Businesses of all sizes are on Instagram today: Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Facebook

Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Vertical Head - Tech, Telecom & Automotive, Facebook India, talks about how brands are aggressively leveraging Instagram to promote their businesses

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Feb 17, 2020 11:43 AM
Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah

Instagram like any other social media platform is being aggressively used by brands to promote their businesses. Be it a grocery service or a high street fashion brand, everyone is on Instagram. But how does it help their business and how is Instagram making the most of it?

Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Vertical head - Tech, Telecom and Automotive at Facebook India tells us more about this. 

We see a host of brands advertising on Instagram, tell us a little about how your platform has opened up to more number of brands. 

Businesses of all sizes are on Instagram today because they can find new and existing customers and build deeply engaged communities for themselves. Instagram offers full-funnel solutions that help drive awareness and consideration and helps drive sales.  With visual storytelling at the core of Instagram, whether it’s the Feed, Stories or IGTV, the platform allows you to easily share photos and videos to communicate your brand's unique story and develop sustained relationships with potential customers. 

What is the kind of growth in business accounts and how do you see influencer marketing growing on the platform? 

Instagram is the home for people’s passions and this enables brands to engage with this passionate set, to achieve their business objectives. From Samsung to The Souled Store and Oppo to &me, businesses of all sizes can drive awareness, increase customers and share their story amongst a highly engaged audience with Instagram. Brands are particularly using influencers, Instagram’s interactivity tools like Polls and AR filters, and delivering impact in doing so. From brands, we particularly heard the need for incorporating branded content posts into their communication strategies and hence we launched Branded Content ads. It empowers advertisers with the ability to promote creators’ – celebrities or endorsers - organic branded content posts as feed and stories ads. For businesses, this is an opportunity to tell their brand stories through endorsers'; voices, reach new audiences and measure impact. For endorsers and celebrities, this is an opportunity to partner with brands that they love and reach new audiences, thereby growing their presence on Instagram.

Why did Instagram and Facebook decide to partner with SIAM for this year’s Auto Expo? Was this a branding exercise?

We decided to partner with SIAM this year to help take the AutoExpo beyond the venue to auto enthusiasts across the country by using the Facebook family of Apps. The partnership allowed a larger audience to experience the latest from the mobility ecosystem on Facebook and its family of apps - new launches from participating brands, new emission technology, safety standards, and the latest from the start-ups of the industry. It also involved a structured engagement with members of the auto industry on leveraging digital to unlock business growth.

Facebook has been working closely with industry leaders to enable customized solutions for auto brands, and the Expo will provide a platform to take those conversations forward. The partnership will entail regular programming on AutoExpo2020’s Facebook and Instagram handles with a special emphasis on FB and IG ‘Lives’ covering the latest news and events from the venue. The Expo was also attended by leading creators and influencers from the auto industry who showcased their top moments in a bid to connect with enthusiasts from across the country. The people present at the venue could also use the Facebook and Instagram booths to enjoy AR and VR experiences and boomerang photo creation opportunities respectively. 

You are removing the likes count number for others to see—When is the full rollout happening in India?

Instagram’s objective of the test to make like counts private is to ensure that it is a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. This includes helping people to focus on the photos and videos they share, not how many likes they get. This began testing in Canada in May 2019 and expanded to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, and Italy in July 2019. Later in the year, as part of the global test expansion, it also rolled out to a small percentage of the user base in India. We have nothing further to share at this time as the test is still ongoing.

How is it going to affect the influencer ecosystem? Are you facing push backs?

In the test, you can still see your likes by tapping on the liker list, but others will not be able to see how many likes your post has received. Likewise, you will not be able to see how many likes other posts have received.  We hope that by making the number of likes private, people will be able to focus more on the photos and videos posted in the Feed, and that this will ultimately drive deeper engagement.  We’re working with businesses and creators to ensure that this change can benefit the Instagram community at large. 

TikTok, Helo, Share Chat are aggressively targeting the vernacular language space, is Instagram facing the heat? What are your plans for vernacular?

Instagram has a global community of one billion and we’re seeing strong momentum for it in India. People across the country love it for its vibrant community, that hosts the best of aggregated content from public figures, brands, and growing social movements, and visual expression. It’s helping people, creators, and businesses in redefining what it means to be creative. It’s also a safe and positive place for people to express themselves and explore their passions like food, fashion and travel, and purposes like sustainable fashion and body positivity.

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