As we all know, Facebook and Twitter have been a vital source to promoting brands around the world.  In our ever-growing technological society, consumers want more. They get bored with what has been around and search for new innovative ways to relate to the things or people they love.

Instagram is a growing social media site that is primarily accessed through a smart phone.  It is the same concept as Twitter, but your “Twitter feed” consists only of pictures to show what you are doing.  You can “like” and comment on the users you follow, edit your images and upload to both your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Brands like Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret use Instagram to give their customers a visual of what they are doing behind the scenes at fashion shows or in the office.  It provides the consumers with a face behind the brand name and sense of feeling involved with what is being created throughout the company without the 140 character limit.  It allows brands and their consumers to have instant interaction through the commenting feature as well as posting pictures as responses.  Not only can consumers learn about their favorite brands, but they can learn about how their brands are being worn or used.

Even though Instagram has not expanded to lengths of other social media sites, it is growing rapidly among consumers and will soon grab the attention of more businesses around the world.   Companies can now have their customers help in promoting new products to their followers.  Customers are endorsing their favorite brands which can be looked at as free advertising, for the people, by the people.  Consumers like to be able to identify with a brand through images as opposed to 140 characters.  As the saying goes, “Images speak louder than words.”

– Julius Roberts, Leanna Marshall, Leslie Tyler and Bryce Koonts

24 thoughts on “InstaBRAND

  1. I agree that Instagram is growing and is another great social media tool for businesses (along with Facebook and Twitter). The companies using Instagram will definitely give their brand more resonance because people love to see behind-the-scenes action or celebrities who are involved with brands. This could also be a way to start many trends in society. If a fashion trend incorporating a popular brand shows up on Instagram, people are likely to imitate it or post their own variation of that fashion trend on Instagram. I like the pictures of the road signs because I immediately associate it with our brand at UNCW and our connection to Wrightsville Beach.

  2. I’ve seen instagram used a lot, but never thought of it as a way for brands to connect with their customers. I think it’s a really smart move of companies like Michael Kors and Victoria Secret to use this medium as sort of a “free advertising” for people. I however do not see how this blog applies to the “awards season” theme.

  3. I’m one of those people who is a social networking junkie so when I heard about Instagram I jumped right on it. After finally figuring out how to use it I wasn’t overaly impressed. The pictures my friends posted came up on my Twitter Feed and my Newsfeed so it wasn’t anything new. Then I started following Hallelu (the little boutique at Wrightsville Beach) and I became obsessed with checking in on their Instagram to see what new items they were getting in the store. I then found other designers and even some celebrities that are really fun to follow as well, but I now think of it as less of a social network sight and more of “online magazine” of sorts. It keeps me updated on the newest fashions and everything going on in celebrities lives, much like People Magazine and Us Weekly. I think its an excellent way for brands to reach the public and for celebrities to sell themselves in this “brand-like” way.

    • Caroline I completely agree with you on the fact that I was not initially impressed with it. I started following people and looking through the most popular and most recent photos and I think end up “liking” 100s of photos a day. It’s becoming an obsession but it’s so much fun to see amateur photographers posts some incredible photos!

  4. I am always amazed at how many new social media mediums come out, and yet while many of them have the same features you have to belong to every different one. I have seen many pictures uploaded on my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter from Instagram and while at first I did not think much of it but I eventually looked into getting it because I like the photo effects but as it turns out the app is only for the iPhone. I really do not need Instagram because as I mentioned I have Facebook and Twitter however, I feel like I need to get it because I do not want to be “left out” of this new social trend. Another aspect of Instagram I find fascinating is that you can upload to Facebook and Twitter, instead of having all of these different forms, wouldn’t it be easier to combine all of the favorite aspects of each medium into one social networking site?

  5. When I think of Instagram, I automatically think “hipster” (for definition, see The pictures that you can post through the site can be edited, and therefore transformed by the “artist” into something new. It reminded me of picnik, which is shutting down site in April. I had never thought of Instagram as a way for brands to market their products, and I think it could be utilized as a successful medium for several companies. I strongly agree with Caroline (who commented above), and her idea of using Instagram as a sort of “catalog” for new products. I think that if I was able to SEE what companies I am brand-loyal to are doing, I’d feel like I was more connected to them in a way. “Seeing is believing,” right?

