What Facebook’s Instagram acquisition means for small biz
Instagram made headlines last week after Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of the mobile photo-sharing application. The move came seemingly out of nowhere – while Instagram has long been a popular smartphone app, it only recently became available to Android users and had a mere 40 million users compared to Facebook’s 850-million-plus member base.
However, as Mashable suggests, Instagram was beating Facebook at its own game. The world’s leading social media site has a strong user base but only approximately one-third of its users had access to the network from their smartphones. On the flip side, Instagram started as a phone application and its users had no qualms sharing pictures and updating their locations on the go – it was essentially what Facebook wanted to be with the mobile audience.
“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and founder, explained in a statement from the company. “Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”
Still, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram is unique in that it’s one of the few times it has purchased the competition to eliminate it, rather than simply cribbing features. When Twitter started growing popular, Facebook added status updates and when Foursquare took off, the social site responded by integrating mobile check-ins. Facebook purchased Instagram flat-out for $500 million more than it was valued at, perhaps suggesting the social network wasn’t sure whether it was able to compete with the photo-sharing app.
“There’s no denying that Facebook’s purchase of Instagram is part of a bigger picture,” Mashable adds. “The company has eliminated its competition while gaining a team that has proven it can create a popular social app out of nothing. It will be interesting to see over the next weeks, months and years how that purchase plays out and what Facebook decides to do with app, as well as the mobile web.”
Instagram for small businesses
While the Instagram success story is something every small business should strive for, that’s another topic entirely. What entrepreneurs should be noting is that Instagram is growing increasingly integral to an effective social media strategy and now that it has the power of Facebook behind it, the photo-sharing app is even more important.
A growing number of big-name brands, ranging from General Electric to fashion giant Bergdorfs, are leveraging Instagram to publish interesting and engaging photographs. Small businesses will want to look at these companies as models of what can be accomplished and how to achieve success through the platform.
The No. 1 rule is to publish interesting images, Social Fresh suggests. That doesn’t mean sharing dozens of product glamour shots, though, and that’s a key distinction. Rather, entrepreneurs should post lifestyle photos that are visually appealing – don’t just show the products, display them being used in a fun setting. Entrepreneurs need to have an eye for aesthetics.
Consistency is also important. With traditional Facebook pages, publishing content regularly is important and that is no different with Instagram. Don’t publish 13 photographs in an hour and then let your profile sit for a month. Develop a schedule and stick to it – this will help gain new connections and ensure you stay on track.
Does your company use Instagram yet? Has the Facebook acquisition piqued your interest?This entry was posted in Intermediate, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.