In terms of functionality, you might think that Instagram’s sole purpose as a camera app is to take pictures of food and put a filter over it, and you would probably be right in that assumption. Instagram, quite simply, is there to help users share photos from their everyday life. But like with every social media platform, there is an opportunity to turn it into a marketing driver for businesses. Since its release in 2010, people have been flocking to the site. In fact, as of February 2013, Instagram had a total of over 100 million active users. This makes it a huge pot for businesses to get in on the action, create some engaging content and increase brand awareness.
But how do businesses use it effectively? Fortunately there are businesses out there that have already cracked the Instagram puzzle. I direct your attention to the coffee giant Starbucks
How Starbucks have made use of Instagram is quite simple. They play upon the “emotional connections” that customers have had with Starbucks over the years and turn their product photos into works of art (as much as coffee can be considered a work of art). They also use Starbucks as a platform to get their new creations out to the public and raise awareness for the product. These approaches combined have allowed Starbucks to gain 1.4 million followers on the site.
Still not convinced that businesses can use Instagram effectively yet? Lets consider a slightly different organisation, perhaps General Electric?
General Electric approach Instagram knowing that there is no real emotional attachment between users and their products. So what do they do? They try and blow you away! Most of the photos on their Instagram involve trying to amaze you with the technology that they have at their fingertips. Whether it be inside a factory or up in the sky with a fighter jet, they have successfully captured the attention of many a tech geek with followers in excess of 140,000. Quite astonishing when you consider that General Electric probably isn’t going to be the first company you follow on Instagram. They don’t just stop there though. They also conduct Instagram competitions with the chance of your photo being uploaded on their Instagram feed.
So there you have it. You may still not be convinced that it can be used in a business sense but when a site has 100 million followers and has only been up for 3 years, it may be time to start following suit before you turn into a social laggard.
Content Assistant – Daniel Horton – @ItsDanielHorton