Instagram – Fast beautiful photo sharing
Marketing is about telling stories and few things tell a story faster than a picture.
Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained more than 40 million users.
In fact, images are growing faster than any other form of shared content online due, in large part, to the tremendous growth of camera equipped smart phones.
Instagram is a photo-sharing site that’s a bit of a Flickr meets Twitter. iPhone and Android users download the Instagram app and then share images after applying a range of effects and filters. Other Instagramers can “like” and comment on images and follow users to view their images in their own feed. Users can also easily post the images they upload to Instagram on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr if they choose.
As with many social networks, personal use has spawned most of the growth. With heavy adoption however, businesses are now starting to take note of ways to use the Instagram tools and network to promote their business.
Naturally, image heavy businesses such as hair salons, graphic designers and remodelers have obvious uses for the photo sharing site. But any business can find ways to use the network, and the growing set of tools supporting it, to supplement their marketing efforts.
Not everyone should be on every social network. But here are some reasons that, as a marketer, you should at least keep an eye on Instagram, if not begin participating.
- There are over 40 million users, growing at a rate of millions per month.
- Instagram is quickly outgrowing Foursquare, the largest mobile social network.
- 91% of US citizens have their mobile phone within reach 24/7. 25% of people in the US have totally abandoned their laptops for exclusive use of their mobile device. Mobile apps have been downloaded 10.9 billion times and are expected to peak in 2013. Mobile is huge, and its growth is not stopping.
- Social media is not just for twenty-somethings; it is part of everyone’s daily life. In 2004, it was just for college kids. In 2008, the age of the average user jumped to 33. In 2010, it was up ever further to age 38. Over the holidays, be prepared to help grandma remove Farmville from her account.
- People love visual content. We’re visual creatures, and photos are engaging pieces of content that transcend the boundaries of language.
- Photos tell stories. Storytelling is crucial to the social success of your content, and the emotions associated with photos carry a lot of weight.
Instagram is a great way for people to experience brands in a different way, and it elicits emotions that may not have been experienced through text alone. So how do your business follow in the footsteps of some of the big brands and start using Instagram in your inbound marketing? Let’s take a look at the best examples out there and learn how you can adapt what these brands are doing to leverage Instagram just as effectively.
Starbucks was an early adopter of Instagram and has over 400,000 followers to date. The company highlights in-store experiences at locations from around the world, shows how new coffee flavors are chosen and tested at Starbucks headquarters, and provides information about its ‘Create Jobs for the USA’ program. Starbucks shares the photos with its Facebook fans, too, so customers can comment on upcoming or new flavors.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co.’s products come with a high-end price tag, so what better way than pictures to show the worth of those products? Tiffany is using Instagram to show every intricate detail that goes into creating the diamond rings and jewelry girls swoon over. On Tiffany’s Instagram account, fans get an in-depth look at all the tools, techniques, and technicians involved in making the perfect piece of jewelry. Of course, there are also pictures of the final pieces themselves with their signature blue-green color.