Back in January, we outlined predictions for the 2011 technology year that included an increase in mobile photo sharing. Half-way through the year, and we are seeing that prediction come true.
Instagram is now up to five million users and is adding about a million users a month. According to a New York Times article this weekend, “Those who study the way people socialize online say cellphone photos are becoming an integral part of sharing and communicating.”
“Professor Sundar said people once tended to take photos on special occasions, like birthdays and vacations, then post a big batch on services like Picasa and Flickr and share a link with friends. But with the introduction of smartphones with improved cameras, coupled with the rise of services like Facebook and Twitter, people are more accustomed to constantly documenting moments and sharing throughout the day.”
And brands are starting to experiment and use the tools available to engage their customers with photography.
“Brands like Oscar de la Renta, Brisk Iced Tea, Kate Spade, Starbucks and Red Bull are also on the service. Cecilia Liu, digital marketing manager at Kate Spade, said the company added Instagram to its social media lineup this year. She said it was appealing because the company could mix in a little more personality and behind-the-scenes glimpses than it would on Facebook and Twitter.”
Starbucks was one of the first brands to sign on to Instagram. Now, when you search the Starbucks tag on Instagram, over 10,000 photo hits come up.
“We’ve been using Instagram for a couple of months and think it’s a fun, different way to share photos of what’s going on behind the scenes,” says Product Manager Brad Nelson. “We’ve also found a lot of people already sharing Starbucks photos, so it’s been a joy to look through those.”
As people are using mobile photography and sharing to these sites to document their lives, what are they taking the most photos of? Food, of course.
And, to find all of this great photography online, last week, Twitter introduced a new version of its search that incorporates photos and videos.
Brands that are figuring out how to incorporate photography sharing into their engagement strategies are connecting with their consumers on a more intimate level.