“Facebook is floundering under the weight of its own scorched earth policy towards privacy.”
So writes Mark Weinstein in the lede of his Huffington Post article on the company and privacy issues. While some may scoff at the idea of privacy in a social media platform –we are all freely publicly posting those pictures, check-ins and rants – there really is no reason that public platforms and privacy cannot work together.
People want control
This doesn’t sound like control to me.
These types of concerns led John Saddington – and many others like him – to abandon the platform. Saddington was not comfortable Facebook terms of service and the commercialization of users – namely himself – by the company. And as an avid user of Instagram, he grew concerned when Facebook purchased that platform. The concern appears justified as Instagram launched advertising in its feeds in November.
Photo and video ads will start appearing in your Instagram streams now in the U.S. The ads will look like normal Instagram pictures, but will be labels as ‘Sponsored’, with brands like Adidas and Ben & Jerry’s among others to be early advertisers targeting the approximately 60 million active U.S. Instagram users.
Saddington was one of those active users, but didn’t want to lose control of his content. But he liked the functionality of Instagram – the ability to easily add filters to photos and share them with friends and family. As he described it to me, he was sitting in a Cuban restaurant thinking about this, when he sketched out an idea on a napkin. This idea was to create an app that would allow him to add filters to photos then post them to his WordPress blog. The idea started as a night and weekend passion project to solve a personal problem. This was in September if 2012.
Control Your Content with Pressgram
After working on his idea for six months, his wife suggested that if he was really serious about the idea he should turn to Kickstarter to turn the idea into a real product. Saddington says he had supported 200 ideas himself on Kickstarter, but had never tried it with one of his own ideas. He submitted the idea, and eventually garnered almost 500 backers pledging over $56,000. Saddington set August 2013 as the launch date and officially launched the app – now called Pressgram in September.
Saddington is passionate about making sure that the philosophy that drove him to create Pressgram continues. By posting images to the user’s WordPress blog, ownership of the images is maintained. Any increased traffic generated by the images goes to the user site. Saddington sees the blogging as a broad market, so he expects his audience to be broad: individuals, small businesses and enterprises – basically anyone that uses WordPress.
Pressgram for Digital Marketers
While the opportunity might be broad, I did ask Saddington how he thought digital marketers might best use Pressgram. Saddington thought that individual marketers could use the tool for self-promotion and building their personal brand. Pressgram allows the marketer to create consistent content and help drive traffic to personal websites. Saddington sees similar benefits for brands and agencies.
Saddington sees specific benefits for smaller local brick and mortar brands as well. Small business owners, or marketers in these companies, are usually pressed (sorry) for time, and Pressgram is a good channel for promotion while driving traffic to their website. As an example, Saddington suggested that a Pizzeria or Food truck owner could use Pressgram to produce quick and easy visual content about their food or location without having to take time away from running their business.
Social Network Filtered On Top
Obviously one of the aspects of Instagram, and other social networks, is the network affect. While the functionality of filters and posting pictures is important, the ability to attract an audience, follow other users, and like or comment on content is vital. I asked Saddington how Pressgram dealt with this given that the content is distributed across all the users WordPress sites.
Pressgram has a social network layered on top of the app. Thus users can interact with each other via following, liking or commenting. Additionally, the app creates functional URLS for your pictures, so you can easily share on your existing social channels, such as Facebook or Twitter. The key difference here is you are expanding your brand by driving traffic to your WordPress site, unlike Instagram were viewers remain within the Instagram network.
If you are thinking about launching into Instagram as a channel you may want to consider Pressgram instead. The ability to control and retain ownership of your content is compelling. The added ability to expand your brand and easily create WordPress content is an added benefit. Currently the app is only available in iOS, but Saddington and Pressgram are working on an Android version. Stay tuned.
Category: Blog Creation, Branding, Digital Marketing, Facebook, Recruit 101, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Tools, Special Agent Intermediate, tmmBosley, tmmJill, tmmKelly, TMMPDX, tmmSabrina, Veteran Advanced