The Instagram Snapshot
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking platforms that allows users to take pictures and photos, apply digital effect filters to them and then share them online with hashtags and comments. A unique feature of Instagram is the unique photos that it produces. First, similar to the first Kodak and Polaroid cameras, the photos are square in shape as opposed to the more customary rectangular (16:9 ratio) shape that most current cameras and camera apps take. Also with the different filters that Instagram offers, creative users can produce some pretty unique photos. Instagram was designed for the mobile device, originally just the iPhone when it was created in 2010. Because of its popularity, two years later, it was introduced to the Android market and eventually the Windows mobile platform.
Instagram is a great app for sharing pictures. But what does it mean for business? As with any social media platform, you have to evaluate for it for its strengths. I like to use the A-C-E method for evaluating social platforms for use in an organization’s social media platform. Is your target audience (A) using the platform? Are you sharing the right content (C) for that platform? Is it easy (E) enough for the social media manager to use that platform.
The Instagram Audience
Instagram already has quite an impressive following. As of January, 2014, Instagram has more than 150 million registered users. Similar to PInterest, Instagram’s user base is made up of more woman (68% female; 32% male). Instagram is definitely more popular in urban areas than rural or suburban areas. Finally, compared to its video rival, Vine, Instagram attracts more audience engagement.
Instagram is home to some of the highest quality photos and videos on the web. On average, 544 million pieces of content are shared daily. The cool part about Instagram, is that people spend more time on Instagram editing or manipulating their content than on any other platform. Also, Instagram allows for commenting and hash tag organization which is really cool for businesses.
Ease of Use
I think ease of use is in the hand of user. Overall, Instagram was built to be very user friendly and easy to use. What is great about Instagram is that you can share pictures very easily but as you become more accustomed to the interface, the quality of your content will greatly increase. You learn new filters and other image manipulation techniques that increase the quality of your photos.
When your organization has a lot of visual content, Instagram is a great fit in your social media plan. One of the best case studies for effective use of Instagram comes from one of my hometown baseball clubs, the Chicago White Sox. (I will abstain from declaring my Chicago baseball allegiance in this blog post). The White Sox had a social media day and invited all of the fans to bring their camera phones and take pictures with Instagram and share them with a specific hashtag. The best pictures were shown on the digital scoreboard. The single best digital photographer was made the “official photographer” of an upcoming game was allowed media access to a future game. I thought it was a low cost, brilliant strategy for incorporating social media into an old fashioned American pastime and giving away an amazing opportunity.
In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion. This shows that the biggest social platform out there believes in Instagram. I agree too. For the right business, Instagram can be a great way to get the most of our of your social media investment.