Paid media | 12/08/2013

Why should a business use Instagram?

Posted by Lawrence Greenlee

I’m Millie Jackson, a sixth-form student at Heathfield Community College doing work experience for Cobb PR. Like millions of others around the UK, I spend a lot of time on social media keeping up to date with my interests and friends. I regularly use Instagram and have begun to see more businesses using it to increase awareness. Here are the reasons why I think businesses should use Instagram.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing service that allows users to share photos and videos on a number of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It is an app exclusively for iPad, iPhone and iTouch products providing users with a range of different effects making photos easy to edit. With over 100 million active users in just three years, producing 10 photos per second Instagram, is an ideal social network for many businesses.

Why would Instagram be beneficial for a business?

Well, with people becoming more involved in social networking, a business can reach a vast amount of people with a single picture. Business is all about branding and by using Instagram a business can create a friendship with potential and existing customers by giving their brand a personality.
Instagram also uses ‘hashtags’ so a business can target photos at specific audiences. For example, a restaurant in Eastbourne might use the hashtag ‘#RestaurantsinEastbourne’ on a photo of a particular dish on their menu so that when people type this hashtag in to Instagram the restaurants picture will appear. This will hopefully encourage customers to visit their restaurant. Both the account and other users can comment on posts making it helpful to gain feedback on a business and meet customer needs.

Instagram is not about being serious, it is more about letting people see what really goes on in your life. I use it to post pictures of things I like or things I am doing to build up a picture of what is going on in my life. However, this can be applied to a business too. It will help a business market creatively in how they want to be perceived by their target market.

Don’t be mistaken that Instagram is just for youngsters, many businesses for older age ranges are using it to promote their business and expand awareness. Globally known jewellers Tiffany & Co are using Instagram to great effect by showing pictures of jewellery and naming their designers. They currently have over 700,000 followers and 419 posts. Closer to home in Brighton, independent bakery Angel Food Bakery use photos of their products and pictures from events such as weddings that they have catered for to make them stand out. They have over 300 followers. As people’s dependence on mobiles and wireless devices increases, businesses need to look at exploiting as many social networks as possible.

Instagram can also be used to give customers a better idea on how to use certain products and how they are made which can be useful at making a business stand out and encouraging people to get involved with what they offer. It can also be used to keep people in the know and give sneak peeks of upcoming offers and changes thereby raising awareness.

It’s clear to see that social media is expanding rapidly, with over 60% of adults having a social networking profile and Britons spending and average of sixty-two million hours a day using social media. People around the world are becoming more interconnected and businesses can now operate globally online. Using Instagram is the perfect way to differentiate a business and reel in new customers on a small budget!