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To many – perhaps a majority – of business people and marketers, social media is a misunderstood concept.

When discussing social media, pundits often emphasise ‘media’ as being most important, when in reality the ‘social’ element is key. By enabling people to share and interact with each other, social media is enabling content to become more democratised than ever before.

For those still struggling to effectively market their business on Facebook or LinkedIn, the relevance of the photo sharing sites may not be immediately apparent. Pinterest and Instagram are regarded by many as broadly the same, because they are both about pictures. But Pinterest is a bookmarking site, not a social media platform.

Instagram, in contrast, is a place for people to have conversations. Even if you know lots of people on Facebook, Instagram is where you can build a community. As a blogger or entrepreneur, it’s the kind of place you need to be to meet new people.

And while a blogger might not see the value in Instagram, it remains a fact that brands are getting more engagement on Instagram than on any other social media platform. Instagram is a very effective tool for creating brand awareness and leading more people to your business, events or products.

The biggest mistake marketers make is they don’t post enough. Instagram users who have 500,000-plus followers are posting up to ten times every day. And they are posting excellent content.

As marketing channels become increasingly blurred, social media is providing brands with one of the most personal, trusted and direct points of access to consumers. Instagram provides a good opportunity now, and a great opportunity moving forward. It is essential that brands engage with the medium now, or they risk being left behind in the future.

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