We used to like Instagram…

…but now we LOVE it!

My number one social web rule is to play with “the tool” on a personal account before using it on a university account. When people make mistakes, it is understood that they are only human. When a company makes the same mistake, they get a fancy case study highlighting their ineptness.

What follows is an Instagram love story as seen from both the personal and brand perspectives.

The first date:

@tsand – I posted my first photo to Instagram on October 23, 2010. That’s when I got my first iPod touch with a camera, we hit it off from the start.

@uwgb – First post was on May 4, 2011. I just got out of a relationship with Twitpic, and was still seeing flickr.

The relationship up until today:

@tsand – In just over 14 months I’ve amassed 1952 photos. I have 314 followers, average 1.6 likes per photo and have almost 900 comments. The extremely poor camera quality of the iPod touch needs filtering, Instagram makes it effortless. Instagram is constantly improving, we’re growing together, creating and documenting memories.

@tsand on Instagram

@uwgb – A little over 8 months in and only 67 photos. I have 27 followers, average 0.6 likes per photo and have just 6 comments. It’s OK, but nothing special. I mean, I guess we both have things to work on, who doesn’t?

@uwgb on Instagram

The day you realized Instagram might be the one:

@tsand – Today, January 6, 2012

@uwgb – Today, January 6, 2012

What did Instagram do to seal the deal:

@tsand – I shared a “bigger photo” on facebook today and it got the most fb likes of any Instagram photo I’ve ever posted. It was a photo of my daughter and I waiting for the bus, I’ve probably posted the same “daddy/daughter/bus” photo at least 50 times with little to no reaction of facebook. I SERIOUSLY THINK THE BIGGER PHOTO ON FACEBOOK IS THE REASON. Before they were tiny and required a click off of fb to see the larger version, now it’s right there in the timeline/feed. Total marriage material.

@uwgb – I discovered (thanks to a tweet from @InstagramHelp) that I can share Instagram photos on my facebook page directly from the app. Up until now, I was afraid to connect the university account to facebook, since it must be used via a personal profile. Turns out my fears were unwarranted. AND with the larger photos hitting the feed and getting their own “Instagram” album, I think I’m ready to take the next step!

Instagram photos get their own facebook photo album to call home

The real beauty of Instagram is more than skin deep, it’s not all about the pretty filters (currently 16). I think what makes it special is that the mobile app makes it easy to share your pics EVERYWHERE (instagram, twitter, flickr, facebook profiles and pages, tumblr, posterous and foursquare). I don’t suggest blasting the same photo out to all your social haunts, but taking different photos and sharing them in different circles is extremely easy. Also love how geotagging a photo in Instagram and posting to flickr pins the map, super slick.

The ugly part of Instagram is that it’s super selective with choosing a partner. If you don’t have an iOS device (read: iphone/pod/pad) you’re not allowed to date.

Got an Instagram question? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer, or visit the Instagram Support Center.

Stats and screenshots are thanks to Statigram.