Instagramania has Taken Over!

Instagramania has taken over! After being purchased by the largest social media network around, Facebook, it has inspired businesses and consumers in an innovative and new way. Instagram is simple; an individual or company such as Whole Foods, Bloomingdales or Nike (to name a few) have profiles and followers, much like Twitter. Instead of reporting their actions or advertising for their brand in writing, as is the case with Twitter, they use photos to tell their story. The company simply uploads a picture, adds a comment or hashtag to set the context of the post and voila! The photo is live and streaming for followers to view, like and comment on.
What do PR agencies like us have to do with this social media landscape that is 50 million users strong? In a word: everything. Instagram creates a new way for users to interact and communicate with their brands, and facilitates a new kind of conversation between the media and consumer that is unique and inclusive. Consumers are not only encouraged to take photos or create hashtags about their brand of choice, Instagram goes one step further. If a brand likes the photos you upload featuring their product or your comments mentioning their brand, they will ‘like’ your page or photo and possibly reach out to ask permission to use the photos on their Instagram profile. It is a direct interaction between brand and consumer that has never been done and its implications are far reaching.
Companies now have access to their clients long after they leave the store and the transaction has been completed. They can see how the consumer uses their brand, where they use the brand and how they talk and communicate about that brand with their friends, families and followers. In other words, Instagram is a marketing and PR gold mine. It strengthens the relationship and the connection between the brand and the consumer in such a way that should translate into both increased publicity and increased sales.

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