When Facebook shocked the industry with its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the reaction immediately focused on the reasons why a 15 month-old mobile social network could garner such a valuation. Many cited the 40 million users Instagram quickly amassed, but it’s arguably the hundreds of millions of photos snapped and shared on the network that is its greatest asset.
What the popularity and now the Facebook acquisition has done is increased the importance of Instagram as a channel that brands should embrace. General Electric is perhaps my favorite example. It shares snapshots of its myriad products with over 75,000 followers in the artistic way that Instagram users love, and generates a lot of comments as a result. It’s also a great platform to use for a photo contest whereby customers can snap photos of your products with rewards going to those photos that followers “favorite” the most.
Between content that brands can create and share and images generated by a brand’s fans, Instagram content is becoming increasing valuable assets to share across more than just the mobile-based network. But how can you make this content portable? This tutorial explains how and is the third part of my content portability series.
Instagram on the Web
Most people use Instagram on iPhones and Android devices, so aren’t necessarily aware of some browser-based services to view and interact with Instagram images and users. The two most popular are Webstagram and Gramfeed, which is my favorite. The reason is that it can be used essentially to create a branded channel for Instagram content, as the GE example shows below.
Clicking on one of the thumbnail images opens a pop-up enlargement that includes buttons for sharing the image on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest (1). This allows anyone on the web (more than just Instagram followers) to share a brand’s content.
It also provides access to a “Photo Page” (2) that is very similar in nature to a Flickr photo page, through which followers can download the image in different sizes (3), as well as share on different social networks.
Embedding Instagram Images With Pinterest
Perhaps the most interesting Gramfeed sharing option is via Pinterest. Amazingly, as of now, there isn’t a way to connect a Pinterest account through Instagram, which means that users can’t post pictures they take with Instagram onto their Pinterest boards from their phones. Perhaps it won’t happen now that Facebook owns it.
But another way to make Instagram content portable is to embed it in blog posts or on web pages. What I’m talk about here is doing more than simply uploading the image onto a web page, but embedding it as a Pinterest image that can more easily shared from a web page or blog post. Unfortunately, using Pinterest is necessary because Gramfeed or Webstagram don’t provide embed options.
To do this, go to the Photo Page for an Instagram image that you want to make portable and use the “Pin It” button to post it to a board on your brand’s Pinterest page. From there, you can utilize the “Pin It” button and grab embed code for that image to use for a blog post or web page, as described in my Pinterest content portability tutorial.
Find Content to Use
The bottom line is that images are being created on Instagram at a blistering pace and they should not remain trapped on the mobile network. As with any social network, you want to “listen” to what’s out there, i.e. the extent to which people are mentioning your brand or sharing images of your products. Gramfeed also can be used to search Instagram images by your brand names or product categories or hash tags. This can help you determine if you should establish a brand presence so as to respond and engage, but it also can open your eyes to user-generated content about your brand that you can share via your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest channels, as well as to embed in blog posts.
I’ll explore Instagram more in future blog posts. In the meantime, how have you been able to use Instagram content for your brand?