I admit it, I’m a big Facebook fan and I’m passionate about Pinterest, but now there’s a new social media kid on the block and I am only just beginning to imagine the impact of Instagram. Up until recently, I saw it as more of a fun, silly app where you could take pictures on your phone and share with family and friends. But lately I’ve been hearing about it more at work (Modern Retail) and seeing how our retailers are using it from a business perspective, so I had to do a little research and get the scoop.
What exactly is Instagram?
It’s a free photo-sharing app and social network that allows people to share their life through photos. Available for free from the iTunes App Store or Google Play, Instagram allows you take a picture with your phone or tablet, add a fun filter to give your photo an instant “artsy” appeal, and then share through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. As with other social media sites, you can follow fellow photographers and they can follow you.
Instagram began its journey in March of 2010. As of September 2012, Instagram had more than 1oo million registered users. So great was its appeal and fast its growth, that Facebook snatched it up (the deal closed in September 2012) for a cool $1 billion in cash and stocks. For more statistics on Instagram, check out this great Infographic.
Why the big appeal?
Through sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Flickr, we’ve seen what a visual society we are. We’ve become voyeurs on Facebook – connecting to friends and following businesses –reading news and looking at pictures. We’re pinning on Pinterest not only ideas, but eye-catching photos that speak to us. Maybe you fancy yourself somewhat of an artist posting and sharing photos; just like that, you become known in the online community and create a following of fellow photo enthusiasts. What better app to have than one that makes it easy for us to take and share better pictures? And because you’re using your phone or tablet, you don’t have to worry about professional quality – just keep it fun and authentic.
Instagram for business
As with all of today’s social media, it’s not long before businesses figure out how to harness this latest social networking site and turn it into big bucks. It’s another great way to connect with your customers. Take a quick snapshot of new products coming in or give people a behind the scenes look at your business through photos. Have your customers post pictures wearing or using your products. Hold contests or feature best photos. Build your brand and show your unique perspective. And use those photos in conjunction with your other social media sites. It’s another effective, low cost way to get your business out there.
For more on Instagram and step by step instructions on how to get started, check back here in the next two weeks for The Instagram Impact 2: Getting Started with Instagram for Business. You’ll find simple steps for getting started along with some strategies on using Instagram for Business. While it’s as simple as downloading the app and taking pictures, you’ll want to set it up to optimize your business and come up with a strategy that works for you. Stay tuned for more. . .