Why should your business use Instagram?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what’s a social media account based on images worth? For businesses striving to gain a following, using unique social media platforms such as Instagram can advance the quality of a marketing campaign. While Instagram has a dedicated and certainly “cultish” following, the application is no longer considered solely for the young, hipster crowd, who thrive on taking avant garde pictures of their sneakers and too-cool sunglasses.

Now, business professionals and a wide range of consumers have begun using the social application – bringing the number of users up to more than 50 million on May 1, 2012, according to marketing firm Firespring. Businesses and individuals can use the application effectively as a promotional or fundraising tool, and the uses don’t stop there.

The application has the potential for drawing in potential customers and piquing their interest in a brand. For example, Levi’s Instagram campaign is famous for asking Instragramers to take a picture of themselves wearing the jean product and hashtagging the image with #iamlevis so that the brand’s marketing team could peruse through the submissions and select a new model for the fashion line. Mobile marketing strategies such as this are interactive, boost brand interest and are generally highly effective.

The image-based social network, which is available for free on iPhone and Android smartphones, is gaining ground in popularity, which is why businesses such as Starbucks, NASA, MTV and NBC News are learning new ways to captivate audiences through the use of the platform.

The advancement of businesses using the application has even led the Instagram team to start a Tumblr blog titled “Instagram for Business” to provide best practice tips and new service offerings. A company can use Instagram to improve a brand’s successful marketing campaign.