Thursday, June 21st — today could be your birthday, anniversary or just another Thursday going about your daily life, but today also marks a historic event in the world of social media. Instagram users reached one billion monthly today. Up to this point, Facebook was the only social media platform to achieve this headcount.

Since 2010, Instagram’s spike to one of the leading social media platforms around the world has been strategic, smart and fast. According to TechCrunch, Instagram leads in daily user count percentage every month against Facebook and Snapchat at 5%. Instagram advertising revenue reached close to $5.5 billion in the U.S, which is 70% higher than last year. Seeing this growth and the advertising numbers to back it up leads me to question — has Instagram reshaped the internet and digital space altogether?

A Powerhouse Platform

As a digital marketing and advertising agency, Smirk New Media knows the power of Instagram. We’ve been on the front lines throughout the platform’s rise to dominance, observing how an effective Instagram strategy correlates to a business’s bottom line success. Reaching one billion users is significant for practically every business and individual’s presence in the digital space.

Rachel Haynes, our creative strategist, marks Instagram as a “means to curate that first impression and ongoing relationship with the customer” because of its visual appeal and ability to allow customers to look inside companies.

With Instagram’s visual-heavy UX design, the old saying a picture is worth 1,000 words holds true for a lot of users.

“Everyone has a story to tell and having Instagram to communicate through a visual means pulls attention inward and gets the message across easily and efficiently,” said Mike Koehler, our founder and chief strategist. “Instagram has grown into a significant strategic platform for brands, businesses, and people who want to show what’s happening in their stories.”

The continued growth of Instagram users is especially important because, according to the last Pew survey, Facebook’s experienced a significant decline in its hold on the 18-29 demographic.

“Instagram continues to grow its user base where other social giants are stagnant or diminishing, especially with the younger demographic that traditional advertisers always have their eyes on,” said Allie Carrick, our president and managing partner.

Cutting Through the Noise

With a bigger audience comes more opportunities and a broader scope of work to reach out to people. Instagram allows us to tell a brand’s story through a unique lens with compelling visual imagery — this is the only way to make an impact and cut through the noise. Brands on Instagram are taking advantage of the visual nature of the platform by customizing their content and having signature filters, verbiage or hashtags.

This allows people to know the brand voice with the associated visual and follow the information with more ease. Being able to identify and strategize this type of messaging is what we know how to do, and well at that.

If you’re reading this, the odds are you are an Instagram user. Whether you’re new to “gramming” or an old school follower, it’s hard to deny the way it has changed our view on the world, people and opportunities around us every day. As a business, it is imperative to understand that everyone has their own brand. Each business should have a careful strategy that informs their prospective followers about the story they want to tell.

Now, with a billion Instagram users, there is a lot of room for an overflow of content. A honed digital strategy allows for your content to be seen and heard.