October 2, 2012

Is Your Small Business Taking Advantage of Instagram?

by Jaimie Siegle | Advertising Systems, Inc.

Photo courtesy of

We’ve discussed in previous posts the importance of choosing wisely when it comes to social media networks for your business. As a brand, you can’t please everybody. You can, however, participate in the sites that offer the most benefits for your specific business – whether it’s building sales leads or improving your search ranking.

Instagram, the start-up acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, could be a valuable way to reach new potential customers. Computerworld reported that the number of monthly Instagram users went from 886,000 in March to more than 7.3 million in August, while Twitter’s number of monthly users topped out at nearly 6.87 million in the same month.

The photo sharing social site allows users to shoot and edit their photos using basic crop tools and several filters that allow for a vintage, almost nostalgic effect. The National Federation of Independent Business recommends using Instagram to share your expertise, build your brand, and reach new people. Below are our best tips for getting your business’s profile on the right track.

Keep the username consistent with your Twitter profile. This allows you to write captions with “@” mentions and hashtags that will be accessed by Twitter users in addition to Instagram users.

Use hashtags correctly, NFIB wrote in a blog post. A great way to get the word out is by using widely known hashtags that become more prominent during events. If you’re the clever type, you can sometimes use hashtags to be funny or sarcastic.

Post images that people will genuinely like – not just blasts about your latest promotion. Whether it’s a photo of your artsy foamy cappuccino, your staff at a volunteer event, or a sign with a blatantly hilarious typo, think of what your potential customers would like to see on their feeds.

Be creative. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Instagram is photo-based. Play with the app’s features to develop your own “style,” and use other apps like PicStitch to create collages and even more effects.

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