How Brands Can Access an Instant Audience with Instagram

If you own an iPhone or take a general interest in mobile applications, it can probably be assumed that you have heard and may likely use Instagram, a simple mobile application that allows users to snap a photo (or choose from an existing one within their albums), apply one of 11 different filters and quickly share across the social space. To say that this application is growing in popularity is an understatement. According to Mashable, within the first week, the iPhone-only app garnered 100,000 registrations and by week 10, 1 million users had signed up for the service. At present, the platform has over 2 million registered users, who upload around 290,000 photos per day.

Why it’s so popular:

-People love photos! Whether capturing or browsing through them, photos are easy on the eye, quick and fun to skim through and can provide stimulating visual content.

-The filter function is just plain fun. These filters allow users to transform the color, mood, border and tonality of their photos. Within few seconds, you can turn your mobile image into an electrifyingly bright photo by using Lomo-fi filter.

– This is not just a photo app. In addition to sharing photos through Instagram’s network, users can instantly upload their pictures to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Tumblr.

– Simplicity: Let’s take a look at the recent apps that have gone viral – Cut the Rope, Angry Bird, Bubble Ball, and Instagram. The common denominator here is that they are simple. These apps do not have fancy features and none of them require users to go through a tedious tutorial.

– And the most important of all: it’s free.

In January, Instagram introduced a new hashtag feature that allows app users to add #hashtags to their own photos. The introduction of this feature opened doors for brands to incorporate Instagram into their own social media campaigns. In fact, several brands have already jumped on the bandwagon and are experiencing success.

Starbucks

Of course, Starbucks, one of the most social media savvy brands, would not take a backseat to this new trend. Through the brand profile, users are able to view unique photos from “exclusive” content such as coffee tasting sessions in boardrooms, a new logo launch, and product promotions. Currently Starbucks maintains over 9,000 followers and actively uses Instagram to engage with their fans. The ability for fans to view behind the scenes of a large conglomerate allows for a personalized social experience and helps maintain further brand loyalty.

MTV

MTV is another example of a big name utilizing a hot social media trend. Instead of solely sharing photos from their MTV headquarters, MTV utilized Instagram for live coverage at the Grammys. Grammy fans were able to get a first hand look at the red carpet traffic and shots of behind the stage activities. Instagram users just had to follow MTV’s Instagram account or search for #MTV.

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