As a photographer, I am an avid Instagram user. I have been on Instagram since 2010 and have posted over 2000 times. I have always used the app as a way to share my photos that I like taking. I never quiet realized how people and companies use it as a marketing tool until very recently.
As an experiment, I started to market myself on Instagram and see what happened. I started by making my account no longer private, then I began following more people. I found a local business or two and started following all of their followers. I also would use locations on my pictures. I’ve always been against using lots of hash tags as I find them to be annoying. I ended up boosting my followers by a couple hundred. I then started to un-follow people to see what would happen, and my followers went down significantly.
One thing I noticed when I began to follow more people is how many companies and lifestyle bloggers use Instagram to sell their products. Some people try to make it more subtle than others by masking their products behind pretty pictures and meaningful sayings, where others just flash their product or service in your face. At the end of the day, Instagram has moved away from an image sharing app to a marketing app and has been very successful in doing so.