What is it:
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social networking app and website that allows you to apply a number of filters and frames to your pictures and videos, that you can then share with the world.
What do you like / dislike:
As a picture based app I should love it but I just don’t. It’s most likely due to the fact that it’s about sharing your own images and I don’t do that very often so it’s not something I would use regularly. Maybe if I were a stunt person or even a florist where my days were quite varied, I’d have lot to share and would use Instagram more regularly to jazz up photos, but I don’t so I won’t. Also, call me old fashioned but I quite like taking pictures with a normal camera or throw away and editing them before posting them, if I felt like it.
Is it good for business:
Besides my grumpy old woman cynicism of this new skool app, it’s not that bad really and a lot of people, brands and businesses love Instagram and I can see the appeal of it.
Instagram is about finding your brand ambassadors or loyal customers and having conversations with them. It’s great for building your business’s personality and trust and giving your audience behind the scenes access to new products or events.
Downside: You can’t add links to your pictures or videos or share any from your website or upload any unless they’re already on your phone. It does however a good job of making novice phone pictures look pretty cool.
Brands who use Instagram well
Of the brands that use Instagram well, do so because they portray a personality, use a mix of content, a lot of it being produced by their fans which they then share and they also give you access to pictures to areas you wouldn’t ordinarily get see to unless you worked there.
I think pretty much any business or brand could use Instagram because you could take pictures of your products or team, events, basically any time you want to take a picture for social (which you should because pictures work!) you could just add the extra step of Instagramming your picture. The added benefit of Instagram is that you can post to multiple social networks at once, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc which means you get to share your trendy hipstamatic styled pictures across a number of channels at once, where your specific hashtags will work. Instagram is the only place that I've found that hashtags are actually integral to sharing. It's how people search and discover images (just don't go crazy and add millions of hashtags to each image unless you want to look like a right spammer!). On Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, I think, just add clutter and noise to your message.
So, great for building brand awareness but limiting in that you can't put a tracked linked in the status, so you won't be bringing in any traffic to your website via those photos. My verdict is that it's a nice to have but not an essential all-rounder like Facebook.