Instagram, a mobile photo sharing application, was acquired by Facebook in April 2012. Seen as more of a photo sharing service, ad space cannot purchased within the app. In addition to that, the app does not generate revenue.
Despite these limitations, Instagram is significant and should be adopted by marketers looking to quickly adapt and establish themselves in the newest social media channels. At around 50 million users, Instagram has embedded itself into the social media ecosystem. The Facebook acquisition – at $1 billion dollars, no less – is evidence of how important this channel is and when utilized can reach people in droves.
The Visual Trend
Instagram is built around pictures. Users can take, like, filter, and share pictures with all of their followers. The product and experience is driven by content and filters provide the illusion of high quality pictures. People carry high quality cameras with them everywhere via their smartphones and Instagram tap into this user base.
As of April 2012, over 20% of Instagram users connect to their Facebook account. That means that their posts not only appear on Instagram, but Facebook as well. Facebook’s new Built-in Like tool helps also track user’s “Likes” within the Instagram app.
However, the biggest difference between Instagram and Facebook resides how users access the respective sites. Instagram is entirely mobile. Pictures cannot be accessed via desktop unless they are shared through a Facebook post, a tweet or through a third-party (web.stagram.com).
Instagram is essentially one of the easiest and lightweight ways to reach out to people through mobile applications. Users have elected to focus their social media usage through Instagram because of a lighter experience. Users do not have to click through extra screens or experience the same friction that is present in the Facebook app.
What can I do with Instagram?
Instagram allows brands and business to connect directly with their fans. Here is a brief rundown of how you can use Instagram for your business.
- Social media sharing: Share photos via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Instagram allows you to add a hashtags, which will help you track any picture via your social networks.
- Contests: If you sell products, asking followers to take photos of themselves using the product and then upload the photo is a great way to engage a user base. It is also a great way to create a contest that has users creating content that is still relevant to your brand. Add an element of interaction by encouraging people to vote on their favorite photo.
- Event marketing: Asking people to take photos of an event you’re having creates more interaction and builds a following for an event.
- Connection: With over 50 million already using Instagram, it is wise to make it another avenue to form connections on a personal level.
- Location: Geo-tagging allows followers to map where the photos are being taken. This is useful for professional event. It can also be made fun as some have already tried to use it as a way to create a virtual scavenger hunt for customers.