When Facebook announced a while ago that it was buying Instagram for $ 1 billion (see more here), there was immediately a large-scale protest of apparently everyone, from businessmen to the most loyal users of Instagram. The question that was in everyone's head was: how did a start-up of 18 months, with 13 employees and zero revenue manage to "earn" that whole hefty?
I'm not here to discuss whether or not it was worth it, whether or not it was to be sold. The fact is: we have witnessed a great success story, and in these extraordinary cases, we can always learn things to apply in our business. So let's go! See here 3 lessons we can take from the Instagram case:
1. Even small, think big!
Kind of cliché, but if we stop to review the Instagram story, from the beginning, founder Kevin Systrom was not shy about his large-scale ambitions. In an interview with Time magazine in 2011, he said he wanted to build a “social tool for social life on the move:“ we want to change the way people communicate and share in the real world. ”
Unlike many other ambitious startups, Systrom has kept its organization lean and efficient with just 13 employees. There is no doubt that Systrom could have gone there and hired 25 engineers plus programmers and marketers. By keeping his small business and efficient, Systrom was able to focus on his core message, without becoming a larger organization, but by no means less dynamic.
2. Create users first!
What we get out of this: it is absolutely necessary to have a critical mass of users and followers. Whether you're the city's new pizzeria or the world's biggest app maker doesn't matter: without a loyal clientele you won't survive for long.
Instagram could easily have charged up to $ 5 per download for its iPhone app, which would make a solid amount of revenue. But was that the main interest for the company's future? No, and Instagram was well aware of it, so much so that the company decided to keep the app free.
They knew that what was important was not the revenue they were “losing” today, but the incremental value they were earning with each additional subscriber. Without its critical mass of millions of users, Instagram would never have grown fast enough to get Facebook's attention and earn its $ 1 billion valuation.
3. Build an emotional connection with your audience
Hans-Roxas Chua, co-founder of the Philippines Internet and Mobile Marketing Association (IMMAP), said that “Facebook doesn't seem to have that kind of emotional connection. He doesn't have the soul of Instagram “. He noted that those who use Instagram take the time to get the right angle and the perfect filter to capture the mood of the image. In the end, they invest more in the product. "It's more emotional." This is another lesson that is relevant to just about any business or startup.
If you are not able to create an emotional connection with your customer, whether you own a restaurant (see: McDonald's) or a theme park (see: Walt Disney), you will have a hard time defining how to differentiate yourself from your competitors. McDonald highlighted creating an emotional connection with his playful Happy Meal and toys. Likewise, Walt Disney was all about creating a stronger emotional connection of magic and mystery, with its theme parks and movies. Instagram was able to add emotion to an apparently banal and saturated space: mobile photo sharing.
Overall, the central message is: get a sense of the value you are creating and create a close relationship with your customer right from the start. The Instagram is marked as an example of success in all these things.
And you: what did you think of the 3 Instagram lessons? Share with us!