  6. I think that instagram is a great way for companies to advertise their products, particularly fashion or clothing companies. I follow a few clothing companies on my instagram and I think that it is really interesting to see what they are doing behind the scenes. They post pictures of their staff working and wearing the line of clothing in new, fun ways and it makes you want to buy the product so that you can look as “cool” and fashion-forward as the staff. I think instagram is definitely going to start picking up soon!

  7. Both the title and the topic of this blog post grabbed my attention immediately, as I too, am an Instagram user. Although it is a recent obsession of mine, I was not fully aware of the amount of “free advertising” that has been taking place through this medium. I guess I have yet to figure out how to work the application in its entirety, but I am going to start exploring more now that this has been brought to my attention. I think it is extremely smart for Michael Kors, Victorias Secret and Starbucks to jump on this free advertising opportunity, it is definitely a good move by all the companies and can only work to their advantage. Visuals are a very significant part of advertising. Hats off to those brands and companies that are taking advantage of using Instagram to their advantage.

    • This is a really good observation. I, too, have noticed how many companies, people, businesses are making use of the Instagram “app”. This is a very clever way to advertise because almost everything, in today’s world, can be accessed via a handheld device. I was not aware that Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret were utilizing this tool, but it is a great way to keep the eye on their brand. Seeing the make of everything “behind the scenes” really aids in making people feel like they are a part of something; almost like it is familiar to them. We Instagram our friends pictures with comments, now companies are doing that to their customers. I know that I would be more inclined to buy something if I felt almost like a “friend” to the brand I was buying from; this notion seems to be executed well through the new usage of Instagram.

  8. Before reading this post I never thought of Instagram as being its own brand. Instead, I associated it as one fo the features iPhone users can access. However, it is important to remember that like any other product, Instagram is its own brand. This post went on to say that the Instagram site is not as popular as its rivals Facebook and Twitter. Although these are all brands, I am not sure that I would consider them competitors. Meaning, Instagram gives you a method in which to edit and upload photos that can be commented on, while Facebook and Twitter allow you to share all forms of media while also posting your own thoughts. I think that Instagram would benefit from repositioning their brand from a competitor of Facebook and Twitter to an ally of these brands. Meaning, they could benefit from promoting the fact that Instagram photos can be uploaded and shared on different forms of social media. Everyone enjoys and appreciates a well taken photo with eye-catching effects, but consumers may appreciate Instagram more if they were aware that they could share these pictures in different mediums as well.

  9. This post appealed to me because I often look at images on Instagram. I think the concept is very important to brands today and many companies should take advantage of all social media websites. People often use their sense of sight over any other sense of the body. Seeing pictures of what Victoria’s Secret is doing behind the scene would make me feel involved with the brand and give me a sense of importance. Instagram is also a great tool for brands to gain instant feedback from their customers.

  10. I do not use Instagram but I have many friends who love it. I knew it was a way for people to capture what they were doing or experiencing and share it with their friends, but I never realized the role it played in advertising and promoting different brands. I think the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” rings true. I am more likely to respond to an advertisement if I am able to see the product being advertised, especially when it is being promoted by someone I trust.

  11. I think that companies that use Instagram are going to benefit from it a great deal. I have never thought about using Instagram as a way to promote your company, but after reading this I feel that it is very smart. It is a great way to people to connect with the company. I know me personally, if I feel a connection or feel like I am a part of the brand, even if it is just by looking at behind the scenes of the company, I am more prone to buy the product. People advertise for companies all the time by what they wear or just talking to their friends about what they like. Instagram makes it easy for people to show pictures and talk about a product, basically advertise for the company. Those companies that take up this opportunity are at a huge advantage.

  12. Instagram is a fantastic opportunity for companies to really be able to market to an extreamly large group for little cost. It also helps people who “follow” them feel as if they are part of the inner circle. I belive that Instagram is going to be around for the long haul and that any companies not using this yet are missing out on some great revenue.

