Instawho. Instawhat. INSTAGRAM!

Photo credit: Techcrunch.com

Photo credit: Techcrunch.com

“Sharing is caring.” You’ve heard this said as a life philosophy before, and it is also what makes social media so powerful. But beyond the world of sharing status updates and re-tweets, photo-sharing is quickly becoming the preferred method by consumers and brands alike. Enter Instagram, the world’s hottest photo-sharing app. Instagram, an app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, lets users take photos, apply one of a number of filters, and share them with the world via social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr. This much-buzzed-about app has grown a user base of 10 million in the past two years, and with the pending release of an Android version scheduled for the near future, that number will undoubtedly keep climbing.

Part of Instagram’s appeal is its potential as a marketing tool. As social currency becomes an ever more important factor in the marketing world, apps like Instagram will be a vital way to connect brands with consumers. Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags, so photos of a specific topic are easy to find. The same hashtag can be applied for both Twitter and Instagram, so marketers can quickly measure a program’s traction across multiple social networking services. But it’s Instagram’s core function of photo-sharing that is most important. At a time when consumers are doing their best to cut through clutter, a simple photograph is now the quickest way to convey a specific message.

What’s even more interesting about Instagram is how it has been leveraged for more value. For proof take a look at Brooklyn-based tech shop Breakfast and their location-based product Instaprint. Instaprint is a tangible product that scours Instagram in search of specified hashtags or locations and then prints out the collected photos in a vintage style that mimics Polaroids. The Polaroid-esque prints can then be customized and branded, making them perfect for the experiential world. Forget photo booths and step-and-repeats — with Instaprint, the consumer is the photographer. Now any consumer at any event can proactively engage with the experience. They can print a branded photo onsite, add comments to it and share the final product across their network. Sure, a cool vintage-style photo looks nice on the fridge, but a consumer who uses Instagram to become an advocate for a brand looks even nicer.

So what’s it all mean? It means that a picture really is worth a thousand words. It means that the connection points between consumers and brands are expanding in every direction, and Instagram is on the frontlines of that expansion. When consumers share their Instagram creations with their friends, they are making a statement for all to see. Tie in our clients’ brands and that’s what we call an “Instawin.”

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Written by Fredo Montes
Fredo Montes

January 25th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

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