Instagram is a free online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking platform that allows its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking platform such as: Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Launched on October 6, 2010, it hit #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch. It also became the iPhone App of the Week. It holds the record as the quickest platform to reach 1 million downloads, and today has over 150 million users, worldwide. 90% of users are under 35 years of age, mostly female. Instagram, although first created as a tool to share experiences and memories by uploading photographs on the go, has evolved exponentially.
Savvy marketers have taken advantage of the technology to market goods and services with the use of photographs and video. By the use of hashtags, people are able to find these pictures and similar pictures to see the product or service first hand on their own device. The reason marketers see Instagram as an effective tool for marketing purposes is because the user has the choice of what they can see, and therefore their followers choose to follow them because they are a fan of the product or service. For this reason, marketers have the advantage of marketing products and services directly to their target market on Instagram.
The best thing about Instagram is anyone can use it; it is extremely user friendly and quite simple to operate. Anyone can be a photographer and build up there profile with whatever pictures they want. People tend to build an identity through Instagram based on the pictures they post. Instagram can be accessed by computers, IPod, iPads, and smart phones and is operated the same way on each platform, which allows for a consistent experience. It is an extremely beneficial tool especially for events because event organizers can take photos from the event and upload it almost immediately and get real time feedback from followers and non-followers (with the use of hastags) by seeing how many “likes” and “comments” they receive on a particular photo or video (15 sec. maximum).
It can also be used as a promotional tool by having contests, which awards a person with a prize just by following them and commenting. Of course, the main purpose of this promotion is to build followers so their messages can be reached further. With hashtagging, a user is able to spread their message or photographs to non-followers just by that user searching for a specific hashtag. It is very important to make hashtags relevant to the photo so users searching that hashtag will land on your photograph. Instagram will continue to grow and evolve by including new features to remain ahead of the competition. As new features are added, marketers will certainly take advantage of the progressing technology. They’ll make use of it to better market their brands or events in the future.