Have you heard of Instagram? I know, I know, there are so many new social platforms and networks, how can we possibly keep up? But Instagram is one you should know. Why? Because it’s visual. And so many businesses are visual. Trust me here…and read on.

First, a few words about what Instagram is and does. It’s primarily a photo-sharing network. It’s become particularly popular because it started as an iPhone app, rather than a web-based network, and so it caught fire because it made it easy to share photos, taken with your phone, instantly with your friends and colleagues. Instagram has its own network and also allows you to post pictures to your Twitter or Facebook followers, or to other networks including Flickr, Tumblr or Posterous. You can also email directly from the app itself. There are other cool features, like slick filters which can make your photo look like it was taken in 1977. Generally a lot of fun.

Brands are already using Instagram in some really cool ways. Check out these examples and maybe you’ll be inspired.

Brisk at SxSW

brisk briskpics instagram promotion
Brisk invited fans to submit photos via Instagram in advance of the South by Southwest (SxSW) event this past March. They collected thousands of photos, all tagged with the #briskpics hashtag, and selected a few dozen of them to appear on special Brisk Tea cans at the event.

Jamie Oliver

This celebrity chef has amassed nearly 39,000 followers by posting pics of the food he’s serving at his restaurants and places he visits in his travels. Instagram is perfect for any visual business, and food is no exception.

ABC News

ABC has an Instagram account (abcworldnews) with more than 3,000 followers. They’re one of few news organizations using the service, but they use it well, posting pics from events of the day.


Gucci on Instagram
One of the world’s top fashion brands, Gucci has taken advantage of the visual medium to showcase fashion, celebrities and trends. They have a much smaller follower base than Jamie Oliver or ABC News, but that’s to be expected from a luxury brand. I’d bet that their followers are primarily their shoppers – or those who really want to be their shoppers. Imagine the powerful brand loyalty they’re creating?

There are a slew of Instagram add-on apps and services, including:

  • Postagram: a service to turn your Instagram pics into physical postcards (they’ll even mail them for you!)
  • Instagallery: An Instagram gallery browsing program, beautiful on the iPad.
  • Instamap: Lets you browse photos by location, like when you’re traveling – great for sightseeing and identifying what you’re looking at.
  • Plus a whole host of Web-based Instagram apps, including Extragr.am. These allow you to view and share Instagram photos via the web.

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and take pics, and share! And think about how Instagram can benefit your brand.