#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?

Much maligned for enabling users to upload heavily-filtered food snaps for the world to see, the popular photo-sharing platform has become much more than a passing fad.

Boasting 1 million users just 2 months after its launch, the app was bought for $1 billion by Facebook in 2012. Today over 150 million monthly users share an average of 55 million photos per day.

Instagram has since launched myriad features including videos, messaging, sponsored content and an ephemeral Stories feature, but largely remains all about the pictures.

How can businesses benefit?

Trends are the watch-word on this platform, with users showing a preference for sophisticated aesthetics, well-curated profiles and flat lay shots.

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.

Sound like you? 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 3 tips to up your Insta-game:

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.

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.