Instagram is one of my favourite smartphone apps and, like a lot of social media tools, it can do much more than enable us to share content and connect with others.
Instagram is a tool which can solve a problem for you. That problem is: gaining images.
One of the more onerous (and potentially expensive) aspects of social media content gathering, is finding an image to go with your text.
We’re told time and time again that the most engaging type of Facebook post is an image, right? And for every blog you write, surely you want to break up text with a relevant picture. But if you don’t have a cache of great pics on your hard drive, what do you do? Or you might have a stack of corporate images that just aren’t right for the social space you’re using.
It’s likely that you’ll be tempted to head to Google Images and use somebody else’s work. Rather than risk a copyright infringement (and also use images that have been used a gazillion times before), consider using a photo tool like Instagram to solve your image problems and provide you with your own creative content.
With a smartphone, and Instagram, you have a super camera in your pocket. And it’s much more than the camera app that your phone came with.
Check out my Instagram profile.
Instagram allows you to get creative with photographs and turn the mundane into something more eye-catching. It has filters that you can put across photographs, as well as a few frames. You can zoom in and out of photographs and thus crop that you eventually publish.
It even enables you to make part of your image ‘fuzzy’ via its tilt shift option – this can be handy when you want a part of your image to be anonymous, like an address, car licence plate, or a person in the crowd who didn’t want to be identified.
Once you’ve taken images with Instagram, you can share it a number of ways. Like any great new platform, it lets you send content to Facebook and Twitter. But what I want to focus on here, is that it enables you to email the image to yourself. So you have it available for later use in a blog or a Facebook status update or enewsletter.
Instagram is a community in itself, which some brands are thriving on. In particular the fashion industry and travel industry are building big communities on Instagram, where fans want to see inspiring images rather than necessarily reading a lot of text.
That’s a nice side effect of Instagram and it may become another social network for you. But don’t underestimate its value in your content-gathering arsenal.
And another thing – Instagram is primarily used and enjoyed on smartphones. The PC experience is not so good. And that’s why Pinstagram exists. I like it.
Here’s a good beginner’s guide to Instagram (a few months old, but it still stands)
Here’s what I wrote about Instagram and other favourite apps previously