Instagram, with an estimated 150 million monthly active users, has emerged as one of the most rapidly-growing mobile applications ever, and its growth continues to accelerate. With millions of consumers already active on the platform, the benefits of Instagram are easy enough for marketing pros to imagine. But you’ll have to be proactive to maximize your visibility on Instagram; yours is not the only company using it as a marketing tool.

Instagram is not just about selling. In fact, using your Instagram account only to sell, sell, sell is a predictable way to lose the interest of your Instagram audience. You’ll need to kick off engaging dialogues, listen and respond to your followers, and post thought-provoking, inventive images that fire your followers’ imaginations. Here are some tips for mastering Instagram:

  • Make sure the Bio section at the top of your profile page is complete. Tell visitors who you are, what you do, and where to find you. Add a little something extra to encourage visitors to learn more about you.
  • Link your social media together. If you post a blog that already has some followers, embed your photos and videos from Instagram. Capitalize on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach both audiences. Making your Instagram account visible on your Facebook page inevitably increases dialogue and sharing.
  • Post quality, interesting visuals. Your photographs don’t have to be professional, but they do need to grab the eye and express some aspect of your company’s mission or vision. Give readers something they’ll find personally fascinating or intriguing; you want followers who “bond” with you. Most photos should in some way reflect the lifestyle of your customers. Don’t be afraid to use video, too.
  • Follow your followers. Reciprocation not only expresses gratitude for their support, but it opens new opportunities to be noticed by other Instagram users.
  • Consider hiring a social media marketing firm to create and coordinate your Instagram account and all of your internet-based marketing efforts. You’ll save hours every month, and you’ll know that your work is in the hands of marketing professionals on the Internet’s cutting edge.