Instagram has become a large part of our social lives and relationships. Keeping in touch with friends has become less talk and more pictures! Not only has Instagram crept into our personal lives, but now it has become the professional norm for some companies.  One hundred and Twenty- three Fortune 500 companies have added Instagram to their social repertoire. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, is true, making Instagram the perfect vehicle to quickly convey your company’s message. TrackMaven, a competitive analysis firm, recently released a study on how industry mavens like Nike, Whole Foods and Starbucks are dominating Instagram. We have broken down the data into a few bytes of information that should help you brand your company’s Instagram profile and get started. Activity – Of course being active on social media produces more results than being passive. TrackMaven found of the 123 Fortune 500 companies on Instagram, “About 22% had active accounts.” When’s best to share? Not just the usual 9-5. Evenings, weekends and non-business hours seemed to also reap the benefits. Engaging with your consumers on a personal, people-to-people level rather than just a professional level gives them a deeper connection. Photo or video? Photo currently ranked higher in performance as the video feature on Instagram is still somewhat new to users. Although, video did better on non-business hours. Most likely due to “users are more likely to engage with videos when not at work, presumably because of the audio component of video,” TrackMaven stated. To #hashtag or not to #hashtag? Apparently, to #hashtag! You may need to rethink what you know about #hashtags, though. They aren’t just for cute sayings and pictures of #kittehs. Good #hashtags serve as search terms and funnel relevant conversations to your feed, whatever social media services you’re on. “Looking at the interactions (the sum of likes and comments) per 1,000 followers compared to the number of hashtags used, there is a strong correlation to the number of hashtags used and effectiveness up to 5 hashtags which has the highest average at 21.21 interactions per 1,000 followers,” TrackMaven said in its report. This is just a snap shot to get you started. As always, studying up on social media #bestpractices will give you lots more ideas of what and how to share. If your company is considering adding Instagram, the most important thing is to get started. As TrackMaven pointed out, the key is “to figure out what your audience cares about and how you can create posts that will tell your brands story.” Does your company or business utilize Instagram? Let us know in the comments, we would love to see what you’re sharing!