By Karen Hendricks
This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses.This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2014.
One of the fastest-growing forms of social media, Instagram features smartphone-based photography combined with a variety of fun apps that add vintage appeal. About 5 million mobile photographers are signing up weekly, and Instagrammers recently surpassed the 50 million mark. It’s a remarkable success story, as Instagram went from a zero-revenue startup to a $1 billion company that Facebook purchased in April 2012.
Instagram’s visual appeal ties in perfectly with one of the biggest topics in social media circles: the growing prevalence of images and the decreasing amount of text, on both the Internet and social media channels.
Whether you join Instagram purely for fun—sharing photos with family/friends—or whether you approach it from a business perspective, Instagram offers a unique blend of smartphone technology combined with a nostalgic twist. The app lets you select from a variety of 20 filters, many of which give your photos a retro feel. For example, there’s the “1977” filter with a Polaroid-type appearance.
Basically, your “feed” consists of photos from people you follow, similar to other social media streams. The big difference is that Instagram is 100 percent eye candy—photographs with very little text except for short captions, which are optional. Like Twitter, hashtags help identify photos within a theme.
Small businesses, associations and nonprofits are hopping on the Instagram train every day and adding it into their marketing campaigns. What a beautiful way to showcase a brand—snapping exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos or highlighting products or events in order to reach new audiences. Some of the most visual and creative Instagram images are posted by USA Today, Starbucks, National Geographic and the Philadelphia Zoo.
Three Adams County businesses currently using Instagram to their advantage by showing local scenery and events include:
- The Gettysburg National Military Park (@gettysburgvisitorcenter)
- Gettysburg College (@gettysburgcollege)
- Destination Gettysburg (@destinationgettysburg)
If you enjoy Gettysburg area scenery and events, these are three accounts to watch!
And to read more about the upward trend of visuals, see our previous article, The Visual Vocabulary of Social Media.