This month we take a look at Instagram, the social media platform that’s growing and growing in popularity. It’s fast gaining a reputation as the “cool kids” platform, largely due to it having tapped into the creative, image-based online life of young people.

Instagram was the brainchild of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger who met at Stanford University. Kevin had no formal training in computers and coding but found that he really enjoyed it. So while he was working full time during the day as a product manager he learned to code at nights after work. Kevin worked on a part-time project called Burbn which was an app that allowed people to check in and share photos, the app proved to be very confusing but one element that was a unanimous success and heavily used was the ability for users to share their own photos. Coincidentally Mike had also worked on a photo sharing app for a class at university and once the two decided to come together, momentum grew. After ditching Burbn they decided to focus on developing their own photo sharing app. Months and months of carefully researching the competition, experimenting and testing their ideas, Instagram was finally launched in October 2010. 25,000 people embraced this new app on its first day!

Sold to Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion in cash and stock, Instagram now has over 1 billion users across the globe, securing its place as one of the most popular of all social media platforms. In fact, only Facebook and YouTube come anywhere close to those numbers in terms of monthly usage.

So after that potted history, what actually is Instagram?!

  • It’s a free photo and video sharing app available on Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
  • As with many other social media platforms, it’s available to users age 13 and over. Whilst it has users of all ages, it definitely appeals to a younger demographic – which is especially important if you know that your target market sits within this arena. However, don’t dismiss it even if this isn’t your target market. The overall usage figures speak for themselves.
  • To use the platform you will need to create an Instagram account. Once you do this, you then have your own profile and a news feed which shows the posts from the people you follow. Your own posts can either be public or you can set your profile to be private.
  • The ability to enable users to edit their photos using tools such as filters and add effects is one of the reasons Instagram is so compelling. With a whole host of added features (emojis, Instagram questions, emoji sliders to name just a few) your world of posts can truly come alive.
  • You can link your Instagram account to your other existing social networking profiles such as Facebook and Twitter, enabling you to share your pictures across other platforms.
  • Instagram stories are one of the most actively used features. It allows you to group together a number of images or videos in one “story” which then disappears 24 hours later (although they can be saved to see at a later stage in the “highlights” area).
  • As with other social media platforms, making use of hashtags allows you to follow themes across the platform. For example, if you run a catering company, you could choose to follow “food”, “restaurant”, “food inspiration” to engage with that community. This will help increase your reach.
  • You are also able to direct message (DM) people through Instagram. If you send a message to someone who doesn’t follow you, it’ll appear as a request in their inbox. If someone then allows your message request, your future messages will go directly to their inbox.

Instagram is the perfect tool to allow you to visually express your business personality. If you’re unsure how to make your business “you” come across then now is the time to get SocialBee on board. We’ll help you get creative and generate the right buzz for your business.