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Dog in field

The other day a client of ours (thanks Deny Staggs), mentioned that he was interested in ways to use Instagram for marketing. I hadn’t used Instagram, personally, but the conversation got me curious, so I signed up.

For those of you who don’t know, Instagram is a social photo-sharing platform. You download an app onto your smart phone that allows you to take and manipulate photos, then upload those photos to your Instagram page, along with your own musings. People can then follow your photo stream, ‘like’ specific images and make their own comments. Your streams can also be integrated into other platforms like Facebook.

Sound like no big deal? Wrong. The secret to Instagram is the app’s ability to make a hack like me (read: was the lens cap on again?) feel like the second coming of Ansel Adams with no more than an iPhone and a thumb.

Push a button and Instagram balances contrast. Enlarge and reposition the photo with your fingers to crop it. Make up for amatuer mistakes by scrolling and testing a dozen or so filters that fix lighting issues or just make your shot look, well, sweet. Now, Instagram doesn’t make you a great photographer, but it does make you feel accomplished and that feeds the social monkey in all of us.

In fact, just a few days after signing up and testing it out, I was at a Big Sky Documentary Film Festival party full of directors and photographers. Before I knew it, I was pulling out my phone and showing off my photos—not something I’d have done, previously, believe me.

I think Instagram’s ability to make photo taking and sharing easy and stylish—and to feed people’s sense of accomplishment at the same time—presents significant opportunity to engage people online. After all, humans are visual, and we love to share what we accomplish, especially if we’re proud of it.

Consider integrating Instagram into your next social marketing effort. Its addictive qualities could have customers engaging with you like never before. Want to see more of my photos? Check out

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