In just a couple of weeks, I will have spent a year using the wildly popular, Apple iPhone-based Instagram app (which also happens to be free…how about them apples?). It’s kind of hard to imagine life before Instagram—it has become such huge part of my everyday existence that I’m loathe to think of the day that I can’t scroll through others’ photos when I’m bored, or use it to transform my own shots into mini-masterpieces. I’m just so crazy about Instagram.
In the last year, Instagram has only gotten better. Several complementary applications and sites have sprouted that you might want to check out, especially if you’re as into Instagram as I am. Like Statigram. So keep reading.
A Pinteresting sidebar…
I know right now everyone is going nutso for Pinterest (and I’m trying it out too) but at the moment, I find Pinterest to be slow, complicated, time-consuming, and the iPhone and iPad apps—for lack of a better word—really suck. Oh, and there is this other thing where you’re supposedly not supposed to “pin” your own stuff? Did I read that somewhere? Huh? Like why would I not invest some of my time in promoting myself? Especially since I’m the only one with true rights to my photos?
Yeah, on that subject, read this and note I’m still not 100% sold on Pinterest and may bail on it yet again: Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards. Copyrights are no joke, and this article may be much ado about nothing. Until there’s a lawyer breathing down your neck. But anyway. Back to…
UPDATE: Pinterest revised its Terms of Service effective April 6, 2012. In an email sent to users on March 23, 2012, Pinterest founders noted these changes: “Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms. We updated our Acceptable Use Policy and we will not allow pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse. We released simpler tools for anyone to report alleged copyright or trademark infringements.” Hooray for better terms that protect users!
Instagram and Me
When early adopter and blogger doyenne Jennine Jacob, founder of Independent Fashion Bloggers and The Coveted, jumped on Instagram and started tweeting her images, it got my attention. I downloaded the app, signed on as gritandglamour, and the rest is history. Thanks to super cool site Statigram (more about that in a minute), I know she was the first person I followed, and she was also my first follower (thanks, Jennine!). I also know that the first photo I “liked” was one of my own. OK, that was a #fail, but I was a newbie!
Initially, my use of Instagram was sproadic and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how one more social media account could fit into my life, or what it might do for my blog; but in short order, I was hooked.
Why I (and the rest of the free world) fell in love with Instagram (IG):
- My iPhone 4s is always with me, and like many, it’s now my point-and-shoot camera. No need to transfer photos from a card to edit with Instagram.
- It’s beyond easy to use, fast, well-designed, and it makes sharing even easier. Snap, filter, enter some deets about your photo, and you can automatically have it posted to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, or Foursquare with no additional effort.
- Instagram makes everyday snaps with your mobile look amazing. It really does! Your little pup, a cloud in the sky, your shoes, even your latest Target haul all look like pro-quality photos with a little IG magic. No graphic design degree or Photoshop required. It’s like Photoshop for dummies.
- Because sharing is so easy, it increases engagement in your other social media apps. For example, by adding a #hashtag, you not only connect yourself to a theme within Instagram, you do on Twitter as well.
- It allows your followers to see snippets of your life that aren’t necessarily blog-worthy, but offer a peek into your world. And people want to know, believe me. Don’t you love seeing the behind-the-scenes of your favorite bloggers’ lives? I know I do.
- It keeps you engaged with your followers even when you don’t feel like blogging and when you are suddenly over your entry-level DSLR. (OK, maybe this one only applies to me…)
And hey! Good news, all you non-Apple peeps! This just in: Popular Instagram iOS App Headed for Android
Statigram: The Other App Your Insta Feed Needs
So you’re on Instagram. Or as soon as it drops on Droid, you’ll be on that download like white on rice. So you should. You’re going to love this sweet little app!
There are several Web-based applications/sites that allow you to share your IG photos with non-IG users and sites, but the best for managing (and leveraging) your Instagram account on the Web is Statigram.
Oh, how I love this site. I’ve tried a few (Webstagram, Extragram, Followgram), but Statigram is is the mother of all. It’s like Klout for Instagram. You can view and respond to comments, see stats about your images and followers, and even send a private message (!)—the equivalent of a Twitter DM—to an IG user. It’s more robust than any of the others, and definitely sexier. 😉
Click the Viewer tab, and you can see all the photos in your Feed (i.e. recent photos from people you follow on Instagram). The Viewer tab is also where your My Photos link is. When you click on a photo in Statigram, you get lots of deets with it—like tags, likes, comments, as well as the IG filter used on the photo:
Aside from being able to comment or reply to an IG comment from your PC via Statigram, notice the social sharing buttons at the bottom? (Yes, even the Pin It button.) Makes pinning or sharing insanely easy for non-IG users. And for those of you who are Pinterest-mad at the moment, this is a good thing since Instagram does not include Pinterest as a sharing option within the app. Yet.
And another bonus: if you’re on a limited data plan, Statigram allows you to interact on IG from your computer so you don’t eat into your precious mobile megabytes.
Promoting Your Instagram Photos (and YOU!)
Statigram isn’t just a superb way to manage your IG photos and interact with others IGers from your computer, it has some excellent features available to help you promote your IG account and yourself.
And why would you want to do that?
Whatever your favorite social media channel may be, IG is another way to deepen your reach, to broaden your audience. Not everyone is into Twitter or Tumblr. Not everyone reads blogs. And not everyone can access Facebook or Pinterest at work. IG is an amazing way to connect with new people or grab the attention of your existing fans/followers in your other social spaces.
I’ve found that I’ve picked up Twitter followers because they were already following me on IG, and vice-versa. There is a “stickiness” to social media, wherein followers in one channel often follow you in others—you just need to let them know where you are!
In Statigram, click the Promote tab and you can:
- See your Web-based IG URL for sharing/linking elsewhere (e.g., http://statigr.am/gritandglamour)—and even snag an RSS feed URL for your photos.
- Create a beautifully-designed IG gallery that loads straight to your Facebook fan page.
- Create a perfectly-measured collage of all your IG photos that you can upload as your new Facebook Timeline cover. That cover has already become a pain in the you-know-whatty for many, me included. In classic Facebook fashion, the measurements are a total secret so I’m seeing a lot of blurry, ugly cover photos. No worries, the Statigram cover collage solves that issue. Just click Create cover, save the photo to your computer, and upload next time you’re in Facebook.
Now how cool is that?
Aside from promotion, Web-based IG account management, and killer badges and add-ons for your other social media accounts, Statigram also holds IG photo contests that you can enter simply by adding the contest hashtag to your IG shot.
Want a fun way to share metrics about your Instagram interactions? Click the Snapshots tab in Statigram and you can email yourself adorable “snapshots”—like how many likes you’ve given, or your overall stats—in the form of a little visual that’s perfect for sharing on your other social accounts.
Here are mine. Told you they’re adorbs!
What are you waiting for? Get yourself set up on Statigram now and see what it can do for you.
And of course, if you want to find me on Instagram, just search for gritandglamour. 🙂
So how about you? Are you on Instagram? Do you love it?