As a digital marketer, you may have already dipped your toe in Instagram’s waters and decided it wasn’t right for your brand. That’s fair — not every social outlet, no matter how popular, is right for every business. But, if you haven’t checked out Instagram lately, you might want to take another look.
Instagram made a lot of headlines when Facebook purchased the photo sharing network for $1 billion in April 2012, and since then the application has been adding a ton of features, like video. Take a look at what’s new on Instagram and decide for yourself if you want to give the platform another try.
Social video campaigns may already be a part of your strategy, but Instagram’s foray into video is a little different than YouTube or even its direct competitor, Vine.
We’re big fans of Vine and advocate making use of it as well, but it’s worth noting that Instagram’s video gives you more time to record (15 seconds vs. Vine’s six seconds), and more control. You can delete the last clip while in record mode and you can choose the best frame as your cover shot so the nicest image is in view in the feed. And now you can even upload video from your camera roll. Instagram videos also have a beginning and an end, while Vine videos endlessly loop.
2. Photos of You: Tagging
Now that you can tag other Instagram users in your photos, and others can tag you, you can nicely curate your “Photos of You” tab on your Instagram account. The tagging feature also allows you to connect with other businesses on a new level, beyond @ mentions in comments. Besides having more opportunity for curation and another means of connecting with users, it’s a new way to show off your brand’s identity.
3. Web Tools
As marketers, you want your content to be shared and commented on in as many spaces and places as possible. Instagram has made some strides in the traditional web space to make your Instagram content even more sharable. You can download Instagram badges, similar to those available on other networks like Twitter, to link to your Instagram account from your blog or website. And the addition of web embeds makes it even easier for you and others to showcase your content in articles and blog posts across the web.
Much of the mobile application’s features have been ported to regular old desktop viewability, including being able to view the Instagram home feed and any user’s personal profile page on the web as well.
4. Translation for 25 Languages
If your job is to market to people in a language other than English, Instagram is now properly translated into 25 new languages, including Chinese, Polish, and Turkish to name a few. If Instagram is now offered in the language you use to market to your audience, it could make sense to give it another go. For example, Instagram’s parent company Facebook may be blocked in China, but Instagram isn’t blocked in that country.
5. Instagram on Android
When Instagram first launched it was an iOS only application, and maybe that didn’t work for your business. If you know your customers are primarily Android users, or even if your business runs on Android phones, there’s a good chance you’d have left Instagram behind. But now Android accounts for more than half of the app’s users.
6. Improved Camera and New Filters
If you weren’t a fan of Instagram’s user interface when you first tried the app, you’ll notice it made some significant tweaks to both how the camera works and the output of the photographs. Grid lines and an improved camera roll selector have given the app a much cleaner interface, and it’s added many new filters in the past year, including “Willow” and “Mayfair.”
7. Photo Maps
Photo maps are yet another addition to Instagram’s growing feature set since the Facebook takeover. Users now have the choice of whether or not to add location information to their pictures. As a brand, you can use Photo Maps to showcase your presence in different locations. And as a local business, you can see what kind of photos people are taking at your store; it’s another way to interact, provide customer service, and identify influencers in your network.
Have you reconsidered Instagram or are you still unsure if it makes sense for your social marketing plans?
Jessica McLaughlin: Jessica is a digital media professional in Toronto, Canada with broad experience in web—particularly social media, online communities, content development and blogging. Jessica has worked for many major Canadian broadcasters, including YTV, Food Network, and HGTV.