Postcards from TravelRemember those good old fashioned “Wish you were here” postcards stamped and mailed in days of old? If you were considered worthy enough to receive one from a gallivanting friend or distant relative, depending on how sweet the image (not to discount the sentiment), you may have pasted it to your school locker… scrapbook… or CK1 tin can that housed all your future aspirations and places you vowed to get yourself one day (ok, maybe that last one was just me).

Fast forward  a few decades, and enter the modern-day, fabulously revamped second cousin once removed of the “Wish You Were Here” postcard: Instagram.

In less than two years, the free photo sharing application has baited more than 50 million users according to reports, and the platform sees roughly 58 photos uploaded each second. That’s a whole lot of folks virtually tucking away perhaps otherwise unconsidered destinations into their “when I can take more than 3 days off of work” vacation file.

And that’s just via Instagram. We’ve also got a lot of insta-competitors out there, in the form of Picplz, Color, Shutterfly for mobile, Lightbox… that is until just last week when its entire staff was scooped up by Facebook…, and the list goes on.

Beautiful destination photos have always existed, but the advent of these photo-sharing apps makes them all the more sharable (read: desirable), and these applications offer yet another way for brands to tap into the psyche of today’s consumer. Should they choose to do their homework.

Anne's Homegrown on InstagramOf course the challenge for us in the marketing industry is just which photo booth(s) we should advise our clients to jump into, and from there how to manage. Just as with any of the freshest online communication platforms, it’s important for brands to take a look at their overall communication goals as well as their existing (and sought-after) fan base. If all align, a smart presence on photo-sharing apps like those mentioned here should absolutely be written into social brand campaigns.  And in the case of these free and wildly-successful apps, most marketers would be hard-pressed to find a whole lot of brands that don’t belong. Just check out Hubspot’s list of Top 10 Best Branded Companies on Instagram, released last week—if Sharpie and Annie’s Homegrown have blazed a successful path, what brand can’t?

I’m looking forward to seeing more savvy brands, especially of the leisure variety, jumping onboard. And I’m bracing for even more enviable photos like these to add to my ever-growing wanderlust list! #ilovemyjob

Photo courtesy of Graphic Design Basics and Annie’s Homegrown