You may not think of it as a marketing tool, but social networking site Instagram has attracted the attention of brands around the world for its potential to achieve high levels of engagement and brand awareness.

Second only to Facebook in popularity, Instagram, according to a Forrester study, has a brand-engagement rate 58 times higher than Facebook's. That's huge.

It took a while, but brands began to realize they were missing an enormous opportunity. Ninety percent of Interbrand 100 companies are on Instagram, and the consumers they're looking for are there too.

The numbers don't lie: 300 million people use Instagram every day, posting more than 95 million photos and videos. Break that down to 216,000 photos posted every minute.

In the United States alone, 77 million people are active on Instagram every month, with more than half of Millennials using it every day. Sheer numbers aside, the average engagement per post on Instagram is growing at a rate of more than 53 percent per year.

The highest-ranking posts include hashtags and location tags, while those with multiple hashtags are also above-average performers.

What does all this mean to brands? Seventy-three percent of them are posting at least one photo or video weekly, and the number of brands with 100,000 or more followers has grown by 163 percent in two years.

Visual content performs well on Instagram, with photos outperforming videos by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. Why? The brain processes photos almost instantaneously, and people remember visual messages better than they remember text or audio messages.

There's one other huge difference that gives Instagram an edge for businesses: Unlike Facebook, it doesn't have a filtered feed. So every post shows up in the feed of every single follower.

It gets better: Of the every 100 people who find you through Instagram, one makes a purchase. That's the fourth highest conversion rate among social networking sites, and it's growing.

The top 10 retailers on Instagram is a veritable who's who of top brands.

With the rest of the world capitalizing on Instagram's effect on brand awareness and engagement, can you really afford to ignore this spectacular opportunity to market your business or product?

See more reasons to be on Instagram in the full infographic below:

Image credit: HubSpot

4 Surefire Ways to Really Stand Out on Social Media—and Grow Your Business
Published on: Sep 15, 2016