Instagram – Why It Works


December 13, 2012

“Gram that.”

It’s something I hear, say, and do on the regular. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. I’ll break it down for you.

I’m talking about Instagram. Instagram, my social fix of choice, is an app that allows you to share photos in a fast, fun, and filtered way. And by filtered, I mean that a subpar photo can look like a National Geographic cover shot after you slap one of IG’s nostalgic, saturated, preset photo filters on your mountainscape.

In light of the recent Instagram iOS update and redesigns, allow me to say that even the most amateur grammer can make artsy, edgy eye candy that can return some noteworthy double tapping. (Liking a photo on IG requires a quick double tap and the “Like” button becomes colored.) These photos are mainly shared through the mobile app itself, but users have the ability to share via Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and up until this weekend, Twitter was also an option.

Social media giant, Facebook, recently purchased the mobile app in April for a cool $1 billion. And so begins another Bay Area tech success story filled with venture capitalists, Silicon Valley start-ups, and two really smart Stanford grads—it’s easy to understand why Instagram is a social force to be reckoned with.

What started out as an iPhone-only app on October 6, 2010, has exploded into the premier photo-sharing platform. Instagram acquired 25,000 users in the first 24 hours, 300,000 by Week 3, and just recently celebrated its second birthday with a party of more than 100 million who gave the gift of 5 billion plus photos.

These 100 million users and counting are not only made of iPhone operators anymore. Between becoming subjects of King Zuckerberg and fellow grammers alongside (shudder) Android users, April 2012 was kind of a rough month for all of us original IGers out there. We shed a tear or two as the invite was extended to Android owners (after some real heated backlash from Apple snobs like myself), and died a little bit more inside as our exclusive club was exposed to the world wide web when Instagram launched an actual website.

But, I’ll put my elitist pride aside for a bit and welcome all grammers, no matter the device—droid or desktop. I’ll also say, if you’re not on Instagram, you should be.

As a young, social media savvy, always on the go, consumer of information, I can say that Instagram is how I connect. I see what my friends are doing, follow my favorite fashion brands, drool over travel company photos, and get info on the latest deals and events, but most importantly I stay inspired.

This is why Instagram works. As a business, if you keep your audience inspired, you keep your business. Since Instagram targets a young, highly image driven demographic, it’s not for every company, but it is for the company that wants to showcase their latest products, display their company culture, and keep their followers entertained and informed. So snap a quick pic, gram that eye candy, and reach your young, mobile audience in the least invasive, most cost effective, genuine way.