Using Instagram for Business

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a free popular photo sharing app.  This app allows you to take pictures and share it with the world and also apply filters to your photos to spruce them up a bit.  A boring photo on a phone could be turned into a visually aesthetic photo and earn a top spot on Instagram’s “popular” page where the popular photos of the moment are listed.

Photos that are taken can be shared with different social media networks within the app so you only have to upload a photo once. The social networks that have access to share a photo from Instagram are: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

What is Instagram?

Instagram photo sharing app

A user also has the ability to geo-tag photos which then allows the user to share their location on Foursquare by checking in.

Instagram photo map

Instagram profile, photo sharing, and photo map.

Instagram Features

Should professionals or businesses use Instagram?

Sure! Instagram allows a professional or business to share their brand visually.

Let’s discuss Instagram’s features and how businesses can get involved.

Currently, there are 17 filters that a user can apply to their photos.  Filters are different effects that a user can apply to their photo to enhance the look of it. Here are three examples of different filters compared to the original photo:

Instagram normal filter

Instagram normal filter

 

Instagram earlybird filter

Instagram earlybird filter

Instagram sutro filter

Instagram sutro filter

Instagram kelvin filter

Instagram kelvin filter

Instagram inkwell filter

Instagram inkwell filter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram is fairly easy to use. You simply take a photo through the app itself or choose a photo from your phone and apply a filter to it. Once you’re happy with your photo effect, you press the share button and it is shared on your Instagram profile and any other social network mentioned above if you’ve choosen to do so.

Instagram VS Other Social Networks

This social media app it started out being available to iPhone users only. It is unlike other social networks because it’s specifically for sharing photos.

There are no status updates, messages, and games just to name a few differences.  However, you can:

  • “follow” people,
  • create hash-tags,
  • “tag” friends,
  • “like” photos,
  • view your newsfeed, and
  • display your profile to the world or make it private for your friends and family viewing pleasure only.

Later, Instagram came to Android devices as well. For now, the only way you can get an Instagram account is by having an Apple or Android device to sign up.  You must download the app from the app store on your smart phone to get started.

Many people wanted to be able to view Instagram outside of their phones, and now that’s possible.

Several sites that have been developed to do just that.  Some examples are http://web.stagram.com and http://followgram.me.

Webstagram instagram web viewer

Webstagram Instagram web viewer

Followgram instagram web viewer

Followgram Instagram web viewer

 

Using Instagram for Business

Businesses are beginning to use Instagram to their advantage.  Instagram allows a business to get their brand out  creatively and visually. It’s being used as another marketing tool just like other social networking sites.  Businesses are appealing to audiences that like images more than words.  No doubt, a photo will catch a person’s eye quicker than a bunch of text.

A business or professional can share photos of conferences or events they attend, behind-the-scene exclusive photos, customer photos, new product photos and more.  A business can share a photo without using a lot of words in the caption and draw more people to their site or product by simply catching their attention with an awesome photo.

Below is an image of  Mashable’s Instagram account.

Mashable is one of the biggest sources for all of your social media and technology news.  The iPhone 5 was recently unveiled and Mashable posted a picture to their Instagram account of it.  The iPhone 5 is big news and Mashable visually shared this with their readers.  If someone wanted to know more about the iPhone 5 they could simply visit Mashable’s website to get all of the details.

Mashable's Instagram profile

Mashable's Instagram profile

Would you like to see more? Here’s a quick video on how to use Instagram for iPhone or Android:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JETkbUfWY-4 via SmartphoneNirvana.com

So if you love to take photos of your products or display what your business has to offer to the world then you should definitely give Instagram a try!  Go to your smart phone’s app store now to get started.

Still not sure about using Instagram for your business? Get a lot more information and examples of business use via Instagram’s official website: http://help.instagram.com/customer/portal/topics/43530-instagram-for-businesses

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, and worked as a Social Media Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates over the summer of 2012.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.