Instagram was launched on October 16, 2010 and in just 3 months on December 2010, the community grew to 1 million active users. On June 21, 2016, Instagram has announced that the community has grown to more than 500 million Instagrammers — more than 300 million of whom use Instagram every single day.
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I have been using the app ever since it launched. My first photo was posted on December 25, 2010 and I’ve seen how the app evolved into what it is now. I’ve witnessed the changes when they introduced new filters, launched the video capability, when we can finally send direct messages, when we can finally edit the captions, when they gave us more tools to edit the picture, when they launched Hyperlapse, Boomerang, Layout, allowed longer video and when they changed their logo. Today, I’m going to list down some of the reasons why the app is a definite must have on your smartphone and why you should be on it if you are not using it already.
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1. Photos. Photos. Photos
Instagram is all about pictures. It’s so easy to use and view somebody else’s feed. I like it over Facebook and Twitter because I like visuals. On Facebook, one second you’re watching a video and when you scroll down you see a picture of a cat and then scroll again and you see a link to a news story. It’s inconsistent and unpredictable. Instagram on the other hand is more intimate and just like actions, pictures are also worth a thousand words and you can interpret it any way you want.
Image credit: @natgeo
2. You can build your own brand.
The app is your canvas and you can design it however you like. Some of the most interesting people that I know use Instagram as their platform to showcase their work and their style by curating their feed. Some use just black and white and some oversaturate their pictures. Whatever it is, you can paint away, be it abstract or figurative, you decide.
Image credit: @nazaret
3. It unleashes your creativity
Who would have thought that taking pictures of his wife holding his hand will take Murad Osmann places? Not only is he one of the best travel photographers out there, he also is one of the pioneers and early adopters of Instagram. He’s an example of how one can unleash their creative side and use it to their advantage. To date, he now has 4.4 million followers and racks about half a million likes on each post. #followmeto
Image credit: @muradosmann
4. It will help you pursue your passion.
One of the best travel profiles on Instagram is Beautiful Destinations. They currently have 6.9million followers and has been tagged as “The largest travel influencer on Instagram”. They have been so successful that they can travel the world, do the things they love and get paid at the same time. All of this, because of Instagram.
Image credit: @beautifuldestinations
5. It can connect you to people from all over the world.
You know those hashtags? There’s a use for that. It’s used to connect you to other people when they search for pictures of the same interests. When you use the hashtag #love and someone from the other side of the world searches for it, your picture can be found and be liked (or loved). When you think about it, the app is pretty amazing and you can use technology to make the most out of it. Just remember to like, leave a comment, interact and engage with other users.
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6. You can use it at as a visual diary.
My goal is to post one picture a day but sometimes you just don’t have the inspiration to find a good subject and capture it. You can take pictures of just the food that you eat everyday or maybe the places you have been to or cars or buildings or animals, the possibilities are limitless. For those of you who are just starting, you can use the app to practice your photography skills. Once you get the hang of it, you will improve and you will know how you want your feed to look. You will set a tone for all your pictures and one day you’ll look back at all these pictures that you took and you will remember the memories that came along with every single photo.
Image credit: @dailyfoodfeed
7. It can give you motivation.
If you’re following the right people on Instagram, your feed can also be a source of motivation. I myself don’t just follow everyone. Whenever someone posts just pictures of anything under the sun, I unfollow them. I need to learn something if I’m not going to be amazed by the picture. Prsuit is an example of a feed that can motivate you. I check Instagram as soon as I wake up and they post a picture almost at the same time every morning and it helps me get ready to take on the day.
Image credit: @prsuit
8. You can actually earn money from Instagram
Ok, this one might be a long shot unless you have thousands or millions of followers but companies now trust influencers more than ever. When they post a picture with a subtle view of the product, people will be more curious and interested to buy that. Selena Gomez now has 94.9million followers and has been reported to make $550,000 just by posting this picture which coincidentally is now the most liked picture on Instagram ever.
Image credit: @selenagomez
Feeling inspired yet? So why should you be on Instagram then? The answer is simple: 500 million users. So whether you’re growing your company or your personal brand, you have this massive number of users within your reach. If you use the app to its full potential and take advantage of the value that it can give you, the benefits are yours for the taking. Considering all the benefits mentioned earlier, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be on Instagram. And even Facebook saw the potential. So what’s holding you back? Go ahead and start now, the world is waiting.