A year ago Loic Quedec was using his Instagram to post arty pictures of himself and others wearing clothing he had bought.
When fashion labels like Vans and I Love Ugly saw his posts they used the marketing opportunity that Instagram provided.
The 19-year-old Aucklander received free products from the labels for posting photos of the gear to his 17,000 followers and tagging links to the labels own Instagram accounts.
"If you want to get your art or your work out there [Instagram] is the way to go," said Mr Quedec.
Although he did not reveal how much the products were worth, he received T-shirts, shoes and sunglasses from various labels.
His fan base grew simply by uploading pictures of clothing from the different labels. Bloggers and fashion websites promoted his posts.
Kaye Adams from Easy Social Media, which runs accounts for businesses, said it was becoming common for businesses to give products to people with high numbers of followers on Instagram.
"It's that sort of marketing tool that lets these influential people basically sell their products," said Ms Adams.
"People are more attracted to photos and [Instagram] is a good way to capture a younger demographic and appeal to a different audience."
Auckland student Jeremy Sim, 19, also received free products from businesses to promote on his Instagram.
He was given T-shirts and hats from Australian label Deadcastle Studios. He said the application is easy for businesses to connect with consumers.
"It gives [businesses] a whole new demographic to appeal to. When people see the pictures I post, it takes them one second to link into their accounts and they can follow them straight away," he said.
Instagram is also a cheaper form of advertising than Facebook, said Sim.
"On Facebook you have to pay to have your product show in a newsfeed ... but it doesn't cost anything for users to scroll down Instagram and see the advertising."
I Love Ugly marketing manager James Watt said Instagram is a great way to connect to customers by appearing on influential accounts.
Instagram also proved a popular way to promote student Esther Ng's own fashion label, The Goodbye Label, this year.
The 18-year-old posted pictures of lingerie she had designed and links back to her website which people can order from. She said many Instagram users are advertising businesses without even realising when they post pictures of products for their friends to see.
3 Top tips to get noticed on Instagram
Tag the labels you are wearing in your Instagram photos.
Instagram user James Sim says the labels will be notified when they get tagged, and the more you tag them, the more likely it is they will notice your Instagram account.
Network with other popular people on Instagram.
Making connections is key as they can tag you in their photos which links to theirs too, says Sim.
Hone your photography skills.
I Love Ugly marketing director James Watt says they notice people who "make the product look awesome".