I'm at 30,000 feet, headed to Seattle to participate in the Champions Summit put together by Microsoft. This year, I was selected as an Office Champion. I'm headed to learn more about products and services as part of the Office boutique as well as Windows. With the advent of Windows 8 came apps which leads nicely into today's topic of mobile social media applications that drive business.
Twitter and Facebook, definitely. No need to discuss those, right? Two applications come to mind outside of those two: Instagram and Pinterest. While I think Pinterest definitely has seen astronomical growth since its inception, I think the advent of Instagram serves for a better discussion since this was initially a mobile application that took off to great success.
These days businesses use Instagram almost the way that they initially used the web based Pinterest. To pique the interest of consumers. But more than that, it has become a way to further connect with consumers.
Bloggers use Instagram to share posts about their lives in a different way than Pinterest which in turn allows them to grow their following and gives products and brands that they represent further exposure. The ability to seamlessly share to Facebook and Twitter when posting to Instagram is also a great functionality that allows business to further expand their reach.
While someone might not be aware that a particular brand has an Instagram account, seeing it flow through their timeline as they are perusing Twitter further exposes them to the brand and products. There are small businesses that typically have an Etsy page for all of their creations but now can (and do) post pictures on Instagram directing their followers to buy or check out a particular product or service.
This gives businesses quick hits for both brand exposure and connection to new and existing clients. Businesses also benefit when their products are photographed by their consumers. Instagram has the ability for images to be tagged and a consumer can always mention the brand either by their Twitter handle or with a hashtag.
Contests abound on Instagram. While initially this was a mobile app only, you can now manage your account from a desktop (a feature previously unavailable). With the increase popularity of Instagram, we find a site like Statigr.am which gives you some great metrics regarding the images posted. A business is able to see the impressions (likes/comments) of a particular image and can track to see what does well with regards to exposure.
The popularity and importance of Instagram is evident by the fact that it was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion.
I think any business looking to garnish more business and connect more closely to their consumer (especially if they are offering a product) should definitely look into getting an Instagram account.
Tell me, do you think Instagram can drive business as a social media application?