Instagram: A social media app for business?

As the fastest growing photo sharing app ever, could your business capitalise on Instagram's filters, 'Stories', and engagement to help build your brand?

What is Instagram?

Instagram is the fastest growing photo sharing app ever. Launched in 2010, it gained 10 million users in under a year.

After being bought out by Facebook in 2012 it now stands at 300 million active users – now that’s what we call a scale-up.

Mobile users take photos and videos, add the famous Instagram filters to make them more attractive, then share with followers and across other social networking platforms. The recent launch of the Layout app for iOS allows users to create montages using their Instagram pics too.

Screenshot - Lark   Screenshot - Juno  Screenshot - Reyes

Take a photo and apply one of the filters to get that famous Instagram look

How does Instagram work?

If your business has instant content to share then you can either take a photo or video using Instagram, or upload a pre-prepared image from your gallery, then add a filter or go #nofilter and share with your followers and on other social networks.

In August 2016, the social media giant announced the launch of Instagram Stories; a new feature which sits at the top of your newsfeed and allows you to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format as part of your ‘story’. Similar to Snapchat, these stories disappear after a certain time frame (in this case 24 hours).

Fully optimise your Instagram images with a caption, hashtags, and location – then share across your other social media platforms

Why should I use Instagram for my business?

Instagram posts get 58x more engagement than Facebook’s do, but as you can share between the two use your Insta-pics to up-the-ante of your profile pics. And the best thing is that you can create amazing professional looking images without the need for an expensive camera.

Use Instagram to cross-promote your other social platforms, such as YouTube. Chef Bart van Olphen does this with great effect for his Fish Tales account where he shares 15 second videos of his recipes on Instagram, directing people to the full versions on his YouTube channel. (Note that you can only share clickable URLs in your profile bio.)

fishtales

Fish Tales uses Instagram videos to promote full versions of recipes on YouTube

The new addition of Instagram Stories also offers another means for businesses to reach and connect with potential customers as anyone using the app can now see your story and buy-in to your brand. Effectively, you can bring your business’ ‘story’ to life without having to worry about over-posting content.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories: People will see your business’ story at the top of their feed, when you add something new to your story your account will be circled in colour

Who else is using Instagram?

One of our favourite former start-ups Innocent Smoothies uses Instagram to promote products, build its brand, and give customers that behind-the-scenes feel; as well as sharing cat and doggy pics – just because. (Check out catsofinstagram.com)

       

Innocent Smoothies’ Instagram     Innocent Smoothies shares pics of
account                                             customers’ dogs to connect with
                                                          users online

Any drawbacks?

You may have to buy a dedicated company phone and have someone on hand to Instagram your life… Once you start you can’t stop.

Holly Hathaway is the social media expert at The Internet Works, a boutique digital agency in London. For more information contact the TIW team.

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