Last year Instagram turned five and the focus once again turned to how the photo-sharing app has attained an almost iconic status with monthly users exceeding 400 million. When compared to Facebook and Twitter, the other two social media platforms that have been creating waves, Instagram seems to have found a secret key into the hearts and minds of the young. More than half of its user base is under the age of 25. Social media experts are of the view that this success has been largely due to the fact that it has been designed specifically for the smartphone generation, and that it is extremely simple and intuitive to use. With millions of photo uploads every day, it comes as no surprise that Instagram has made a deep impact on several aspects of your daily lives.

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Fashion

The fashion industry has very quickly understood that they can benefit a lot by the desire of a large section of Instagram users to post photos that are not only inspirational but also tell stories about themselves. Smart brands and designers are opening up their previously closed worlds to Instagram followers so that they can get a glimpse of what is happening behind the scenes and spread the word. When a brand is being launched or a line of fashion apparel is being unveiled, the publicity managers not only include the conventional audiences into their sphere of influence, but also try to take into account how the event will look like in the hundreds of Instagram photos uploaded by both the company as well as its followers. With millions of users being able to share the success story of fashion brands, it is all but natural that the brands are ever willing to plow in substantial resources into making their Instagram presence more visible.

Because of the huge impact that Instagram has had on the world of fashion with its democratizing effect, even premium brands become conversation pieces with a large section of Instagram followers who would ordinarily never had the chance to interact with the brand, let alone afford it. With a strategic placement on Instagram, fashion brands are making deep inroads into the psyche of followers and connect better with them. Designers are also tweaking their offers to appeal not just the catwalk audience but a far larger world outside.

Art

With Instagram taking command of much of our lives, the way we look at art has also changed dramatically. While earlier art used to be the domain of a chosen few, it has now become accessible to a much wider audience. Instagram photo uploads on various art forms have substantially altered the way how people interact with art and artists, and also, changed the way how artists are perceived. There are quite a few artists who also use Instagram to get quick reactions on some of the projects they may be working on. In the process, they also use the social media platform to reveal more about their work process, as also details of their lives making them more human than ever before.

Travel

The travel industry has been one of the major beneficiaries of the Instagram boom. What started out as vacation photos being posted by users, has almost been taken over by the travel and tour operators who have started employing professional photographers to go out and shoot exotic and scenic locales to enable them to entice a larger cross-section of the audience that what was possible through paid advertising and story placements in travel magazines. Not only do travel operators love Instagram posts because they can immediately get reactions from the audience, it also comes in very handy to publicize remote locations that may not be easily accessible. In a way, Instagram has become a window into the world, subjects, and cultures that would have otherwise remained alien to Westerners.

Author bio: Mary Summers is a freelance journalist and a keen observer of social media trends. She has written a number of insightful articles on how top brands are going all out to acquire Instagram followers.

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