One of the hottest apps of 2012, and maybe ever, is Instagram. If you’re not familiar with it, Instagram allows you to take pictures with your mobile device’s camera and make it look like you took the picture with your grandmother’s camera. You can change color schemes, add filters, and give your memories a rustic, quirky feel. This has raised an interesting question: Why would anyone want to take a high resolution, high DPI image, and make it look like an old Polaroid?
As technology advances and we eagerly anticipate the “next new thing,” we sometimes forget that it’s the human elements that make the difference between a successful product and an unsuccessful product. People are flocking to Instagram, and your business should utilize its potential because of that human element. Instagram allows us to crave technology, and it gives us creative control. At the same time, Instagram allows us to escape to another time, a more simple time, and a better time when technology didn’t run our lives. Confused? Sure Instagram creates a bit of irony for itself, but it’s not that far-fetched. Instagram is popular for the same reason why “The Wonder Years,” a TV show about life in the 1960s, was popular during its run in the 1990s. It’s nostalgia in real time, and it reminds us that today really isn’t all that different from yesterday.
So what does this have to do with your business? Why is it important for a business to be on Instagram? Instagram gives you the power to be really creative with your social media marketing. Photos are already one of the best ways to interact with potential business online. A recent Facebook study shows that posts with photos receive 50 percent more “likes” and comments than text-only posts. Instagram will help increase these numbers, because they will give your business a “hip” factor. And because you can edit the picture, there’s no need to worry about how professional your pictures look. If you’re in a field like real estate, where you need to have detailed photos, remember you can also post pictures without editing through Instagram and still maintain that hip factor.
The potential for your business and Instagram are as unlimited as your creativity will allow. There are several fun ways to use Instagram to interact with customers. You can hold contests and give away prizes for the best Instagram photo, based on how unique the photo looks. You can post your own photos and ask your Facebook fans to come up with a more creative version of the same picture. If you are in the business of creating memories, like a vacation-service industry, photos should already be your life-blood. The customizing Instagram allows can only benefit your business. You will be surprised to see how your customers will interact. There are stories online of children using Instagram to try to duplicate a picture that their mother or father took at the same vacation destination when they were kids. Even wedding photographers are experimenting with Instagram. Colleges use Instagram to showcase campuses. Restaurants showcase great dishes. Girl Scouts use it to demonstrate training sessions. The possibilities are limitless.
The key to Instagram is to have fun with it. If you’re having fun with it, you can be assured that the people you interact with on social media will do the same. The great aspect of Instagram is there is no clear definition of perfect. However you use Instagram, make sure to include hashtags (#) on everything you do! Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags as a way for people to connect. Instagram continues to grow in popularity and so do the websites and additional apps with even more features. There are several apps and websites you can find online that interact with Instagram, so you don’t have to edit on a mobile device. Followgram (http://followgram.me/) is probably the best web-based service, but there are dozens of others just like it. Facebook’s recent $1 billion purchase of Instagram means that it will soon be easier than ever to use the two social networking sites together. As with anything that is a hot-current thing, staying up to date on changes is always key.
So get creative and get Instagram on your favorite Apple or Android mobile device today to start interacting and growing your business while having fun with it!