One of the biggest growing social platforms worldwide is Instagram, for the last two years always present in the top-3, next to Pinterest and Tumblr. This image sharing app is more than just an image sharing app, although that is pretty much what it is been made for. If you read the stories of people that found true love on Instagram, you know it is more than that!

When back in 2012 Facebook decided to take over Instagram for a little 1 billion (!!) dollars two things could have happen. They saw Instagram as a threat and wanted to eliminate that or they saw the potential and wanted to expand their service. The last seems to be the story. Every month Facebook as a mother company is more and more integrating Instagram into their platform. One of the major drivers for this is money: sell adds!

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Personal experiment
Like I said, Facebook saw the potential of Instagram and on a low budget level I thought they were right. That’s why I started a personal experiment after years of already using Instagram to share my private pictures; you know the usual stuff that is interesting for people who actually know you. I wanted to see the potential when I started to use it focusing on one specific topic. In my case one of my passions: Triathlon, an endurance sport where swimming, biking and running is combined.

Inside out
I wanted to understand how I (or any ministry or NGO) can use this platform, without someone actually knows you in real life, but still gain followers and engagement. And I wanted to grow it organic, so I didn’t use any tool to gain more followers. This was my way to understand ‘Instagram for passion’ from the inside out.

Basics
Although I did choose to tell something about my circumstances (like age, marital status, my dream to do a full Triathlon before I turn 40 in 2017 and the fact that I was a father of four) I never shared my name and I almost never shared a picture with my (full) face on it. In my next blog I will share some of my insights of this experiment. This blog I want to use to explain a bit more about the social platform itself.

The pictures you share have to support life stories (or tell them). If you don’t (want to) understand that, you might end up waste your time on this platform.

Life stories
As you probably understand by now Instagram is a tool to storify your life in images. Especially when you start to use this platform it is important to understand how you can stand out in this growing platform. Before you can stand out, you need to stand and maybe to understand the basics first. For me one of the key words in this is ‘Life’. The pictures you share have to support life stories (or tell them). If you don’t (want to) understand that, you might end up waste your time on this platform.

Easy edit
Instagram is providing you several tools to use in supporting life stories or to tell them. First of all there is the picture. This used to be a square one, but recently you are able to use different shapes and in higher definition. It is now possible to shoot in landscape mode for instance. The other option that makes this app successful is the possibility of using filters.  With these filters you can easily edit your pictures and give them in an instance a professional look, but it also give the possibility of making your update unique and have that personal touch.

Micro-Video
Although everybody knows Instagram from the pictures, it is also possible to upload micro-videos of 15 seconds and recently even one second video’s when you connect to the new Instagram feature Boomerang. It is amazing to see how people use those 15 seconds for micro series for instance or to create a time lapse.

In my next blog I want to share some of my insights from my personal experiment and will also talk about hashtags.


Image Yashica Love by 55Laney69 on flickr.com (common creative)


 

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