Over the last few months, Instagram, the free photo-sharing app, has become something of a phenomenon. Launched in October 2010, the Instagram community has grown quickly and now numbers seven million users. Of those, 63% are active uploaders who share 1.3 million pictures every day.
For those who don’t know, Instagram is a free photo-sharing application designed for Apple’s devices which allows users to share their life through a series of pictures.
How it works
Once downloaded, users take a photo with their device, select from a range of lomo-esque photo filters to transform its look and feel and then share it on their favourite social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr and Posterous). Other users can “Like” and comment on pictures and find more users to follow by browsing keywords and what’s popular.
Have brands embraced the movement?
Here are some interesting examples of how brands have used Instagram so far:
The British low-cost airline bmibaby has recently launched both its official Instagram feed and a competition to promote its 39 destinations.
It says it wanted to “help customers find new things to do by using Instagram”.The airline kicked off their competition with Italy and offered a pair of flights to the land of Romeo and Juliet.
Each month, it “will be focusing on a different bmibaby destination and asking both locals and customers to submit photo entries which they feel portray the beauty, traditions, culture, people, cuisine and landscapes of the given country or city”.
What is interesting is that bmibaby has decided not to start from scratch but has partnered with local Instagram groups across Europe, starting with IgersItalia, a community of Italian “Instagramers”.
On bmibaby’s blog, the airline also recently announced that for the Italian competition, they have reached over 1,600 entries so far. As a thank you to all entrants, they plan to produce a crowd-sourced guide to Italy using everybody’s pictures.
Moby launched a microsite that integrated Instagram photos to premiere his new album, Destroyed.
Fans could add their photo to the site; all they needed to do was to take a photo of their city at 2am, include the hashtag #destroyed in the caption and set a location in the “Where?” field. They then could go to destroyed.moby.com to see their photo alongside Moby's and other Instagrammers' on the world map, and listen to the album in its entirety.
Finally, ASOS has recently linked Instagram to its Facebook page. In ASOS’s own words: “it features behind-the-scenes pics at magazine and beauty shoots as well as snapshots of inspiring stuff and the hottest, newest products coming to ASOS".