This week, a new study from the business analytics company SumAll revealed that Instagram was the best platform for brands in 2013.

For the study, SumAll looked at data from brands on social media with over 25 fans on four of the major social platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • Brands on Instagram saw an average of 7 percent growth in both followers and engagement.
  • Brands on Instagram in the U.S. saw a 1.5 percent lift in revenue.
  • Brands on Instagram in the UK saw a 3.6 percent lift in revenue.

Bottom Line: While brands on Instagram certainly have a lot to be excited about, it’s impossible to say which network is really “the best” for brands. And while some businesses may point to Instagram as being the best thing that’s ever happened to their social media efforts, there are others who may credit Facebook or Twitter as being the most important networks for their marketing strategy.

So we thought we would leave it up to you. Has Instagram been the rising star for your social media marketing or are there other networks that you just couldn’t live without in 2013? Join the conversation in the post below:

(Having trouble viewing the Facebook post? View it here.)

If you are thinking about giving Instagram a try, we have a few resources to help:

Here are a few of the other hot topics that caught our attention this week:

Foursquare rolls out new push notifications

Foursquare recently rolled out a newly redesigned app for iOS, with a new emphasis on location-based alerts and push notifications.

Here’s how Foursquare explained the new app in a recent post on the company’s blog:

“When you arrive somewhere new, we tell you what you need to know (like the best thing to order or a money-saving special), even if you don’t open the app.”

Bottom Line: Mobile discovery apps like Foursquare already play an important role in how new customers discover your business.

According to Google and Nielsen, 73 percent of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversion while 55 percent of purchase-related conversions occur within one hour of an initial mobile search.

This means that it’s never been more important to make sure that the information people are finding on Foursquare and other listing platforms are accurate and up-to-date.

Here are a few tips to help you take control of your online listings.

Twitter now allows images in direct messages

Twitter revealed this week that users will now be able to send photos through its private direct messages feature. Previously, direct messages were limited to text-only messages.

Twitter was not the only network that introduced new direct messaging capabilities this week, as Instagram revealed a new feature know as Instagram Direct. This new feature lets users privately send photos or videos to up to 15 followers.

Bottom Line: At this point, it is unclear how either of these features will impact businesses using the networks for marketing purposes. But it does seem that direct messaging could play a more prominent role across all of the social networks in the New Year.

It will be interesting to see how this trend develops in 2014.

What top stories caught your attention this week? Let us know in the comments below.