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Instagram Claims 80M Users: Is It Useful To Brands?

Picture-based social network Instagram has announced that "the Instagram community has grown to over 80 million registered users who have shared nearly 4 billion photos!"

Since its launch in October 2010, the network has expanded from the iOS platform to Android in April of this year, the same month it was acquired by Facebook, for $1 billion. As of March 11 it had 27 million users, and as of May 1, 50 million, and today, 80 million.

Swell—but those users are mostly regular folks, sharing pictures of their vacations, babies, cats and favorite outfits. Does it present any branding possibilities?

Yes, believes Marketo, which outlined why in a compelling infographic.

First, Instagram appeals to emotions in a way that text cannot. And in the Instagram model, text is an afterthought.

Second, it creates intimacy. "Instagram allows consumers to relate to your brand message via photos—without you invading their email inbox."

Third, it provides "a perfect opportunity for your business to engage…in a fun way through contests, or even through the use of hashtags." Brands can, for example, create a contest for their audiences on Instagraph, asking them to submit photos or provide captions.

Fourth, it reaches a large audience—a very large audience.

Instagram (like Pinterest) is best used for soft marketing and brand lift. For example, Banana Republic used an Instagram campaign ("The Ultimate New Year's Eve") with a contest using Instagram as an entry method: Entrants posted photos of themselves wearing, of course, Banana Republic goods.
Instagram got another boost last week when social media management dashboard HootSuite added Instagram (and three more social apps) to its App Directory on Thursday, reports Mashable. The Instagram app on HootSuite allows people to view photos, comments, likes and searches, as well as add comments, like photos and share photos to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and more. Because Instagram has no browser service, this opens up Instagram to desktops.

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