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Social networking sites have become a hub for business owners to promote their businesses and engage with potential consumers. This has lead to Social Media Optimization becoming an integral part of most businesses’ marketing strategies. Instagram is one such networking site that has only become bigger since its launch in 2010. Instagram is a social networking site based on a combination of photo and video sharing.

In a short span of time it has become the biggest photo-sharing site with about 130 million monthly active users, according to the official website. From a business perspective it proposes reaching out to over a 300 million potential consumers. Businesses as big as Audi, Burberry, Starbucks and Adidas actively use Instagram to promote themselves, so there is no reason why you can’t too.

Instagram is an easy to use site with a lot of promise. This e-book is aimed at providing all the information you need to reap the benefits of this effective, almost cost-free marketing hub.

Contrary to general perception, Instagram not only caters to the retail and food industry, it also holds a lot of potential for other business types, as long as you use the right strategies. This e-book is well equipped to guide you through the entire procedure. From setting up your own account to generating traffic to turning that traffic into sales this Instagram guide is enough to make your business prosper, using one of the most powerful Internet marketing tools available today.

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What Is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo and video sharing website and mobile application that allows users to upload, filter and share photos with followers and friends on Instagram and other social networking sites simultaneously. The photos in Instagram appear to be square rather than the 16:9 aspect ratio photos that are generally available in most phones today. The square photo format gives the images a vintage feel like Polaroid instant photographs.

Instagram also offers a video-sharing option allowing users to share videos of up to 15 seconds in length. Instagram today is widely used by individuals for social as well as business purposes. Businesses use Instagram to promote their products or services while connecting with their followers.

In order to connect with a specific individual or business on Instagram you will need to search for and follow them. Public profiles are easy to follow, and anyone can. However, private profiles are restricted and require permission from the profile’s owner.

Instagram is currently compatible with Apple and Android phones above 2.2 versions and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store or Google Play. Instagram is relatively easy to use and allows businesses to connect with their potential customers in a visually appealing way.

According to the Instagram founders, we imagine a world more connected through photos, but today with its increasing popularity, Instagram offers more potential than instant photo sharing it allows those pictures to generate customers and brand recognition.

Sharing pictures through Instagram is easier than on other social networking sites where it can take minutes to upload a single photo. Instagram on the other hand offers faster and higher quality images.

History Of Instagram

Instagram was developed and launched by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systorm in October 2010 as a photo-sharing application. According to the duo, the primary objective was to allow people to share their life through pictures instantaneously all across the world.

They came up with the word Instagram as a combination of instant and telegrams, words that pretty much sum up the functions of Instagram. Instagram has greatly evolved since its launch and has added different features like profiles, impressive filters and video-sharing options in its brief history.

Today, Instagram is popular among celebrities and influential people throughout the world. Beyoncé, LeBron James and even Michelle Obama are on Instagram not only to connect with their fans and audiences, but also to keep them updated about upcoming projects. In a small span of time, Instagram has become an indispensable social media tool for many people, primarily because long textual content hardly catches the viewers attention anymore.

Attention spans are decreasing and the content available online is increasing by greater numbers each minute. With viewers demanding instant connections and visually appealing content to keep them engaged and educated, it is no wonder Instagram has become so popular for individuals and businesses.

Approximately 40 million photos are posted on Instagram each day. Needless to say, Instagram has a lot of potential. However, it also has a lot of competition when it comes to promoting businesses. In order to make the most of Instagram you will need to do a little more than take a picture of the view from your office window.

How Instagram Is Helping Businesses

Instagram, like most social networking sites, was not designed for businesses, but just like others, it has seen its fair share of business potential. Big names in music such as MTV, Foo Fighters, and John Mayer are able to promote themselves and their business using Instagram. Sports icons include virtual tours and behind-the- scenes views for exclusive tournaments such as Wimbledon, The Masters, and the World Series. All of these people and their respective brand sponsors capitalize on Instagram as part of a larger Internet marketing strategy.

Whether you are a restaurateur, website owner, fashion blogger, a logistics company, in retail, or the food industry, the evolution and popularity of Instagram provides the potential to connect and do business with hundreds, thousands and even millions of people across the globe.

Today, their website is filled with success stories of businesses that gained popularity and customers with the help of Instagram, and there is no reason why yours can not make it on those pages too.

Instagram encourages customer participation and enables them to connect with you on a more personal level compared to other internet marketing strategies. Whether it is a behind the scene video or a photo of a project in progress, your followers will feel like a greater part of the whole development process.

Social media is only useful for businesses if it focuses on engagement; this is also the case with Instagram. The chances of success do not depend on whether or not you have an Instagram account, but rather they depend on how you utilize the platform.

The following is a step-by-step guide to entering, understanding and conquering the world of Instagram.