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Instagram is a free iOS and Android photo sharing app launched in October 2010. It allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram’s own. Instagram’s distinctive feature is its photo filter, a digital layer that gives snapshots the appearance of professional editing. Some filters enhance the colors, while others dull the light to a soft glow for an aged, vintage appearance.

Instagram users take and share pictures on their smartphones and “follow” other users’ photostreams, a model similar to Pinterest’s. The app has revolutionized mobile photo editing and has great potential for social media branding and outreach.

EMBRACE THE NEW VISUAL TREND

Social media users like images in posts. A study conducted by Facebook analyzed journalists’ pages and found posts with pictures were much more popular than posts without them. Photos received 50% more “likes” from viewers than text posts, and journalists who shared links with a thumbnail image got 65% more likes and 50% more comments than posts without photos.

You’ll show you’re ahead of the curve just by using Instagram, so you’ll gain interest from customers. Anytime you plan to post on social media, think about how an Instagram photo might be used to tap into your audience. Have a new product? Snap a nice close-up photo and write an attention-grabbing caption. Test different filters and camera angles, and don’t worry about being a professional photographer.

USE INSTAGRAM FOR:

  • Social media sharing: Share photos via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Instagram allows you to add a hashtags, which will help you track any picture via your social networks.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Name your photos with keywords, including alt tags, using Instagram’s editing features.
  • Contests: If you sell products, ask customers to take photos of themselves using the product and then upload the photo to win a prize. Add an element of interaction by encouraging people to vote on their favorite photo.
  • Event marketing: Ask people to take photos of an event you’re having. This generates excitement about the event and creates more interaction.
  • Connection: Your customers are probably already using Instagram, making it another avenue to form connections.
  • Location: Instagram’s geo-tagging gives followers an easy way to map where the photos are being taken. This is especially useful if you are at a professional event or if you want to try a virtual scavenger hunt with your customers.