Instagram is a mobile application that allows users to take a photo and apply a digital filter to it allowing the most amateur photographers to turn into a photography whizz in seconds. It recently grabbed the world’s attention in April when it was snapped up by social networking giant Facebook fora respectable $1bn a sure sign that it is something keep an eye on. It was originally available only on iphone but launched to Android users in 2012 which has seen its number of users grow from 15m to 80m since the beginning of the year, an increase of over 400% in just seven months.
The use of Instagram among top brands has also increased, with new data from Simply Measured showing that 40% of the brands on the Interbrand 100 now have an account on the mobile photo sharing service. Brands such as MTV, Starbucks, Burberry, Tiffany & Co. and Nike have a huge following with numbers topping or near half a million followers. This is unsurprising as it offers them the chance to generate user generated content with an edge that is far more likely to receive positive feedback. Econsultancy have highlighted some recent examples of how these brands have used it, although I would question the supposed creativity of what they have done.
Instagram should be treated like all other social channels and should be considered as an element in a holistic social media strategy. It has the means to build your brand, share news and engage in dialogues and it allows companies to engage with their peers and customers by sharing snapshots of their products, culture and people in an intimate and creative way. Pinterest has shown that image–based posting can be extremely valuable for brands, so it would be foolish to ignore such a readily available stream of content.