Are you grammin’? You should be!

What started as a mere novelty application for digitally mimicking old-school instamatic prints has evolved into an absolutely mammoth player in the social media game. Everyone from celebrities, to companies, to everyday visual storytellers now have the power to create and deliver quick and powerful photographic content to their social following. In fact, the burgeoning photo network now touts over 400 million active daily users that put out a stream of 80 Million photos each and every day!.

Not sure whether your brand should invest time in an Instagram presence? Let’s break it down by key advantages:

The Kids Are Alright

While Facebook still remains a hugely important part of social strategy, the new youth has found their home on Instagram. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trend Report 2015, teens report Instagram as being the most important social network to their online activities. In fact, many of the new social platforms taking off with this age demographic (see the Snapchat phenomenon) are utilizing similar formats of this quick, image-centric, digestible content.

For those whose target audience is more mature, of course, you will want to be sure you live heavily in networks where your current target operates. But be careful not to overlook this audience on Instagram providing a large pool of untapped, future members of your community. Taking advantage of tailoring some content to them now can be an invaluable resource for expanding your demographics and customers.

Hearts Are a-Flyin’

If each major social network were to be highlighted by their strong suit, the name of Instagram’s game would surely be engagement. According to Forrester, top brands have reported per-follower engagement rates of 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter. With the effortless double tap of a finger and in-line commenting in the forefront, the Instagram community is not shy to show their favorite accounts some love. This provides loads of potential to grow a larger, more active following, as well as collect a pulse for who your most active fans really are.

This Train is Hitting Every Stop

Update 3/15/16: Looks like I stand corrected a few days later on this one! Instagram just announced it will soon be implementing an algorithm similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed, meaning more popular and relevant posts will appear higher and more often.

Unlike some other major networks, the Instagram feed is entirely consecutive. This means that when you post a photo a 9am, it will appear with all the other posts at 9am. This gives you the opportunity to create and publish time-sensitive content when it will be most relevant to your community.

With Facebook’s both lauded and decried Newsfeed algorithm, organic posts by pages may see either a limited or extended life that can push timely content to display when it might not be so timely anymore. Nothing like seeing a fresh bagel sandwich at 11pm, am I right?

#Hashtag

This millennially-associated internet buzzword is a huge driving force on Instagram. While using numerous hashtags on other networks may be misconstrued as spammy, these little categorically rich filing devices are the backbone of discovery for Instagram’s active community. In fact, according to Simply Measured’s 2014 Instagram Study, photos that use hashtags see an average of 12.6% higher engagement than those that do not. So go ahead, throw up those tags!

The Facebook Machine

After being acquired by Facebook in 2012, many originally feared for the next steps of the, at that point, novel social network. As it turns out, this acquisition has provided more benefits for brands to maintain a connected presence. Arguably the largest of these advantages is the recent integration with the Facebook Ads platform. In a space that was originally reserved for large brands and launch partners, smaller and more diverse companies can now run image-rich Instagram ads through the self-serve platform on Facebook. This provides advertisers with an abundance of opportunity, including both Instagram-centric promotions and ads to drive web site traffic.

Human After All

Above all advertising potential, there is one use for Instagram that really lies within the core of what social media is all about: personality. As Facebook and Twitter strategy both shift more towards sponsored promotions and customer conversation, Instagram has become the hub for lifting the curtains on brands’ polished exterior to show the hard-working and unique brains behind every operation. Team dinner? Convention? On-site project? After-hours shenanigans? Snap and upload captures of your culture at work to humanize your brand and put faces to the shiny logo at the top of your page. When fostering conversation, human transparency and a little bit of fun can go a long way.

(Psst, and don’t forget to check us out on Instagram)