Instagram is a visual social networking platform designed for mobile. Launched in 2010 and purchased by Facebook for one billion dollars in 2012, and it now has 500 million users, 59 percent of whom log in daily.

While Instagram can be accessed via a web browser on a computer, users are only permitted to upload and share posts from the mobile app. The post structure is unique as well. Unlike platforms like Facebook and Google+ that include a variety of post options, Instagram is strictly for sharing photos and videos (up to 15 seconds long). Users have access to a variety of filters and other effects they can use to transform their media before ultimately sharing the content either publicly or privately. An Instagrammer also has the option to share his/her photos and videos across other social sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, or Twitter.

Interaction on the site is accomplished by “following” people and companies. Brands that use Instagram as part of their social media marketing strategies, for instance, can look to their number of followers to determine reach and level of engagement on the platform.

There are ample opportunities for brands to leverage Instagram as a marketing strategy. For example, companies can showcase visuals of (or crowdsource user-generated visuals of) their products or services being used in unique ways. Especially attention-grabbing or inspirational posts can result in users “double tapping”—the equivalent of “liking”—them, thereby expanding engagement.

In addition, the visual platform can help businesses add another dimension to their brand story, showcasing their personality through images and videos rather than press releases and text-heavy blog posts. Instagram can also be used to fuel an omnichannel approach, as feeds can be incorporated directly into email campaigns, integrating social and email strategies in the process.

There are many social media marketing tools listed on Martec Showcase designed to help marketers get the most out of the social media marketing and advertising.

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