SWOT Analysis of Instagram: Is Facebook both a blessing and a curse?

Instagram is where people go when they’re fed up with Facebook. You can share your life in as many pictures, videos, and Insta-stories as you like. You can keep Mom and Dad up-to-date with college and work. You can sell products to customers directly. And you can be hired by businesses to show off their products for thousands of dollars. All of this is possible on Instagram. With over 800 million users, what isn’t possible on this platform?

That’s what this SWOT analysis of Instagram will do: It’ll show you the benefits of using this social media, while also identifying key problems and areas of concerns. But let’s start with the fun stuff first.

Strengths: Father Facebook and millions of users

Financial backing from Facebook.

Instagram exploded as one of the only social media platforms focusing primarily on the uploading of pictures and videos. Making captions and leaving comments are the main ways to communicate; however, you can also direct message (DM) people too. But the biggest advantage this platform has is the availability to Facebook’s deep pockets.

Facebook spent $1 billion to buy Instagram in 2012. Since Facebook is still the leading social media platform in the world, Instagram is easily following close behind. This should be a good thing, right? At one time, it was. Many social media platforms start then fizzle out within a few short years. With Facebook standing firmly behind it, no one carried the same fears for Instagram.

However, now that Facebook is repeatedly in hot water over data breaches and privacy allegations, some now worry that Instagram may be next.

A massive outreach.

More than 800 million people currently use Instagram. How they use it varies by person. Some people use it as a collage to share family photos. Others use it to document adventures and exciting nights out. Many people use it for business, to showcase the behind-the-scenes of their products. And others use it to make tons of cash through product sponsorships.

What this all means is: whatever your goal, it’s probably possible on Instagram.

Hashtags for the masses.

You have the chance to reach massive audiences using dozens of hashtags. And people tend to be more receptive and engaging on this platform — a highlight for businesses. After all, it’s easier to snag someone’s attention with a photo while they endlessly scroll through their feed.

Weakness: Difficulties with communication, Facebook, and migrating traffic

One way traffic for businesses.

As a business, it’s hard to take the traffic gained on Instagram off of Instagram. Although you can link your website in your bio, the character space is limited. Lifewise, linking a website in the caption doesn’t often warrant the foot traffic you’d expect. In fact, you’re better of using that space for hashtags and a caption.

Limited communication.

You can only talk in DMs and in comments. On a picture, you can only comment or reply to another person’s comment. Although other people can chime in, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of comments if there are hundreds of thousands.

Big bad Facebook.

Then there’s Facebook. As stated above, the company is in hot water for data and privacy leaks. Some Instagram users have had similar problems with their private information being leaked. It’s fair to say, if a company is being shady with one of their products, it can happen with the others. In this case, the “other” would be Instagram. And yet, studies have said more people are deleting their Facebook accounts and migrating over to Instagram, despite the controversies associated with the social media giant.

Opportunities: Make money through your phone

Sponsorships and influencers everywhere.

Instagram is the social media platform for sponsorship deals. Companies reach out to people with hundreds of thousands of followers, and pay them to show off a product in a photo. We now call these people “Instagram Influencers”. Their fans trust them. Their fans want to be them. So when an Instagram Influencer showcases a product, the fans are more likely to reach out and buy it.

Sponsorship deals have become a viable way for everyday people to make a living. It also helps celebrities, like the Kardashians who have millions of followers, to rake in even more dough. On the flip side, it’s also made it more difficult for people to trust labels, products, and people — because what if they’re just in it for the money, right? We’ve no way to know.

A social media made for smartphones.

Instagram is also the perfect social media for smartphone users. You can easily take a photo from your phone and upload it directly to Instagram. Or you can update your Instagram stories on the go.

No Instagram app for iPads?

And not every device has access to the Instagram app. Although both Apple and Android devices do, the iPad doesn’t. There’s no iPad Instagram app to this day! You can gain access to the iPhone version in the app store, but the dimensions are all wonky on the large iPad screen. Maybe Instagram should make sure all of its users have access to the platform on any device?

Short video ads.

More advertisers are using Instagram to create stories and mini ads. Although you can only make short, one-minute videos on Instagram, it’s still a viable way to get people who are mindlessly scrolling through their feed to watch your ad.

Threats: Competition and beauty standards

Visibility or invisibility?

Six years ago, it was much easier to be “seen” on Instagram. More companies are using Instagram to gain product interest and customer engagement. So, instead of asking “Are you on Instagram?” the question is now, “Who isn’t on Instagram?” It’s no wonder that being seen over millions of users is a hard-fought battle; there are so many accounts, and so much noise, it’s now difficult for new users to rise above it.

Scheduling systems.

Not to mention, you can schedule your Instagram posts through social media scheduling software. Now you don’t need to be on your phone all day, every day. You can set up your posts days, weeks, or months ahead of time.

The quest for beauty.

And then there’s the cosmetic side. It seems social media platforms and “selfie culture” are leading young men and women towards cosmetic surgeons. More people are opting for procedures like Botox, fillers, and Brazilian butt lifts to get the bodies they constantly see on the platform. Granted, these bodies are often edited or the result of phone filters. But after awhile, a person’s self-esteem can be negatively affected.

Here’s how you can write your own SWOT analysis from scratch.

Photo by Katka Pavlickova on Unsplash