Instagram has introduced its most Facebook-like feature yet, following last year's acquisition. Since it launched web profiles, which pretty much replicated the layout of Facebook timeline, we haven't seen Instagram change much. Following the hype around Flickr's app relaunch
, which appeased users who were frustrated that Instagram pics stopped appearing in tweets, the app had yet to follow up with any improvements. But now, it's taken the social concept of the app even further by introducing the ability for users to tag themselves and other users in photos.
It functions much like Facebook tagging, except that only the owner of a photo can tag. To tag a photo, just click on more by tapping the three dots on an image you've uploaded, then click on 'add people'.
Right now, there are fewer restrictions for running competitions in Instagram than on Facebook, and the new photo tagging functionality is great news for brands. This is a great opportunity to run competitions around the feature with your users. As the update from Instagram also includes a section in user profiles which contains 'photos of you' , by tagging your followers in a (non-spammy) competition, you can gain awareness in front of other users who might not be connected to you.
A competition using tagging should be considered carefully as randomly tagging your followers won't do much for you. However, if you're a fashion brand, for example, you could tag pictures of items of clothing that you know a particular follower would like. A tag could mean they get a discount on that item, or even get it for free.
The 'photos of you' option is useful for brands who maintain an active Instagram account, gathering hundreds of photos. Images of you are shown in the top right hand side of your profile.
Separate from the social sharing aspect, there may be particular photos you want to draw your users to like pictures of your latest collections, or current dishes on your menu. If you tag and untag yourself strategically in photos, you can effectively keep a smaller, current catalogue of the most relevant photos you want people to see.
The link to the 'photos of you' section can also be promoted to your users through other marketing channels, ensuring they've access to all your content if they need it, but are seeing the content you've prioritised first.
This new feature is great for organisations who run events or can gather photos of large groups of their consumers. We've seen great mass photo tagging campaigns run by the likes of Orange and Manchester City, and the new Instagram feature allows brands to do this in a platform built natively for mobile.
This gives the Instagram platform a huge plus over Facebook and allows brands to encourage fans to tag themselves in a simple one-tap process. Brands not on Instagram should already think about how photo tagging can be run at events, encouraging word of mouth among followers.
Photo tagging is also a nice way to encourage social sharing and communication among employees. Many brands will now run named Twitter accounts, or will sign off tweets with the name of the actual person who wrote the message.
As the Instagram platform isn't complicated by different categories for personal and business profiles, you can more easily include employees in your social communications. So tagging your social reps in photos will help give visibility to employees for customers, or tagging your CEO can help encourage more crossover between the company's platforms and those individuals influential in the business.
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