Instagram finally rolled out User Profiles for The Web last month and it was long overdue. The mega-popular photo sharing app has been a social media darling this year, but engaging with brands on the web has been less than ideal. Third party sites have been great resources to track chatter and analytics, but brands have not been able to really control their voice online, until now:
By now we all have an Instagram Profile Page and you just need to go to www.instagram.com/Username to see it. When you get there you will notice that it looks a lot like Facebook, which only makes sense as they own Instagram! You don’t have much flexibility in how it looks, but you can add a custom profile photo, tagline and website URL. Users can follow your profile and Like your photos right from this profile page. They also now have a much cleaner and organized look into your Instagram photo library
For now you cannot upload images directly from the internet, which would probably flood the system with a lot less “genuine” images and risk turning off a lot of native users. Consumers don’t have much functionality to capitalize on (yet) so it is more about seeing and observing your brand. That will likely change soon as we would expect a number of enhancements to be in development for a 2.0 rollout soon enough. One ideal addition would be the ability to drive users back to your website by assigning links to images, especially if e-commerce is a top priority. Hopefully they will include useful analytics and insights for brands to capitalize on too!
This change affords businesses and brands a broader reach beyond the iPhone and Android users who have been enjoying the wonderful world of Instagram exclusively. It is an addicting platform (coming from an avid user) and it represents a tremendous vehicle for continuing to tell your story to consumers. Expect Instagram to continue pushing the envelope to ensure that it is a “must have” and not a “nice to have” component of everyone’s online strategy.