It seems that each year there is a new social media “star.” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn rose to stardom in recent years, and 2012 the year of Pinterest how to make a group on instagram . Now, Instagram is gunning for top billing.

With the Instagram community thriving, major brands and companies like Starbuck, MTV, Nike and Marc Jacobs, to name just a few, are jumping on board aggressively adopting the mobile photo app into their marketing strategies.

According to Simply Measured, 59% of the Top 100 Global Interbrand Brands already have Instagram accounts. And based on the Instagram blog, the two-plus-year-old platform reaches over 100 million active users each month. Compare that to Twitter, which broke the 200 million mark after six years.

What makes Instagram different from other social media networks? Most obvious is that it’s almost entirely photo-based. But beyond that, its simplicity makes it an effective vehicle for engaging consumers since they can express themselves from anywhere, anytime mis webmail .

Visual content is expected to be a major trend in 2013. Pictures appeal to emotions, and resonate across cultures. In fact, if we take a look at social networks overall, photos drive more engagement than any other form of content. On Facebook, for example, photos have an interaction rate 39% higher than other posts. It is not surprising, then, to see Instagram rise to popularity so quickly.

If you’re looking for inspiration about how to grow your current Instagram community check out examples from four brands that are successfully integrating the platform into their marketing mix:

· Red Bull – Through a recent Instagram contest Red Bull gave away two tickets to this year’s Red Bull King of the Rock Finals basketball tournament in San Francisco. Followers were asked to take a picture of themselves with a basketball in unexpected locations and tag their photos #TakeMeToTheRock. The contest not only got followers excited, it also let Red Bull to make a statement to and connect with the sports community.

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