"Welcome to @apple."
On August 7th, Apple launched their official Instagram handle and racked up 20,000 followers within 40 minutes (now at 430,000 and counting). Are they too tardy to the party that started in 2010 and now boasts a community of over 700 million active monthly users?
Hardly. While Apple does have smaller Instagram offshoots that include accounts for iTunes and iBooks, having an official handle puts the brand in the spotlight and gives it the ability to potentially switch up the content game on the social platform.
Good things come to those who wait, or arrive fashionably late - here's a handful of reasons why this is a savvier move than you might think.
Less us, more you
Here's what is currently on deck @apple. The account features nine posts, with images inside said posts carefully curated into slideshow galleries. Within these galleries, five photographers are tagged, and each includes a caption that describes what's happening in their photos. A sound bite accompanies the imagery to heighten the experience of getting a glimpse into the lens of iPhone photographers throughout the world.
If you think you have the chops necessary to be featured, all you have to do is hashtag your photos on IG with #ShotoniPhone for a chance to be noticed and included.
Surprisingly enough, despite the popularity of the iPhone camera, which snaps over one trillion photos each year, there has never been an account dedicated solely to its photography. If the hashtag name sounds familiar though, it probably is - Apple also ran a "Shot on iPhone" ad campaign featuring sights shot by shutterbugs across the world on billboards.
It's a smooth transition from one medium to another. Here, Apple wants to celebrate the creativity of iPhone photographers and engage with them rather than use their handle to push news about branding updates or products.
The strategic usage of galleries
Whenever a social platform first launches, virtually everyone - from individual users to brands - makes a few fumbles while learning how to use the site. Early photo posts may include filters that look positively ancient by today's standards, or a lack of hashtag usage. There's no shame in any of it either, since it's part of the universal learning process that everyone shares.
Apple's late entry into Instagram means skipping over those rocky beginnings and going right into its established prime, complete with Stories, Boomerangs, and galleries (the latter of which they're already strategically using to their advantage). The best way to entice users into participating would never be to settle on using a single picture - it's about weaving together an experience, a high-quality one that utilizes the gallery setting to add in music and aesthetically pleasing imagery with rhyme and reason to tell a story to users around the world.
Apple has had the chance to observe how influencers do this well, and tinker around with formats that tie-in with the message of their brand. Now, it's all coming to life in the most spectacular way, that only they could do, and that everyone instantly wants to be a part of.
No ads - really
According to Mashable, Apple has made it clear that their account will remain curated and free of clutter that's sponsored or marketed by other companies. At present, it appears that they're focused on establishing a handle that serves as a photographer's oasis.
Cutting out the noise from ads and outside endorsements to revel in the diversity that the Apple community brings to life may wind up being the signature that leaves their brand standing out from the pack. Their fans already buy, and love, their product - now it's time to celebrate them and see what they can create with it.