I Am A Small Business Owner, Why Do I Need An Instagram Account?

small-business-owner-instagram-account-piYes, I know. The sheer number of social networking sites can make you want to run away screaming.

Knowing which sites to be active on can feel utterly overwhelming and since most of us do not have the time to be active on all of them, choosing 2-3 that you are willing to commit to can be tricky.

So how do you know if Instagram is right for you? Keep reading, as I will outline 5 of the key benefits of using Instagram for your small business!

1. It gives your business some personality.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits to using Instagram is giving a personal feel to your small business. While Facebook photos tend to be largely planned and scripted, images and videos shared on Instagram tend to be more fun, casual and spontaneous.

We know that people like to buy from businesses who they trust and a great way to build this trust is to show people there’s a real ‘face’ behind your brand. You are not just ‘Excel Accounting Services, Inc.’ on Instagram: You are Jill, the lady who shares cool pictures of her weekend sailing trips and of her adorable pug, in addition to all her ‘behind the scenes’ business photos.

Instagram allows you to share the day-to-day experiences of your business in an informal and casual way; perhaps better than any other social network.

2. It’s one of the best ways to reach the millenial market.

If your business caters to millenials (meaning those born from around 1980 to the early 1990’s), Instagram is one of the best ways you can connect with them. With a staggering 43% of 18-29 year old cell phone owners using the platform, images and videos are clearly an important medium to this demographic.

Add to this the fact that recent research shows that Instagram ties with Facebook as the 2nd most important social network for teens (behind Twitter), and you’ve clearly found a surefire way to reach the under 30 crowd.

3. There is less competition than on Facebook or Twitter.

Although I can’t promise you will find success for your small business on Instagram, I can tell you that you will likely have far less competition than on many other networks.

According to a 2013 American Express survey, only 2% of small businesses are currently using the platform; and this means those who are will likely find reaching their target market far easier than with Facebook or Twitter where the competition is much sitffer.

4. You can track the conversation happening about your business using hashtags.

Even if you never post one single photo on Instagram, having an Instagram account for the sole purpose of monitoring what is being said about your products, brand and industry is worthwhile.

Monitoring hashtags related to your business is a great way to hear what’s being posted:

    • Getting feedback on product bugs, issues or problems
    • Finding out which products are trending online
    • Finding out what key online influencers are posting in relation to your product or business
    • Responding to complaints, or acknowledging kudos

5. Once again, it’s about connection.

I know, I probably don’t need to say it at this point, but it’s SO important I will anyway: As with all social media, using Instagram isn’t about selling your product, but about connecting with your target market.

Of course you’re going to share content related to your business; but it has to be more than that. Use Instagram to get to know your audience, to hold contests, to entertain and pique curiosity, to show behind-the-scenes photos, to elicit sharing from your followers. Find relevant content to ‘like’ or comment on, and keep an eye on what your competitors are posting.

For more ideas on how to make the most of the platform, see my posts 5 Clever Ways Big Brands are Using Instagram and 6 Ways to Instantly Blow up Your Instagram.

There are so many reasons I love Instagram, it’s impossible to list them all here. Just remember that when deciding which networks to use for your small business, the format must appeal to you and it must be where your target market is hanging out: Find one that meets both these criteria and you have got a winning combination!

So, are there any other key benefits I’m missing? Why do YOU use Instagram for your small business?


  1. says

    I just want to throw in my two cents about number 3 on your list. :)

    The best time to come aboard the instagram wagon is today because soon the competition will become tougher as other marketers find it a good alternative to facebook. I already know of some friends who bought products from stores based on Instagram alone. I think this is because people love using Instagram and are therefore always on there so impulse buying can be a plus for marketers.
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  2. says

    Such a great post Kim! I think the biggest advantage business owners have right now on Instagram is the fact there is a lot less competition than Facebook/Twitter but also that there are so many critics. We have already seen the need for more visual based content and the need to humanize our brands; Instagram is the perfect platform for both. By starting now, you’ve got the advantage as you point out. Thanks for another really valuable post – appreciate it! :-)

  3. says

    The best part about Instagram, as I feel, is sending a direct appeal to the very basic human instinct – feeling attracted towards visual presentation. I understand that Pinterest is already there but Instagram is all about photos, starting from multiple editing options to orienting the picture as per the users’ psychological inclination. This is where a sensible Web Marketer, who is not looking for search engine recognition only, enjoys heightened freedom in customizing a photograph and create brand building opportunity that hardly any other social networking options can provide.

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  4. Manie says

    Thanks for the info Kim, i’m on instagram but only for personal use, I shall keep this blog in mind and definitely create an account for my new online marketing business.

  5. Phillip Dews says

    Seems to me there is more to Instagram than meets the eye, Thanks for your tips Kim I will have to keep this post for reference!

    The past few months I just been building up my blog and then moving onto G+, FB, Twitter and the past couple of days I have been using Pinterest. couple all that with writing posts and commenting on others it makes Phillip’s hands busy and always moving about am starting to worry about my carpal tunnels.

    Anyway i do have an account with Instagram and I think that all I have uploaded so far is vids of my kettle being boiled and filter coffee machine bubbling along nicely! I will get round to using it eventually after I have mastered the other networks but it seems there is not enough time in the day for me!

    Perhaps I need to get a timetabe to do stuff hey! Good to be here anyway!
    – Phillip
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  6. says

    I love Instagram, Kim! I think it’s definitely an overlooked channel. I think many brands are intimidated by the beautiful images by others with big budgets, but I agree with your advice that you don’t need to take photos constantly to effectively connect with others. In addition to garnering product feedback, brands can use Instagram to like and comment on others’ posts.

    My company’s Instagram account is a unique insider look on our employees and gives users a better idea of what we’re about!

  7. says

    This idea is similar to what John Lee from Webtrends discussed at SES San Francisco earlier this month when approaching B2B social, stating your social community is consuming social content from your business as regular people at all times of the day, not just as professionals.
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  8. says

    The problem I have with using Instagram for business is that I’d have to get a second phone to do so … or am I missing a way to connect to multiple accounts from my one iPhone? (or, better yet, being able to upload images from my desktop)

    For all of Instagram’s benefits, being only usable from one’s phone means you’re stuck with ONE account. While I’m fairly active in my OWN account, there’s no way (that I know of) to set up client accounts – short of getting a “burn” phone for each!

  9. says

    I compare Instagram to a billboard except the people driving on the information highway have a related destination so you have more oportunity to appeal to your niche market. I wonder if it will catch up in real life? The billboard becoming interactive and when you drive by the ad is targeted to you specifically and changes for the next car. I guess we wait and see!
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