The first thing you see when you visit Instagram’s webpage is their tagline: “Capture and Share the World’s Moments” – which is the purpose for the multi-billion dollar company (now owned by Facebook). What users actually use it for, however, can vary in a multitude of ways. This is great news for businesses because they can optimize their reach in ways that other social media outlets may not allow for. Not to mention, this untapped demographic may include people that are on Instagram but don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account.

Personally, I’m an avid Instagram user and will swear by its significance in both personal and professional avenues.

Instagram can connect you with people that you would otherwise never have been connected with.

For businesses, this can mean reinforcing their brand identity while increasing revenue.

1. Michael Kors:
At the beginning of November 2013, Michael Kors was the first business to run an advertisement on Instagram – only to be met with criticism from their followers. The statistics, however, show that despite the disapproval from many followers, the results were exactly what Michael Kors had hoped for: in the first 18 hours of its launch, Michael Kors gained 34,000 new followers putting them at 1.3 million followers.

2. Sponsored Posts:
A sponsored post can increase viewership by pushing them to users that are not already following the account. Like Facebook, it promises impressions but not necessarily “follows” or “likes”, and unlike Facebook, you can’t target a specific demographic. In any case, a riveting ad or a great offer isn’t normally rejected by most – so it’s still worth considering.

3. Optimization:
There has been viral videos wreaking havoc on the usage of hashtags – for those who don’t know, a hashtag is the number sign (#) followed by a word or phrase. Some people have abused the purpose of this tool, but it’s actually very useful if used properly. Hashtagging organizes your photos by topic so that interested users can easily access relevant photos.

What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts to follow?