The Internet Marketing Benefits of an Instagram Website

instagram websiteLast week on the Masterlink blog, I talked about how Instagram is full of Internet marketing potential, even if it’s limited somewhat by its smartphone-only infrastructure.

Just like that, Instagram launched a website, giving each user their own nifty profile page (that looks a lot like their Facebook page). It’s pretty sharp looking, and it immediately makes the app significantly more useful for companies from an interactive marketing perspective.

For all its streamlined slickness, the app-only nature of Instagram made it frustrating to use in any way beyond its most basic functionality. It was unparalleled for quickly snapping, enhancing and sharing photos with your smartphone. And it was handy for mindlessly wasting time or checking in for a visual glimpse into the lives of my friends, family and handful of public figures I follow. But unless Instagramers elected to share their photos on, say, Twitter or Facebook, It was difficult to see them outside of the app. It was also difficult to save photos (on a phone, at least) or search for peruse older photos quickly.

Naturally, this also undermined its Internet marketing usefulness. Companies could only really connect with users if users went out of their way to follow them…  You couldn’t, say, recommend a brand easily to a friend or family member or message them privately.

Not all such features are or will be incorporated into the Instagram website — after all, it’s not trying to become a full-fledged social network with all the bells and whistles as Facebook. Facebook would not have purchased Instagram in the first place to then build it into a competitor. But new searching and sharing (new social, in other words) elements will be easier to add on the website compared to the app. And, more important, it’ll be easier to piggyback on Facebook’s existing social infrastructure.

Already, the site has several new features. According to the Instagram blog:

Your web profile features a selection of your recently shared photographs just above your profile photo and bio, giving others a snapshot of the photos you share on Instagram. In addition, you can follow users, comment & like photos and edit your profile easily and directly from the web. It’s a beautiful new way to share your Instagram photos!

Instagram web profile page for Free People

Instagram web profile page for Free People

Moreover, the larger photos alone would be highly valuable from an Internet marketing perspective. As we mentioned last week:

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. This is especially when trying to describe chaotic situations such as a hurricane, but it’s equally true when it comes to marketing. You could, say, write a few fancy lines about how delicious your restaurant’s new enchiladas are — or you could post a tantalizing photo that does the job a hundred times more effectively. Instagram makes it easy to take good photos and, perhaps more important, it makes it easy for your customers to do the same — and then share them with everyone they know.

There is, of course, some concern that the app will lose a little bit of its “cool” factor, but that’s inevitable anytime a hot new start-up goes mainstream. In truth, this kind of move has seemed inevitable ever since Instagram was purchased by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion last spring.  And for most companies, niche products have very little Internet marketing value. Plus, as we mentioned last week, Instagram is growing with extraordinary speed, and the website will make it accessible to non-smartphone users as well.

So consider getting on board. Our Dallas social media marketing experts can show you how.

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