A quick small business guide to Instagram

Instagram logo and title text

Instagram is the perfect social media channel for your visual brand story. Find out how use it to your business advantage below.

What’s it all about?

Instagram is an online video and photo-sharing social network with over 200 million active monthly users.(1) The platform is very popular with younger users with 90% of users under 35.(2) Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012. Users can apply filters and borders to images to create stylish and original visual treats for their followers. While there is a desktop version of the platform with limited functionality, Instagram is primarily accessed and used through a mobile app.

Should you focus efforts on Instagram?

Instagram can provide an opportunity for your business to connect with people on a human level but it’s not for every business. Are you trying to engage with a younger target audience or update the brand image? If so, these objectives can be achieved with the help of Instagram. Also, consider whether your products or brand are suitable for the photo-sharing platform. If you have a visual or creative product then it could be a very good choice for you.

Top tips to succeed on Instagram

If you do decide to invest some time in building an Instagram presence, you can increase your chances of success with a few simple steps.

Make a plan

When embarking on any social media activity on behalf of your business, it’s important to have a strategy. Decide what it is you want to achieve and agree how to go about it. Build an editorial calendar of topics and themes and agree some top line brand guidelines before you start. This will help to keep you (and your team if you have one) focused and coherent.

Share the love

Like and comment on relevant posts by others (brands and individuals).

Use hashtags to help categorise your content on Instagram. They will increase the likelihood that your content will get found for relevant searches and allow you to contribute to trending topics too. Instagram recommend using no more than three hashtags per post for the sake of simplicity but use more if you feel it’s relevant.

Take your time

Plan a strategy and themes for your images and experiment with composition and style. Make full use of the filters and borders on offer, as well as the photography tools available on IOS and Android (not on Windows phone yet.) By gradually but consistently posting quality content, you will build up a community of loyal, engaged followers.

Offer something special

66% of people follow brands on Instagram in order to get rewards and 43% because they love the brand.(3) Run image based competitions, ask questions or feature Instagram-only promotions to thank your followers and to encourage them to engage.

Monitor and amend accordingly

Instagram also offers Business tools to help brands see how their content is performing on the platform. Use these insights to understand what content is driving the most engagement, when.

Check out the Instagram for Business section for lots more tips!

For inspiration from the pros check out the Instagram pages of NikeTeapigs and Starbucks.



Instagram figures as of 5 November 2014
Business Insider – Instagram Statistics
Brandwatch research