By Naomi Bagga

Social media has taken over the marketing world, providing a direct, creative and transparent method for companies to reach their respective audiences. However, with so many platforms available to businesses, it’s important for brands to clearly understand what works best for them to avoid wasting time and spreading their efforts too thin.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, doubling its users to 700 million in the last two years, according to TechCrunch. You may be wondering how exposure to 700 million people could not be beneficial to a company’s growth, however Instagram has a unique style that may only work for some brands. Let’s check out three steps to determine whether Instagram is the right platform for your company.

1. Determine Your Marketing Goals

When deciding on marketing tools, the first step is to determine whether your goals align with the capabilities of the chosen platform. With less focus on click-throughs, Instagram is not a site for straightforward advertising that produces direct conversions. Rather, through visualization and creativity, it prides itself on being a method of communicating brand personality, managing reputations and building customer relationships that can see long term benefits for a brand. Often, this means that posts will not be directly linked to a companies offerings, but instead be an effort to relate with and engage audiences. Amway’s Instagram, for example, has a variety of different posts that successfully identifies with the interests of their customers. Noticing their audience’s interest in healthy living, one such post includes an engaging picture of fitness attire, with a motivational quote from a college football coach. The caption also included a call to action related to staying motivated, that gets users interested and active with the brand.

2. Do You Have Visual Content To Offer?

Unlike other copy-based sites like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram prides itself on the utilization of photography and visual elements. Each post must consist of either pictures or a video, with the option of adding a caption — companies without exciting visual content may therefore find it difficult to create a successful post. An accounting company for example, whose business is based on crunching numbers, may struggle to find anything visual to promote their brand or communicate with their audience — uploading a Facebook status with links to their website may be more effective. However, for a company like Victoria’s Secret, Instagram is ideal. It gives the brand a chance to show off their designs and display gorgeous models and backdrops that easily associate their company with beauty and luxury.

3. Do You Understand Mobile Marketing?

While you can search Instagram profiles and see pictures on the desktop site, most of Instagram’s functions can only be conducted through a mobile device, including uploading posts, adding to stories and direct messaging. Therefore, if you’re advertising on Instagram, it’s important that you not only understand mobile marketing but have strategies specific to mobile usage. This could mean links to mobile websites rather than desktop interfaces, geo-targeting and using keywords. Being mobile also means that the platform can be integrated with other mobile marketing tools like text marketing and email marketing, so if you know your brand can make use of these methods, then Instagram’s mobility may come in handy.

With so many options for marketing your company these days, finding the right platform for promotion and consumer engagement can be difficult. Instagram specifically prides itself on creativity, visualization, mobility and forming relationships, so take a look at your brand to see if this fits in with your strategies before joining the Instagram community.

Naomi Bagga is a young Australian native living in Los Angeles. She has worked in television, media, marketing and sales, and is passionate about music, entertainment, writing, entrepreneurship and the changing media landscape. In her spare time, Naomi loves photography, fashion, travel and a good cup of coffee.