Oh lovely, another social network/website/app thingy.

You may have heard some buzz recently over something called Instagram. Or perhaps you didn’t, because you are now purposefully blocking out all mentions of anything new happening in the social world to maintain your mental health.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photograph sharing application that lets users take pics, apply filters to their images, and share the pics instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare.

It is only recently available for anything other than iPhone devices. As an inbound marketer, ought to I care about Instagram? Not everyone ought to be on every social network. But here are some reasons that, as a marketer, you ought to at least keep an eye on Instagram, if not start participating. With over 14 million users, and growing at a rate of million users per month. Instagram is quickly outgrowing Foursquare, the largest mobile social network.

  • 91% of US citizens have their mobile phone within reach 24/7.
  • 25% of people in the US have abandoned their laptops for exclusive use of their mobile device.
  • Mobile apps have been downloaded 0.9 billion times and are expected to peak in 2013.

Mobile is immense, and its growth is not stopping.

Social media is not for twenty-somethings; it is part of everyone’s every day life. In 2004, it was for college kids. In 2008, the age of the average user jumped to 33. In 2010, it was up ever further to age 38. Over the holidays, be prepared to help grandma remove Farmville from her account.

People love visual content.

They are visual creatures. Pics tell tales. Storytelling is crucial to the social success of your content. That kind of engagement is hard to come by in non-visual content. What this knowledge means is that Instagram has created something that successfully taps in to the mobile and social promotion trend, but that doesn’t mean it will inherently help advance everyone’s promotion objectives.

Creative Ideas for Using Instagram in Promotions.

  1. Product Shots Post photos on Instagram that shows the process of generating your product and the smiling faces who do it every day.

  2. User Comments Get feedback on products as they are in beta. Snap a photograph of a new interface, and see what suggestions your users must improve it.

  3. Showcasing Highlight out-of-the-box uses for your products. You can upload pics of a creative way to use your product, or even better, your customers can!

  4. Contests Don’t have a name for your latest creation? Upload a photograph of it to Instagram and have a naming contest! Focus on posting fascinating images with lovely production value. Tap user-generated content.

All of this helps increase engagement, feeds your content machine, and gets more followers!