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As you may know, I am a novice digital photographer, and I’m finding that images are becoming more and more important to me as a result. I get thrilled by beautiful images, and, like many others, pay a lot more attention to any content that captures my visual interest.

In a recent post, I wrote about why visual marketing is important, and I wanted to follow on to that post, a bit, by talking about Instagram.

In case you don’t know, Instagram is a photo-sharing social network. It was purchased by Facebook in April 2012 for $715 million (in cash and stock; down from the originally agreed upon price of $1 billion dollars.)

Instagram is tied to your Facebook account, and once you create an account on Instagram, you can connect with your Facebook friends who are also on Instagram. It’s basic use is as a photo sharing application, and therefore the captions are much more limited than you see with photo-sharing on Facebook. Instagram users make liberal use of hashtags to organize and group their content.

I’ve recently been exploring Instagram a bit more, and here are a few ways I see that it can be used for business:

1) Show off your products. Instagram is excellent for promoting products with visual appeal. Some businesses use it much like a catalog, simply posting photos of their products. That can be effective in some cases, but a better approach is to show your products in action. If you sell cosmetics, for example, you could post images of customers using and wearing your products. These types of photos make it easy for the customer to visualize herself using your products.

2) Show off your results.  Not all products have visual appeal, but perhaps they produce visible results. Weight loss products are an obvious example where you could show before and after photos. This can also work well for a number of other products, such as anti-aging serums or plant food.

3) Show off your personality.  Even businesses that provide services or create products that are not “pretty” enough for Instagram can use the service to their advantage by showcasing their human side. Simple photos of you and your team in action will be interesting to many users, especially if they are accompanied by a fun or thought-provoking caption. It’s also good to show your business engaging in charitable work. You might even post photos of your employees or clients along with brief profiles.

You can also use Instagram as another place to post your business images and perhaps even simple infographics. The key is to be creative at visually showcasing what you want to share, especially if your content is not immediately visual or, as I said above, “pretty enough.”

If you’re looking for a way to bring your business to even more followers, think about how you can use Instagram to do so. Visual imaging gets more attention, so it just makes sense.