For Instagram, a picture IS worth a thousand words. Or a billion dollars. I’ve done a little research for today’s topic. A little is really all it took, because Instagram is only about two years old. In that short time, Instagram has gone from a very creative and novel photo-sharing mobile app for the iPhone to an (approximately) 100 million user app valued at $1 billion after its April 2012 acquisition by Facebook.

I mentioned the novelty, right? But believe me, by novel, I don’t mean ‘a joke.’  Instagram, on it’s own, has some fun photo effect capabilities and is a rudimentary social network, providing a basic profile, a ‘like’ button and a comment space along with a user and hashtag search capability. Hashtags work as one might expect, collecting images by specific tags. Instagram photos can be uploaded to other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr extending impressions and reach.

So what’s in it for marketers, community managers and brands? A few statistics from Brian Honigman’s November 2012 Huff Post Tech Blog:

  • An average of over 7 million daily users.
  • More than 5 million photo uploads per day.
  • Forty percent of brands have joined Instagram. Take a look at the Top 25.
  • Instagram users spend more time on the app than Twitter users (Month of August 2012: 257 mins vs. 170 mins.)

(All statistics are prior to the December 2012 debacle of planned changes to Instagram’s Terms of Use.)

Let’s talk about Instagram’s impact (and potential) on social media and marketing/branding.

Q1) Lots Instagram users are just sharing pics. How do businesses/brands break into the collective consciousness?

Q2) As a business or brand, what is the point of photo-sharing?

Q3) As a community manager, how do you blend Instagram into your community?

Q4) What are some novel uses for Instagram?

Q5) In the big picture of mobile marketing/branding, what do you see as Instagram’s (potential) impact?

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