  13. A bunch of my friends use instagram, but I never really thought of it being used by businesses for promotional purposes. I think it is great that businesses can utilize free social media a form of advertising, especially with instagram. Visuals can be very ‘powerful’, and it is a great way to connect with the ‘consumer’ by putting a face to the company, etc. Unfortunately for me, I will probably never jump on the instagram train. Facebook and twitter are plenty enough of social media for me, and I am beginning to feel like there is social media overload lately. There are just SO many different ways to access a company via social media, and it is beginning to be too much for me.

  14. As an Android user, it saddens me to say I have never used the ever so popular Instagram app. I have heard the buzz and its clear what Instagram has to offer. With a little research, I found that Androids will be offering this app soon and I can’t wait to be an avid user. How appropriate it is to have a picture rather then a description of items in order to promote a brand. Not to mention all the interesting, artsy ways to edit those photos. The Instagram trend is catching on, free advertising is the way to go.

  15. The first thing that caught my eye in this blog post was the photo. It gives readers an instant idea of how a picture of a familiar landmark can turn into a nostalgic snapshot. That is exactly what the blog post describes. It describes how this social media website is more than just pictures. It allows users to not just read about what their favorite celebrities or companies are up to, it allows them to see it too. For brands and celebrities, I think showing fans or consumers pictures of current events or occurrences humanizes the company or person. That humanization may influence the consumer to be loyal to whatever or whoever is using Instagram. Being a member of Twitter and Facebook, I have definitely noticed an increase of Instagram among both social networking sites.

  16. Thank you so much for exposing me to Instagram. i have been an advocate for anti-twitter, but the fact that instagram uses pictures seems much more impacting. instead of saying what your doing at every single moment, you can take a simple picture that dictates your activity. To me that seems like a more beautiful concept, taking art and linking it with communication. I have a feeling that over time their will be pictures uploaded to Instagram are going to be unforgettable.

  17. What a creative title for this blog post! I am an iPhone user and currently have instagram as one of my apps, so this blog post definitely appealed to me right away. I think it is interesting to focus on the use of instagram as a tool for advertisement; I have never thought of it that way. When I use instagram, I almost NEVER check the feed of pictures that my friends upload. For me, the app’s purpose is mainly to take pictures and have a “cool” way to edit them and upload them to my Facebook or Twitter accounts. Now that you mentioned so many companies trying to promote new products with this app, I’m going to take a closer look and see it it’s something I think is working for those products!

  18. I have never really heard of Instagram before I read this article. I use my Twitter and Facebook everyday and seeing the immense amounts of advertising put on both of those, it was only a matter of time before a new social network site came out. My girlfriend has a Pinterest and Instagram seems a lot like that, just much more brand oriented. I think this is great for companies that are trying to get their brand name out and entwined in everyday life and I also think social networking is a great way to do so. I also like that Instagram uses pictures instead of words because it leaves most of the posts open for interpretation.

  19. Instagram is a unique take on social media. It is interesting that companies are interested in this nitch social media, seeing as instagram is only offered on the iPhone. It makes sense that someone would cash in on the idea of phones with cameras. More over there ability to take quality shots and share them with the world instantaneously. I am courious to see what these larger companies are going to do with these innovative social media sites.

  20. I am a big fan of Instagram. I am a huge believer in the phrase: “a picture is worth 1,000 words”. As our IMC I class has mentioned multiple times, every brand is considered to have a story which explains its existence and purpose. Instagraming is a great way to advertise a company or product because it allows the brand to tell its story without a limitation on amount or types of words it uses. Also a picture, in my option, is more appealing then text and could catch the attention of a wider range of audience members. In all, I believe instagraming can not only develop a name for yourself but brands around the world.

  21. Instagram is successful in the fact that it shows people behind the scenes of certain products or companies. In doing this, a consumer feels closer to the product because they are getting a behind the scenes view that not all can get. It makes the consumer feel in the loop and involved in the product or company similarly to how when you follow a celebrity on twitter you feel more connected to them because you hear more about what they are doing or more about themselves.

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