Going all in on Instagram

Going all in with Instagram is imperative now more than ever. Based on Facebook's latest quarterly report, 500 Million people are on Instagram each month. With the addition of Instagram stories this past summer, it is now considered in the same playing field as Snapchat. When consulting brands, personal or business, on a social strategy I urge them to use Instagram and Facebook at a minimum. 
Behind Instagram is Facebook’s powerful advertising software allowing marketers to target highly specified demographics. However, I have found that, when running an ad through this software the click through rate drops increasingly driving the cost per click upwards of $7 or more per click. This could be due to the fact that more people use Instagram on a daily basis or that you literally cannot avoid ads on Instagram since they show natively in the content stream.
Instagram is one of the easiest platforms to gain a following on. It takes menial work however the return on your time is incredibly worth it. In just four short months I grew an Instagram account from 0 to 1200 followers. It starts with following the followers of competing business and/or accounts. Instagram will let you follow about 100 people in a day so be sure to not over-follow or they may shut down your account. After a few days of this, use an app like 'Followers for Instagram' to unfollow all of the accounts that did not follow you back, since they mean nothing at this point since they will not see your content. 
Another major part of Instagram is the use of Hashtags in posts. These are one way Instagram categorizes content while making it searchable. However most brands are not using hashtags correctly. The most effective use of hashtags on Instagram is putting the hashtags in the first comment of a post after five consecutive dots, as seen below, this allows you to use more hashtags while creating posts that look a lot cleaner. 

Another way content becomes searchable is by location tagging. All of your posts should have a location, it acts as another way to boost your content. This is a great strategy since many people location search before or after events.

I feel that Instagram has built a strong enough presence and user interface that it has the potential to possibly beat out Snapchat by the end of 2017.