Instagram is a free, fun, and simple way to make and share gorgeous photos on your mobile device. Instagram resembles both Flickr and Twitter by using hashtags and a stream of photos with comments from the photographer and viewers. Images are shared through the feed and followers can “like” and/or comment on the photos.
Users can pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects or tilt-shift blur to breathe a new life into your mobile photos.
Share your photos in a simple photo stream with friends to see – and follow your friends’ photos with the click of a single button. Every day you open up Instagram, you’ll see new photos from your closest friends, and creative people from around the world.
How do I get Instagram?
Instagram is an app native to mobile devices. You can’t sign up for it on the web, you must install the app from iTunes or Google Play on your device, and sign up for an account through the installed app. Once you have an account you can see your photos and your account online through Instagram.com.
Instagram also has several sister sites for viewing, analytics and printing your photos (there are more everyday, so Google “Instagram” and see what’s new)
- Web.stagram – an Instagram viewer
- Statigram – for analytics and viewing
- Printstagram – for printing your favorite images
Why should I use Instagram for my business?
Instagram is my favorite app because I love photography, and combining it with social media gives me an opportunity to connect with a whole new audience! I’ve added many of my photos on my blog as posts generating “likes” and building my subscriber list.
As I investigated this app and watched the feed of others I began to see some awesome potential.
- @Jonahbonah uses her feed to gather interest in her new sewing projects, asking her viewers which fabrics they prefer, then showing completed projects with links to her Etsy.com site.
- @explorenashville uses the feed to gather and promote great photos of Nashville, and gives credit to the Instagram photographer, building followers and excitement for Nashville.
@nashvillesymph uses their twitter feed to find great tweets about the Nashville Symphony (Instagram allows you to tweet your photos) to reward interactions – giving away tickets randomly each week for the best social media mentions.
Each social media channel you use is another venue to tell your story. These businesses are being creative and using visual content to build trust and interact with clients and future clients.
“Marketing is about telling stories and few things tell stories faster than a picture. Images are growing faster than any other form of content online due, in large part, to the tremendous growth of camera equipped smart phones”
Instagram helps me tell my story:
#1 – I can use the profile area as a subtle advertisement of who I am and my website.
#2 – I connect with people in a visual way, that builds my brand, whether I just take great landscape shots or I share my new products.
#3 – Commenting and Liking is encouraged – therefore I’m interacting with my clients, collaborators and I’m building trust with future clients.
“Create great content, regularly participate with other users, and you are guaranteed to get your story out.”
Instagram and Social Media Channels
When I post a photo to my Instagram feed I choose to tweet it and send it to my Flickr account at the same time. It automates my work and sends my photos out to a three different audiences at the same time. I choose hashtags (#) carefully to make sure the photo can be found in relative searches, increasing my SEO. There are options for sending my photo to Facebook, but I found the shortened link that appears on the FB page – keeps users from commenting and liking. If I post it myself to FB, I increase the interactions.
I’ve also discovered a way to post photos to my blog automatically. I’ll be exploring IFTTT.com next time.
On September 19th I had the opportunity to present “Embracing and Utilizing New Technology” to 160 entrepreneurs at the Women TIES Retreat in Skaneateles, New York. I’m taking this opportunity to re-purpose the information as blog posts for the next few weeks – giving more details and offering the opportunity for questions. Feel free to comment or ask questions.