I have a friend who won’t stop taking photos of food whenever she eats out. It seems that no matter what restaurant (except for McDonald’s or KFC and I don’t think they qualify as restaurants) the experience seems to turn into a full photo shoot.
Every angle is explored and the correct lighting is required.
At this stage we there isn’t mood music to accompany the visuals but I am half expecting a string quartet to become involved at some stage.
The next step is for the agent to show up and a movie director.
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Why is this Happening?
The convergence of technology has produced a device (smartphone) that can take the photo in high definition and publish it to Facebook and Twitter before the food is even cold. Five minutes later you can check to see if any of your friends have left a comment, shared or “liked” it!
This visual self expression and sharing culture combines the power of three.
- People’s obsession with their iPhone (read smartphone)
- Engagement power of Facebook
- The love of photos that seems to have been reinforced with the easy availability of the camera in your pocket
The only challenge for marketers is how to harness that through a touch of creativity.
How to Take Advantage of this Obsession
Marketers have realised for a long time the power of images to motivate and engage people. There are many business categories that can leverage social, mobile and photos to make their content contagious.
There is one very unassuming mobile app that emulates the simplicity of Twitter but is starting to make its presence felt that is playing with the power of “3″.
That “app” is Instagram.
Instagram is a free photo sharing application that you can download to your smartphone, that allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it on the service or a variety of other social networking services, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr , and Posterous
3 Instagram Success Stories
Instagram’s success shows the power of simplicity coupled with the increasingly mobile and visual social networks.
Food can be made to look so inviting with a great photo (just ask my friend)
Food – Personal Brand
Lets start with a famous “chef” and personal brand called Jamie Oliver who has over 170,000 followers on Instagram and doesn’t miss the ongoing opportunities to market his personal brand, cooking shows and publications with visual online sharing.
Check out Jamie’s Instagram
Beverages – Coffee
StarBucks as one of the largest brands based on follower count on Instagram with over 200,000 followers realises the engagement opportunities.
Alexandra Wheeler, VP of global marketing for the coffee giant says this about Instagram “Photography plays such an important role in how we visually share Starbucks offerings and experiences,..this will continue to be a great network to connect with our customers as it grows.”
Fashion brands are a perfect fit for Instagram. Burberry gives followers behind-the-scene glimpses at fashion shows and photo shoots.
There is a complete application and business ecosystem building around Instagram and John Jantsch at the Duct Tape marketing blog mentions the following 6 tools that enhance Instagram.
- iDarkroom – This isn’t really an Instagram related tool, but it’s a great tool to use to enhance your images before you upload them to Instagram
- Webstagram – This tool helps you search, sort, tag, follow and comment on photos shared by other users. One of the ways to make Instagram pay off is to build a following and part of that is done by finding and following relevant users and adding your comments to their images.
- Postagram – Postagram allows you to turn any Instagram image into a postcard with the push of a button. Then Postgram sends your postcard for less than dollar. Think about how you could send product images to customers or showcase a project you’re working.
- Printstagram – This tool takes your Instagram images and allows you to turn them into posters, mini prints, and mini books.
- StickyGram – This app takes your custom Instrgram shots and turns them into magnets. It’s like having your own little promotional products creator right in your phone, but potentially much cooler.
- Canvas Pop – If you want to take up a notch Canvas Pop will take your Instagram images and print them on canvas frames.
How could you use Instagram to spread your brands message and content?