Instagram is a mobile-only social network for iPhone that lets users take pictures and apply unique digital filters. While it is currently only available for Apple phone products, it will soon also be released for Android.
The mobile app appeals to a wide range of users because of people's obsessions with their iPhones, the engagement power of Facebook and the easy availability of having a high-quality camera in your pocket, explains consultant Jeff Bullas in a blog post. Companies and users can drive traffic to their social media sites to share with friends and followers, and Instagram allows brands to post photos while instantaneously interacting with consumers - a mobile marketing model that has been harnessed by a wide array of well-known companies.
For instance, Coca-Cola's recent Heart Truth campaign used Instagram to help raise awareness for women's heart health. Users were able to upload pictures of themselves holding a heart with the accompanying hashtag #ShowYourHeart for a chance to win tickets to a fashion runway show and a shopping spree.
"While it is a niche network - but growing quickly - the users on Instagram are incredibly involved and interact with content at incredibly high rates," Ron Schott, senior strategist at Spring Creek Group in Seattle, Washington, told the media outlet.
In addition, publisher Conde-Nast, owner of Glamour magazine, uses the app to post fashion and beauty images from editors that give users a chance to view the inner workings of the publication.
Gap utilizes the app for a similar purpose, creating a photo album on its Facebook page with uploaded Instagram pictures of photo shoots, products and sources of inspiration. This benefits users two-fold, because it also allows those who don't have Instragram to get involved.
What's more, Levi's used Instagram to find pictures for an upcoming marketing campaign, allowing users to post pictures of themselves with Levi products and incorporate the hashtag #IamLevis. Winners were featured in the campaign.
"Instagram, more than other social networks out there, really allows brands to become content creators, not just syndicators," Schott added, as quoted by the news source. "It is quickly becoming a way for brands to not only showcase products, but to give a behind-the-scenes look at their team, process and culture."
Instagram has even extended to presidential campaigns, as President Barack Obama uses the app to display snapshots of events he attends.