If you haven't been in the loop on what's going on with this little app called Instagram, you're in for a surprise. Over the span of a few short months, the little company went from launch to being acquired by Facebook. As a marketing medium, Instagram creates some unique opportunities for businesses that want a way to connect visually with their customers. But is Instagram right for your business?
Quickly rising in the ranks of social media is Instagram. Instagram is an Internet-based program that allows people to share pictures with others for free. Users upload pictures they take from their iPhones and Android devices onto the Internet using the Instagram app. These pictures can be linked to Facebook and Twitter, as well as other networks such as blogs. Users can filter their photographs through a variety of artistic looks such as sepia, black and white, and other options.
In short, Instagram can make anyone look like a
professional photographer and share their lives with their friends and family through picture form, allowing them, literally, to see the world through their eyes. Much like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram users can choose to follow and can be followed by any user they desire. In addition, because Instagram is owned by Facebook and photos are uploaded there, all Facebook friends can view your photos, “like” them, and comment on them. If your business already has a Facebook page, this is just one more way to interlink your social media marketing.
Facebook recently purchased Instagram for a cool $1Billion USD. Instagram is currently being transformed into a marketing machine by the Facebook team and integrated into the Facebook family of resources and applications. While major changes have not become apparent as of this date, Instagram users are cautiously optimistic that the Facebook acquisition isn't going to break something that they've grown to love.
Using Instagram for Marketing
Instagram has huge potential for marketing for some businesses. One main reason for this is that you can both show and tell about your product and company. Did your company building just get a facelift? Instagram it. Did you just launch a sweet new product? Instagram it.
Instagram helps build credibility because you’re not just telling people about something, you’re giving them visual proof of it. It’s also great for building positive press. The more people that follow you and “like” your photos, the more people will see your product and see that other people like your product as well. It makes your company seem more down to Earth and relatable, as well.
Another trend is to use the artistic filters in Instagram to create a branded look for your images. You basically select a filter or style of filter that you apply to all of your images and this creates a consistent look and feel across this particular marketing medium.
Use in Your Business
Obviously, not every business is going to benefit from using Instagram. For instance, an accounting company won’t have much use for taking creative shots of their number systems. However, advertising companies wanting to show off their work, graphic designers, publishing companies, and other creative types of companies would greatly benefit from the use of Instagram. Take pictures of projects, buildings, staff, and special events hosted by your company.
Again, this makes your company much more human and engaging. The more that you can simply get people to like you as a brand, as a company, the more likely it is that they will want to do business with you. Instagram is a user-friendly and free way to build positive press for yourself and your work.
As Facebook integration becomes more streamlined, watch for new tools to help you continue to brand through Instagram. Whether its the ability to automatically apply your own logo, create your own filters, or simply select which Facebook page on which to post images, we're sure to have some new tools to make marketing all the more simple.