​Social media marketing requires businesses to remain up to date with the latest platforms, and Instagram makes a case for widespread adoption.

Social media marketing evolves as companies embrace new networks that prove to generate conversions and business for brands. In 2012, Pinterest marketing went through its coming of age, outpacing many other networks in terms of growth, referral traffic and adoption. Pinterest continues to expand and add new features to its ever-adapting interface, but the service is no longer the social-media newcomer – that prize goes to Instagram.

Of course, the picture-sharing network has been around for a few years now, but businesses have just caught on to Instagram’s content marketing benefits. With more than 90 million monthly active users uploading approximately 40 million photos per day, Instagram has already been adopted by 59 percent of the world’s top brands.

In Simply Measured’s latest report on Instagram’s growth, the source notes strong audience growth for major brands and a wider gap for those who haven’t created an account yet. Since the last report in November 2012, Instagram grew 9 percent. More, Instagram accounts with more than 10,000 followers grew 6 percent since November 2012, and profiles with 20,000 plus followers grew a percentage point in the same time period. As for brands with more than 100,000 followers, they experienced a 2 percent growth between November 2012 and February 2013.

Businesses can use Instagram to distribute visual content across the web. Images can feature internal events, preview new products or promote social media contests. In fact, brands already engage in cross-platform Instagram marketing. Simply Measured noted that 59 percent of Instagram photos are shared on Twitter, generating an average of 22 Tweets per photo. Ninety-eight percent of photos are published to Facebook, earning an average of 274 engagements per piece.

With 59 percent of the world’s top brands using Instagram to engage audiences, consumers may start to expect cool pics from companies. Businesses must find a way to incorporate the network into their own content creation efforts, and interact with prospects where they socialize most often online.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.