#NoFilter: The benefits of starting a business Instagram

If you own your own business, you’ve undoubtedly opened a Facebook page in its name as part of your marketing strategy. You may even have delved into Twitter, or staked its place on LinkedIn.

But have you considered starting an Instagram page for your business? During these times, businesses are leaning on social media to maintain engagement and interactions even when they aren’t possible in real life.

Boasting 1 million users just 2 months after its launch, the app was bought for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012. Today over the app boasts over 26.9 million users.

Instagram has since launched myriad features including stories, videos, direct messaging, sponsored content and analytics for businesses.

How can businesses benefit?

As a business tool, Instagram has been embraced by big brands and start-ups alike; particularly in the retail sector, or by those which target young, trend-led consumers. The platform is ideal as a ‘shopfront’ to showcase your products, from clothes to cakes, in a tantalising way.

It also enables you to connect with your customers on a deeper level, enabling you to reveal ‘behind the curtain’ of your business, interact with other businesses in a quick and easy format and promote your latest offers and events.

Sound like something you could benefit from? Setting up a business profile is simple. Create an account and choose “Switch to Business Profile” in Settings. You can now upload and edit photos, record videos, follow other users, and more.

Top 4 tips to up your Insta-game:

Hashtags
Just like Twitter, hashtags are key to letting users find your content. Use a mix of specific and generic words and phrases to maximise your audience, and see if you can jump onto any popular hashtags relating to your industry; but don’t get carried away with too many or you’ll risk looking desperate.

Geotags
If you want people to find your business IRL (that’s “in real life”, for those in the know) then geotagging is essential. When posting a photo you get the option to mark on a map where it was taken. For businesses, this lets customers who like your photo see exactly where you’re based and is great for attracting local traffic.

Interact with your followers
A beautifully curated Instagram feed is nothing if you ignore your followers. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but make sure to answer anyone who asks a question – and the occasional “thank you” doesn’t go down too badly either.

Stories
Using stories enables you to keep up frequent interactions with your followers without bombarding your audience or clogging up your account. Stories will be available to those who choose to view them for 24-hours and you can choose to add these as a highlight on your profile.