As most of you probably know by now, Instagram is becoming pretty popular these days, and has been since it first launched a couple of years back. Instagram was originally designed as a social media application offered exclusively to iPhone users. Why the iPhone and not Android? Being the ultimate Apple nerd that I am, I am a proud iPhone user myself and cannot imagine my life without it. The quality of the iPhone’s camera is unbeatable in comparison to any other camera phone.
When was the last time you purchased a disposable camera? For that matter, does anyone actually use digital cameras anymore? Some of us may every now and then, but for the most part the iPhone has eliminated the need to purchase, use, and carry around a bulky digital camera with you everywhere you go.
Two of the greatest yet simplest features about Instagram include first, the fact that the app was designed specifically for mobile users, and secondly, Instagram takes photo-sharing capabilities to a whole new level. Instagram gives public relations practitioners and institutions of higher education the ability to tell a story through photos and captions, and just like Twitter, this social media network allows users to “follow” one another. Users can also “like” photos they are interested in and post comments on other users’ images. Not only does Instagram feature some amazing photo manipulation capabilities such as customized photo filtering, but Instagram can also be used in conjunction with other popular photo enhancing mobile applications, turning ordinary photos into breathtaking images.
The Texas Tech “Followgram” site (http://followgram.me/texastech) appears to be very well-developed and effective in engaging followers and target publics in conversations. Texas Tech also uses Instagram to promote social events that are hosted on campus and encourage publics to get involved in campus activities. Not only is Instagram effective in creating conversations with current students, but TTU parents, prospective students, recently accepted students, and incoming transfer students are also actively participating in the Texas Tech “Followgram” site. Furthermore, the general Instagram community is a very welcoming, friendly environment, thus, making it less likely that customers will post negative or inappropriate comments on photos. Instagram is undeniably another budding platform for public relations practitioners and institutions of higher learning to establish brand presence, awareness, and relevance, build relationships with valuable stakeholders, create dialogue with consumers, and increase loyalty and visibility through social media.