Instagram is here to stay.

With new social media platforms popping out quicker than you can count, it’s hard to distinguish which have genuine shots of being successful. However, the social network Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked and brands need to start thinking about how to properly leverage it in their marketing plan. In case you haven’t heard, Instagram is a social network where people share photos they’ve enhanced with different filters available through Instagram. They have filters to make it black and white, make it vintage looking or make it blurry among others. In essence, it allows the common person to be artistic and play professional photographer. And let’s be honest…if you aren’t artistic coughmecough, it feels amazing to take a picture and throw the Earlybird or Brannan filter on a picture and feel like an artistic protégée.

Instagram has more than 80 million users and is quickly growing. While 80 million users seems puny compared to social media titans, Facebook and Twitter, it actually is impressive for three reasons. One, it’s solely on mobile devices and doesn’t have a traditional computer option. Secondly, it was only available for phones running the Android operating system, which is industry leader, since April. (So less than 6 months) And finally, days after it was released for Android, Facebook bought Instagram for a cool billion dollars.

Now not everything Facebook touches turns to gold – by no means, but this purchase is huge for the very first reason I gave as why Instagram is impressive. It has no desktop application. Facebook could change that – quickly. If Facebook would incorporate Instagram’s filters into its site, Instagram’s would be easily accessible to almost a billion people! That’s a pretty big jump from 80 million. In theory, people would be able to go through their photos and add filters. Remember that night with your friends a few years ago? Yeah? Think how much cooler the photo would be with one Instagram’s filters on. Instagram had one billion photos uploaded last April. (April was apparently a good month for Instagram). There are currently over 100 billion photos uploaded on Facebook. One. Hundred. Billion.

What does all this mean for marketers?

Not too many large brands have adopted Instagram, but Sharpie has done some really cool things as well as Nike. It allows customers to interact with their favorite brands in new, creative ways. And like I said earlier, people love to show off their creative side! So let them.  Not every single brand needs to be out on Instagram, BUT every single brand needs to think long and hard if they should be. Instagram isn’t going anywhere, but up and you need to make sure you aren’t starting on the bottom while everyone is already on top. It’s a long, hard journey up that path. To be frank, what do you have to lose? It’s a free account that you and your customers can have a lot of fun with. I don’t see a downside…


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