their broadcasts to drive awareness and create a buzz.


With the exception of runway shows, Instagram Lives should be about providing audiences with an experience, rather than a space to directly push products. Think 'Fendi RenaissanceAnima Mundi', a live concert featuring the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra, and violinist Anna Tifu, dressed in three Fendi couture looks. Quality programming with subtle product placements is a much more effective approach.


Post-broadcast, in-the-know brands have made sure to cater to all viewing preferences and have made their videos available to followers who may have missed the live event. Many brands upload content to their IGTV channels and then cross-promote links across their social networks to maximise viewership.


Authenticity


Forget picture-perfect Instagram feeds; establishing authentic connections with followers is the main focus of brands in 2020. Beautiful models in envy-inducing locations across the globe have been replaced with...beautiful models at home.


While some brands have turned to Zoom photoshoots, like our client 7 For All Mankind, Gucci launched a campaign that centred around user-generated content. The brand's #GucciTheRitual series featured models as they went about their daily lives, whilst quarantined at home (in head-to-toe Gucci). Alessandro Michele called the campaign his 'most authentic yet,' asserting that 'the extravagant hyper-naturalism that [he has] always tried to depict, now emerges even more authentically and more amazingly', in an interview with Interview Magazine.


Content creation is just one of the many ways that brands are establishing more 'meaningful' connections with their audiences, 2020 has also seen a significant rise in the number of brands using secondary accounts, private groups and nano influencers to cultivate and create micro-communities where they are able to glean important feedback and other invaluable information from customers. Conversational captions, interactive Instagram Stories and livestreams have further enabled brands to start a dialogue and create a space for mutual sharing.


Words by Dan Flay

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