“If Twitter and Flickr could have had a baby it would have been Instagram,” says Christi Tasker, CEO, author, and speaker of PuTTin’ Out. Tasker established her credibiltiy in the social media space in the early days of Myspace and Webkinz. However, as today’s social space turns visual, Instagram is at the forefront of great pictures and now 15 second videos.
So what is Instagram and why does it matter to retailers? Instagram combines the photo experience of Flickr with the real-time conversation element of Twitter. Instagram has become the fastest growing mobile application to “capture and share the world’s moment.” It’s a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Foursquare, or even email. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it’s gained 15 million users. Growing at a rate of 2 million users per month, users have uploaded 400 million photos in less than two years (60 photos per second). Ten percent of all photos taken by humankind were taken in the past 12 months. The strengths of Instagram are the filter, social community and tag-driven search functions with geo-tag capabilities that group pictures of that particular site.
Nordstrom is considered a retail industry leader for Instagram. The company incorporates a behind-the-scenes look from their employees. Employees of Nordstrom who send in the best photo are rewarded with prizes. Talk about a great incentive and great way for the company to collaborate/compete for having the most creative pictures on Instagram! Other successful retail brands on Instagram include Starbucks, Nike, Gucci, Burberry, December Diamonds, Victoria Secret and Michael Kors. All have been effective in spreading awareness and cultivating relationships with their biggest fans.
How do you correlate sales to Instagram photos? Answer: Chirpify. Chirpify is the only in-stream social selling commerce platform that allows fans to comment on photo and leads them to directly buy. Users can hook it up to a Paypal account and never leave Instagram. Talk about revolutionary for retailers! So start thinking of your second hobby as a photographer. Make sure you are decorating a table with candy and other home-made sweets if you are trying to sell your new candy dish. You need to dress up your photos and use relevant hashtags such as #candy #sweets #antique. Check out how Sore Footwear and Adidas use this social selling commerce platform to get ideas. Instagram also recently added the embed code so you can embed your pictures on your website.
Instagram is quickly outpacing Foursquare as the largest mobile social network: 91 percent of U.S. citizens have mobile phones within reach 24/7; 25 percent of people in the U.S. have totally abandoned their laptops for exclusive use of their mobile devices; and opting to download mobile apps 10.9 billion times is expected to peak in 2013. Why is Instagram so cool? Users process more information more quickly from images than from text thus images drive more audience engagement than text content.
The popularity of Instagram derives from the ability to tell a story through visual images. Seventy percent of Facebook user activity centers on uploading, liking and sharing photos. No wonder they purchased Instagram in 2012 for better picture sharing and increased engagement. Users are posting lifestyle photos that are visually appealing. People love visual content, and photos tell stories. Storytelling is crucial to the social success of your content, and the emotions associated with photos carry a lot of weight.
Your brand should maintain consistent posting frequency by posting at least two Instagram photos every week to inspire follower growth. Focus on posting interesting images with good production value and quality photography rules such as light, composition, contrast, geometry, emotion and processing.
Your Instagram Cheat Sheet:
- Images: Filters, frames, caption, @tagging, #hashtags, geotag location, Tilt-shift teardrop for creating an illusion of depth, eye button to rotating picture.
- Hashtags: Each hashtag has its own page, and its own RSS feed where the photos with that tag are displayed. Research what people in your industry are posting by searching relevant #hashtags. This is also a good way to find new people to follow. Check out Tag for likes too.
- Leave constructive comments, start conversations and be nice.
- Geotagging: Tag your location to make it easier for people to find your account.
- Photo Competitions: Submit photos to competitions such as instadaily.com.
- Measurement: Take a look at Statigram, Inkstagram\ or Gramfeed.
- Use this list of Instagram apps:
- Postagramapp.com-Send actual Integra postcards
- Printstagr.am-Mini books, teeny books and posters
- Teenytile.com-Make teeny tile from your photos
- Stickygram.com-Fridge magnets from your Instaphotos
What Instagram pictures are you sharing? Let us know!