Instagram was first designed for creative photographers using an iPhone back in 2010 – an iOS mobile platform for artists to communicate with one another and discuss pictures and videos. The platform provides filters and other tools so that people could enhance their images.
It is often recommended to post photos with clear captioning in order to truly foster conversation and get the feedback that artists need. One of Instagram’s many perks is that you can also post the photos on other social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook – thus engaging your audience across multiple social networks simultaneously.
By 2012, Instagram had over 100 million active users. Nowadays the social media site supports more than just iPhones – it will accept images from the Window phones and others. In September 2013, Instagram announced a total of more than 150 million monthly active users.
Facebook bought Instagram for approximately $1B in April 2012, enabling any photos posted on Instagram to share an audience with Facebook’s billion-plus users. With that kind of momentum, businesses are now looking to Instagram as a serious platform for their social promotions.
Getting started on Instagram is not hard. You simply create a free account and connect it to your Facebook account. Many businesses today are using Instagram not only to promote their products but to provide images that could spark conversations from their customers. For example, The Foo Fighters band showed “behind the scene photos” which spurred a hyper discussion among their fans. Time Magazine promotes their articles with interesting photos and product-oriented companies can use the site not just for advertising their catalogs but to showcase their charity works as well as highlight their best customers.
While Twitter and Facebook can seem to be a more straightforward outlet to tailor your customer outreach, Instagram demands you take the postings to the next level. Currently Instagram does not have any promotions opportunities for businesses in the same way that Twitter and Facebook have, but there will almost certainly be advertising opportunities in the near future. By combining the visual and social sharing potential of Instagram with Facebook and Twitter your business can quickly expand its reach.
As a business you should look to Instagram as a way to lend some artistic flavor to your social media plan as well as possibly create different communities within your customer audience. Currently the businesses that are doing the best job promoting their brand on Instagram are celebrities, fashion companies, travel and tourism, consumer products, science and technology and much more. While you can easily show off new products and discounts, Instagram is also a great way to solicit feedback from customers or potential customers, especially for graphic design or advertising decisions, logo, clothing, food styling or new product development.
As one of the fastest growing social media sites online and with the power and reach of Facebook supporting their growth strategy, Instagram is the latest social network every business should be looking at. How are you using Instagram?