As one of the fastest growing social platforms, Instagram has certainly cemented itself in our lives whether we use it or not. It being primarily focused upon photos and video has provided social media marketing with a new playground to express themselves upon. Instagram offers a new avenue for reaching your audience and increasing online visibility, meaning it should be perfect for business use.

The problem is, some businesses seem afraid to embrace Instagram. They believe that it’s too different from their brand, involves too much work and won’t generate sales. In fact, Instagram is one of the easiest social platforms to get started on. Once you have your account, all you need is a profile picture and a link to your website. After that, you just need to let your followers on other social platforms know that you’re on the Instagram scene!

What you do after setting up your account is the thing that seems to baffle most businesses, but luckily we’ve summarised the most important things to think about when using Instagram as a business.

It’s not just for Big Brands

Now if you look for examples of brands that use Instagram, of course you’re going to come across the big names, like Virgin America, Birchbox and Red Bull. That doesn’t mean small businesses should shy away from the photo sharing app. Instagram is accessible to all, which means there is a high chance some of your potential customers are using it and you could be missing out on advertising opportunities.

Personally, I love finding small, local businesses with strong Instagram accounts as they can easily interact with their consumer base more so than large companies. The important thing to remember is to make it personal, take photos of your regular customers (with their permission) and tag them! Make them feel special and appreciated with a feature on someone else’s page – I know it makes me feel that little bit famous. Promoting sales and products becomes a lot easier when you only have a small area to promote to.

Results can be tracked

What can’t we track on social media nowadays? Instagram is no exception to this rule and, even if there is no built in analytics suite included, access to a mine-full of monitoring gold is only a third party application away. Goodbye to the days of manually tracking your engagement, and hello to 4 of our favourite analytics platforms:

  • SumAll – gives analytic information about Instagram and many other social media channels.
  • Statigram – Instagram based analytics once you sign in with your account details.
  • SimplyMeasured – allows you to access analytics data about other accounts not just your own.
  • GramPro – see where your account ranks in the popularity score in the community and who are the highest ranking influencers.

So, with this wealth of analytics, there is no reason to say Instagram is unsuitable for your business because you can’t track its engagement. In fact, with all this analytics data available, your Instagram campaigns should be outmatching your other platforms.

Share a different side to your brand

Sometimes with Facebook and Twitter, it can be hard to get past your corporate image and really show the personality behind your brand. The beauty with photographs is the realness they display and how they can share an experience with your followers. For example, showing the people who keep your business going is a great way to give a behind the scenes insight, or you could celebrate your employee achievements and just make your brand more real. Another great way to share your business with your followers is to record momentous occasions and post them on Instagram, like a product launch or new store opening. Instagram is a wonderful way of making your customers feel part of your company.

Adding your location increases engagement

We all love to nosy on where people are when they post fabulous photos of delicious food or amazing scenery. Luckily, Instagram offers a great feature to all posts – location.

Photo Maps lets you add where your photo was snapped, giving another level to your content. You’re much more likely to increase your chances of engagement if an Instagram user can actually see where the image was taken, especially if it’s product related. If I know where a dish is being sold, I’m much more likely to visit to eat that dish. If you wanted even more reason to tag your location, posts tagged result in a 79% higher engagement than ones who don’t. And you’ll be one of the few utilizing this tool, with only 307 tagging location out of the 6,075 Instagram posts included in the study.

Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter

When you hear the word hashtag, you probably think Twitter. Well, hashtags are also used on Instagram, for the same purpose of helping others find relevant content. Like Twitter, you can search for hashtags and browse photos that include it. Be warned, hashtags should be used with caution and portray your brand’s image correctly as some hashtags are overused and classed as ‘spammy’.

When thinking about what hashtags to include, you can look at other well established brands/bloggers for ideas as to what works and what doesn’t. Just look at their most engaged posts compared to least and you’ll get a good idea of what you’re looking for. Even checking on your competitors hashtags would be wise to ensure you’re popping up in the same places.

Remember though: Instagram limits hashtags to 30 maximum and you should use nowhere near that many. The fewer hashtags used, the higher quality your engagement. We’ve all heard of the famous ‘Buying Likes’ scandal that pops up now and then.


When Facebook bought Instagram, the possibilities of promoting doubled. Brands can post Instagram videos, share them across their Facebook presence, then promote them using paid advertising. So not only are you reaching Instagram’s 130 million users, you also engage with Facebook’s 818 million monthly users.

With all these reasons to use Instagram as a businesses, and with the social media platform leading in user engagement statistics, even having a dabble into Instagram for your business could be the refresh your marketing department needs. But ensure, before you dive head first, that you are prepared for all Instagram has to offer with our top 6 Instagram tips.

Elena Lockett

Elena Lockett


Elena Lockett, Marketing Assistant, FM Outsource.