What Makes the Best Brands on Instagram: Opening Keynote with Jim Squires



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Toby Daniels, Social Media Week’s Founder and Executive Director, kicked off the event by proposing a series of questions to think about throughout the week.

“How do we and the platforms around us navigate a constantly changing marketing and media ecosystem? What are the most effective strategies for engagement and monetization? What are the emerging trends in technology that will impact the future of businesses?”

Jim Squires, Instagram’s Director of Market Operations, kicked off his opening keynote sharing that “Instagram’s mission is to capture and share the world’s moments.” With over 400 million Instagrammers, the platform provides each and every one of its users with the opportunity to be content creators.

He points out a new trend among content creators in which “people are embracing more expressive communication” in the form of emojis and memes, as well as videos and photos.

Squires also introduced a new suite of tools for guiding small businesses, such as a business profile, access to insights and the ability to provide more details such as contact information. Most significantly, Squires announced a new promotion tool, native to the application itself, allowing businesses to take advantage of Instagram’s advertising system with the click of a few buttons.

Reassuring hesitant marketers all around, Squires stated that creating great, effective content should not be a daunting task. There are a variety of approaches to generating quality work and the most important strategy is to “do what works best for you.”

He concludes his opening keynote presentation with tips and tricks for marketers. “Design for sound off,” Squire advised, noting that everything you need to communicate should be in the visual itself. He also suggested seeking inspiration from the local community, establishing connections early, and most importantly, experimenting.

After the presentation, Toby Daniels rejoined the stage and began a discussion in which Jim Squires shared that Instagram’s principles include putting the “community first” and realizing that “simplicity matters.” Squires also advocated “fitting in to stand out,” and advised brands to create content positions itself in a desirable way within the audience’s mind while also making sure that content coincides with the brand itself.

In addition, Squires recognized that when enacting social media campaigns, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on the number of likes and comments. However, receiving these high numbers should not be the main goal; instead, the main objective should relate to what the desired results from the campaign itself.

As one of their last points, Daniels and Squires discusses that, while the world possesses cultural differences, social media is closing the gap; thus, brands should take advantage of this opportunity to easily connect with the rest of the global community.

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