Instagram: niche social network or brand platform?


Even if you don’t use the online photo-sharing social networking service that is Instagram, you’ve probably encountered an Instagram image somewhere online. Instagram’s calling card is the photo filter; a digital layer that gives the appearance of professional editing to a standard photo.

With the new addition of video capability on Instagram in June, it’s a good time to talk about how companies are using this rapidly growing platform for business purposes. After all, Instagram already has a built-in audience with 130 million monthly active users, liking on average 1 billion photos each day.Social network

Key features for brands

The addition of video allows brands to create great new content using Instagram’s filters and with fifteen seconds allowed, it gives greater opportunity to get a complete message across. For those brands that would prefer to keep their platform management to a minimum, it means they can at least upload both photo and video to the same platform.

Photos of You works in the same way as Facebook in allowing users to tag their friends in photographs. For example, if a user takes a photo of their Starbucks coffee with a friend, they can tag both the friend and Starbucks in that photo. The photo will then appear in the ‘Photos of You’ section of the friend and the brand.

Who’s on Instagram?

General ElectricSocial network 1

In the case of General Electric, which has over 141,000 followers on Instagram, the intent is to showcase the company’s impact in areas like energy and transportation by appealing to enthusiasts with photos of engines, turbines and locomotives.

“We love the idea that Instagram lets us share this intersection of science and technology, but doing it from a very visual, artistic point of view,” said Linda Boff, executive director of global digital marketing. “When you’re as complicated as GE, how you tell the story and how you bring the company to life is incredibly important.”

NatGeoSocial network4

Always known for their up-close-and-personal wildlife images and stories, National Geographic offers its Instagram fans an inside look at the talent of their dynamic team.

Adobe SocialSocial network5

Despite being a B2B company, Adobe decided to use Instagram as a way of promoting the launch of its new Adobe Social software. The idea was fairly simple – just take a photo of yourself doing something social and upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #AdobeSocial.

Whether or not the addition of video to Instagram was in direct response to the growth of Twitter’s Vine, one thing is for sure – Instagram is changing from a niche social network to something very different. Now that businesses can use the app to make their own videos and upload them to Facebook, expect to see a lot more interaction on the Facebook front.