Whether you are just starting to use social media for your business or you've been posting to social networks for years, Instagram is a powerful tool to use to promote your business via social media.
I love Instagram because it takes care of two of the biggest issues with managing your social media content and posts:
- Not having enough time to post
- Battling Facebook's edgerank system & third-party app algorithms when using an application (app) to post on your behalf
Instagram is a mobile application — this means you can use it on your smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad) to take and share photos across multiple social networks. On top of that, Instagram is a social network in its own right. Many users connect with others via their photos and have conversations in the comments on the photos that are shared.
In addition, Instagram is visually pleasing. The photos are cropped square and users can choose from any number of frames, editing tools, and effects that give photos a variety of vintage style, pro-photographer looks. These looks are so popular that photographers have created Adobe Lightroom presets to imitate the effects available on Instagram: http://www.thephoblographer.com/2013/01/17/instagrams-presets-come-to-lightroom/
Not only is Instagram and great photo sharing and editing tool, it is a powerful social media tool. Last year, Facebook acquired Instagram. http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/facebook-instagram-buy/. As a result of this change in ownership, Facebook “treats” Instagrams activity much differently than it treats other 3rd party apps. Generally, posts made by 3rd party apps (applications developed by companies other than YOU or Facebook) on your Facebook Page appear in fewer of your followers' newsfeeds than posts you physcially make yourself on Facebook.com directly. This means fewer people see your posts when you post with an app than if you posted directly onto Facebook.com. Typical 3rd party apps you may have heard of or might be using would be HootSuite, SproutSocial, NetworkedBlogs, or any other application (app) that helps you add content (photos, posts, etc) to your Facebook Page. The general belief is that Facebook only makes money when you are ON Facebook.com, viewing their advertisements. If you post to Facebook with an app, you aren't looking at ads and Facebook is not making money from your all of the ads your eyes would have been seeing.
Instagram helps you save time by allowing you to post a photo to not only twitter, flickr, Fourquare, and tumblr at the same time as to Instagram, but also to the almighty Facebook. This saves you time and aggravation over dealing with other 3rd party apps.
Here's an experiment to try. Post a photo to your Facebook Page using a 3rd party app like HootSuite. After 24 hours, check to see how many people have viewed the image. Then, share the SAME photo to Facebook using Instagram. Compare the numbers after 24 hours. Each post takes about the same amount of effort with vastly different results.
Stay tuned because we'll be posting tips and tricks about using Instagram all month long in our “Why We Love Instagram” series.