Instagram has been one of the fastest growing social media platforms over the last couple years. It got a lot of press after being acquired by Facebook for almost a billion dollars last fall (along with a good amount of "why would I want to look at a picture of your breakfast" type ridicule), but it's a pretty fun and engaging way to share photos. Last week, Instagram added a short video feature (to compete with Twitter's popular Vine application) and it has been getting generally good reviews. In our view, it's one of the social media (damn, another one?) platforms that appears to be here to say, so here's our take:
What is Instagram?
Instagram is an iPhone and Android app that allows you to take pictures with your phone, run them through one of a number of vintage-looking filters, add other effects, and share them. Much like Twitter, you can "follow" people and acquire followers, as well as search for content outside your friends circle by searching for search terms or hashtags. You can also share your pictures on other platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr with just a tap on your screen.
How do you use it for business?
Instagram isn't going to work miracles for your business. Will it drive traffic to your website? Probably not much. Will it create leads? Almost definitely not.
But, it is a good way to spread the word about what you do every day while helping to increase brand awareness. It's also an incredibly easy and convenient source of content for your other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
Last week we wrote about the #homeperformance hashtag and how we as an industry should embrace it. Searching on Instagram, there are a few photos with that tag, but there are a lot more photos tagged #energyefficiency, #energy, #insulation and even #energyaudits. You can use as many of these hashtags on a photo as you want, and the more you do, the more likely your photo is to show up in peoples' feeds.
But there are also some pretty funny hashtags that people have used to talk about energy efficiency related stuff. My personal favorite is #yomypowerbillgotmadheight.
Check out the unofficial home performance star of Instagram, Bernice Radle of Buffalo Energy. Her Instagram is personal, but features plenty of #energyefficiency images.
DeWitt Kimball performing an energy audit of a church in Yarmouth, Maine, as filtered through Instagram:
Oh, and also, this: