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The #1 reason brands should start using Instagram (and it’s not the reason you might think)

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It’s not about community.

It’s not about followers.

Heck, it’s not even about sharing the images to Facebook (which is a lot prettier now that Facebook owns Instagram).

Puma IG

Nope, the key reason for brands to start (note: only 44–9 percent) of Fortune 500 companies have an Instagram account according to a recent UMass/Dartmouth study) with Instagram has nothing to do with the reasons you might initially think.

The reason for brands to start using this photo-sharing app is simple: Photo generation.

But Arik, many brands have hundreds of photos in their online archives, you say? True, but many (if not most) of those shots are product “hero” shots or shots from massive photo shoots. Others are from events. And, the bottom line is this: Most were NOT shot with the intention of being used on the social web.

So, in essence,many of these photos almost become useless when it comes to sharing on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.

Enter Instagram.

Instagram can be the key to unlocking your photo potential as a brand. Just look at the benefits:

Ability to grab more creative shots

B&J IG

Go back to the product shots. They’re great–in the right situation. Sometimes they’re even appropriate for Facebook. But, sometimes you just need a more creative approach to the product service. Instagram gives you that creativity–with a simple click of the phone.

Ability to circumvent the brand approval process.

Gap IG

Many big brands have time-consuming brand approval processes that almost every piece of artwork needs to go through. With Instagram, you can circumvent that process a bit. Now, you’ll be wise to get buy-in from the creative team up front–talk about the types of shots you’ll take and how you’ll stay within brand guidelines. But, once you have that conversation and the creatives are at ease, you’re able to take shots and get them up on the web in minutes–instead of days/weeks.

Ability to grab shots in real-time.

Burberry IG

Gone are the days when you have weeks to get your pics on the web. Today’s web demands real-time photo-taking and sharing. You don’t have the luxury of time–at least not if you want results. Instagram gives you the power of immediacy.

Ability to art direct your own shots.

Sbux IG

Remember those art-directed shots we’ve seen from the likes of Starbucks? You can do that, too. But, only by getting brand’s buy-in (see above) and using tools like Instagram, which allow you to shoot just about anything on-the-fly with the ability to add filters that would be much more complicated with a more sophisticated camera.

Ability to add filters that would be much more difficult with more sophisticated cameras.

The other great thing about getting shots with IG? It makes a community manager into a somewhat competent photog (thanks to filters). Now, I’m not minimizing the value of a professional photog. And, I’m not saying your community managers will become experts in photography by using IG. But, I am saying those IG filters give you a happy medium. You’ll get shots that appear much more polished than they really are. Shots that look like they may have been taken by a much more expensive camera. And, all this without adding all the add-on apps and filters you can buy with a few dollars.

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The #1 reason brands should start using Instagram (and it’s not the reason you might think)

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