Facebook buys Instagram; Insta-what?

Facebook has just made a deal to buy photo-sharing social media company Instagram for $1 billion! Now that’s a pretty penny. But what’s fuss over Instagram?

Now Instagram if you haven’t heard of it before now (like Pinterest it’s newly reached huge user numbers) is kind of like Twitter for photos. It allows users to post photos taken on their smart phone, edit it a little with a nice filter and post it to the world-wide net. Like Twitter you have an account with all your photos that other users can choose to ‘follow’ and get all your pictures sent to their feed. You can also choose to #tag your photos like you would your tweets. Yet also like Facebook, users can ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on each of your photos.

So Instagram sort of has a bit of Twitter and a bit of Facebook. You can follow friends, celebrities, bands and random ‘photographers’ you like. Now it seems like Facebook, brands and companies are getting in on the Instagram craze. Starbucks Coffee for example has an Instagram account encouraging users to post photos of their coffee and hash-tag it #starbucks. Instagram is not yet as popular with brands as its social media counterparts Facebook and Twitter but with the takeover by Mark Zuckerberg this could change in the future.

Instagram certainly has the potential to join the likes of the other social media giants in number of users. And with that comes the question – should my brand/business be on there? Certainly you would need to have the right sort of product or service that would lend itself to the photo-world. Car dealers for example could upload their new/used cars and encourage customers to upload images of themselves with their car. Car manufacturers too could ask users to upload their vintage and new model Fords, Holdens or Mazdas. It would work well for a photography company, a florist, a pet store or even a restaurant. The possibilities are endless, and I think in the future this sort of ‘marketing’ will have a strong foothold.

The most popular photos are displayed in the ‘Popular’ feed.

But right now? Maybe not right at this instant, no. Having your brand on Instagram probably won’t make much impact until more people start using the service. But with Facebook’s purchase of the company and their substantial advertising dollar the users could easily skyrocket. After all Zuckerbeg has said he wants to continue to run Instagram independently from Facebook.

“We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.” (thanks to the Herald Sun for this quote).

It doesn’t look like Instagram will be going away any time soon and eventually it might be the place for brands to be. So keep your eyes and ears peeled because soon might come the day when an Instagram account is as an important marketing tool as Facebook or Twitter!

The Marketing Mix are always researching new social media marketing, but not every single one is for you! Talk to us for advise about which social networks you should be on and which may not be the way to go for your particular product or service.

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