The Visual Revolution on Social Networks

The social web is becoming more and more visual. Twitter, which began with mundane tweets about lunch, is now the go-to social network for millions wanting relevant information in real-time. Social mediums like Pinterest and Instagram are struggling for the same respect. While it took several years for Twitter to achieve status, visual networks are growing at mach speed in record time.

Pinterest is the most talked about network. People post and share photos creating snapshots of their lives and businesses have been fairly quick to get on board. But Instagram is becoming the staple for millions posting to their social networks from their smart phones. So much so that Facebook  bought it for a billion dollars last spring.  Instagram is like a photo cross between Facebook and Twitter. Users follow and have followers, create a photo stream, and can like, comment and share photos to their other social networks.

Where does Instagram fit in the world of social networking?

  • Instagram has hit 100 million registered users in just two years. It took Twitter five years to this milestone.
  • 4 billion photos have been uploaded to date.
  • 5 million photos are uploaded daily.
  • Instagram found it’s place at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

How powerful are photo networks for business?



This infographic by MDG Advertising has some pretty impressive figures: 




Using images in a blog post can get 94% more total views.

Views of a press release can increase by including a photo or a video.

60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.

How are businesses using Instagram?


It’s not surprising that MTV is the leader on Instagram with 982,000 followers. They’re not using any special approach just banking on the fact that music fans will flock to a site where they can get backstage photos that give them behind-the-scene access. MTV images often get more than 10,000 likes and loads of comments.

 Sharpie (@sharpie): 

Sharpie, the marker pen maker, has an innovative approaches to Instagram.  It launched its Instagram account in May. Interestingly, Sharpie didn’t overtly promote itself but said it wanted to “honor of National Photography Month and to “celebrate that Instagram is now available on iPhone AND Android” and encouraged people to download Instagram.  

Sharpie invited Instagram users to follow it’s comic like feed and to upload their own Sharpie masterpieces using the hashtag #sharpie.

Sharpie has only posted 203 pictures but has gained 36,000 followers and #sharpie has hit 160,000 shares.

General Electric (@generalelectric): 

GE was a business early adopter. They used Instagram last year to appoint a GE Instagrapher for  a day. It also used it successfully to show customers research labs, manufacturing plants and the company photo archives.

Rick Van Sickle (@rickwine):

Niagara, Ontario freelance wine writer Rick Van Sickle is a good example of how a small business/blogger uses Instagram to show case his wine recommendations and promote his blog. His followers may number only be in the hundreds but he’s appealing to a smaller, localized audience and gets likes and comments on all the photos he posts.  

Here are three good online companions for Instagram:

  • INK361: Allows you to display your own photos online and see those of people you are following. You can also create a background for Twitter, a Facebook cover photo and an iPad background.
  • Statigram is similar to INK361 but also provides statistics.
  • Blurb is a fun way to get a photo book or ebook of your instagram photos.  

What cool things have you done with your Instagram account?