Instagram is the hottest social network around these days. People are joining the network in droves, and according to statista.com, they passed 300 Million monthly users in December of 2014. That’s up from 200 Million in March of 2014. For perspective, Twitter currently has 284 Million active users. So why are people so intrigued?

1. It’s visual.
Social media has been moving to more visual content for a couple years now. The pictures and videos are easy to scroll through and don’t require much effort. A user can scroll through recent pictures posted by the individuals they’re following or view all the pictures in a conversation by searching for hashtags. For example, if I wanted to see all fitness-related pictures, I could search #fitness. The result will be lots of fitness-related pictures from people around the world. This is a great way to find interesting new people to follow.

2. It’s mobile.
The entire network is designed to be used with a smartphone. The vast majority of social media users are walking around with an Android or iPhone in their pocket. The powerful cameras on these phones give everyone the capability of capturing interesting, timeless photos. Combine this with the ability to have quick, simple communications with people on Instagram and you have a perfect place to post all your best selfies and sunset photos in real time.

3. It’s interactive.
Recent data compiled by Socialbakers shows that Instagram posts get engaged around 50 times more often than tweets. That’s right – 50 times more! This information was compiled from comparative study of the top 25 most engaging brands on social media including Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Starbucks and others. These results were analyzed based on interactions with a tweet vs. interactions with an Instagram post, average profile interactions and total profile interactions.

This is big news for companies with products or services that can be shown or demonstrated visually. Creativity drives engagements, but access to a creative platform that encourages engagements gives brands a chance to become a leader in their market. Instagram is still a new corner of social media for many companies. Those that take the time to invest in growing a presence now will likely reap the benefits over the coming years.

4. It’s social.
This point is really at the core of “social” media. You can easily like pictures that are interesting to you and even leave messages with the person that posted the pictures. Instagram encourages (and almost creates an environment for) casual connections. You don’t have many functions to figure out with the network so you can quickly catch up on the latest photos, comment to your friends and get along with the rest of your day. You’ll get a notification if someone likes your photos, comments to you or follows you.

Want to learn what EMSI’s Social Media department can do for you and your business? Click here to learn more. 

There’s little surprise to many of us in the industry that Instagram has become so popular. The network checks off all four of the critical factors for social networks above with flying colors. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the company’s owner is Facebook.

Business owners, if you’re frustrated with Facebook’s lack of reach for Facebook pages, you should really consider following many of Facebook and Twitter’s former users over to Instagram. They can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

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