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Instagram’s creative PR idea

Instagram is a photo sharing app that has taken the social media world by storm having earned some 2 million registered users and growing.  Instgram is different in two key respects. 

First, it is available only on an iPhone.  Unlike a site like Flickr, Instagram does not offer a platform for you to share photos, rather it provides a utility to easily augment them with a different look and then share it on your existing platforms – say Twitter, email or Facebook.  This utility is the second key difference and what I like about it is the ability to accent their photos with a hint of nostalgia.
For example, it turned this photo:

Into this photo:

Instagram has made many headlines of late – too many perhaps for the company to answer five questions this humble blogger sent by email – but despite its success, the company seems to be committed to building a community for the long haul.

Instagram developed a MeetUp group called “Instameet” and encourages users to use the hashtage #instatmeet.   When I sent my email inquiry on February 26th, this group had 176 “instagrammers” in 88 cities.   Tonight, as I write this post, they have 375 instagrammers in 154 cities.

While it’s a relatively small number compared to the company’s 8,000+ Facebook fans, or 93,000 Twitter followers, The MeetUp group is an exceptionally creative PR idea because 1) it provides its large base of users a self-managed forum to meet with like-minded users, 2) in the tightknit and passionate world of photography – from hobbies tot expert — this group is likely to grow deep roots, 3) it creates advocates by engaging users on a grand, yet low cost, scale while allowing them to be part of something larger than the company itself.

Perhaps most importantly is the fourth reason:  such events encourage users to share ideas and facilitates the creative use of its tool to measureable ends.  As Mashable wrote, “NPR is challenging followers to capture #love or #hate in an original photo, Andy Carvin, a senior strategist on NPR’s social media team, tells us.

Check out NPR’s use of Instagram here.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like this post about another MeetUp group: DC Flacks: Growing like Fight Club for PR pros

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