Instagram: The Most Underrated Tool In Social Media

Following Weight Watchers on Instagram has helped a co-worker stick to her diet. She loves the sense of community and low-point meal ideas.

Instagram is also how another person I know learned the gruesome news about beheaded journalist James Foley.  What started in October, 2010, as a way to share beautiful photography has obviously evolved into so much more. But too many businesses ignore Instagram — and that’s just dumb.

The value of Instagram

Instagram inspires, encourages, promotes, educates and, yes, entertains with simple elegance.

It’s also a powerful brand marketing tool, but for all its popularity (especially with younger adults, urban dwellers and non-whites, according to the latest from Pew Research) a lot of businesses aren’t quite sure what to think of Instagram. I rarely come across someone outside the food and fashion industries who has grabbed the wheel of Instagram and executed a carefully thought plan for using it to reach a new audience. Only Facebook trumps Instagram when it comes to user loyalty, with 57% of the folks using Instagram telling Pew they are on it everyday. In my daughter’s case, it is the first thing she checks on her phone after waking up.

So what’s the deal? Why aren’t more brands on board?

The simplicity of Instagram may actually be holding it back

The platform is built around the expression of love. Every post is a test of popularity. ‘Likes’ rule. It’s not about driving traffic to a website. It’s all about reacting to the moment.

Instagram was ahead of its time

It was conceived as mobile-first and has remained true to its roots.The desktop version of Instagram is practically pointless, with very limited functionality. What you see is what you get. Interesting images and videos.

Visuals matter more on Instagram

If you’re in a business that depends on words to express the value of what you do, Instagram may seem like too high a mountain to climb. Am I going to buy insurance from a company I see on Instagram?  Hmmm … maybe.

My early work in social media strategy focused on best practices in television news. Here’s an example from one of the stations in Seattle (KING-TV) that without question represents the best of Instagram — compelling imagery, audience engagement and positive attitude.

KING 5 Instagram image


Are there Instagram accounts you follow that deserve a shout0ut for excellence? Scroll down and leave a reply.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.