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Q & A

How to use Instagram for your business

Jen Ronan, Instagram head of small business EMEA, explains why so many small firms are using the hugely popular image and video-sharing platform and offers her top tips on how to succeed when using Instagram for business

How many small businesses now use Instagram?

Jen Ronan (JR): “The Instagram community has grown to more than 700m people worldwide and we have about 18m users in the UK. We now have more than 8m people who have adopted a business profile, and the one million businesses that advertise with us are mainly small businesses. Instagram is a place where people come to connect around things they love. It’s a fantastic way for businesses to enable others to better understand what they do and what they’re passionate about. In the past month, about 120m people have visited a website, called, emailed or messaged businesses for more information after seeing a post on Instagram. For those businesses, those are high signals of intent.”

What are the key advantages of using Instagram over other social media platforms?

JR: “First and foremost, it’s the character of our community. People come to Instagram to share and find their passions. The sheer diversity of interests on Instagram is incredible – and people come with an open mind, they want to discover new things, which is brilliant for businesses. Secondly, it’s the creative options offer. We have two standalone apps – Boomerang and Hyperlapse, which both allow people to create eye-catching video. And we launched Stories in 2016, which has been really well received.”

Can you tell me about Stories?

JR: “It lets people share moments during their day, with photos and videos brought together in slideshow format. They disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed, so, you don’t have to worry about over-posting. With filters, text overlay, stickers and drawing tools, it gives business even more scope to be experimental on the platform and makes it easy to share everyday moments.”

How easy is it to get started on Instagram?

JR: “We like to think it couldn’t be easier. You download the app, sign up for an account, choose a username, add a profile photo, biography and link to your website. We recommend switching to a business profile to make it easier to connect with your customers. You can link your Instagram account to Facebook, so you can share content on both platforms when you post. We offer a range of tools to edit your photos and videos to give them a different look and feel. For inspiration, our website includes many success stories which show how a wide range of businesses use Instagram.”

What tips do you offer on using Instagram for business?

JR: “Instagram is a story-telling platform – so make sure you tell yours. People want to find out so much more about your business than just product or service information, they want to understand who you are, what you stand for, what you’re passionate about and what makes you special. Crucially, you must have a strong, consistent visual message. If you tell a different story every time you come to Instagram, others will struggle to understand what you’re trying to communicate.”

Any other advice for small businesses?

JR: “Be sure to use an Instagram business profile. It will allow you to add even more information about your business and enable customers to find you or contact you more easily, because you can add a location, email address and phone number. I’d also recommend using Instagram’s Insights to better understand how your posts are performing and to learn more about your followers, like who and where they are and how they behave. Then you can create and promote posts that are more likely to engage them. As with all marketing, you should set objectives, focus on what matters to you and the results that are likely to drive your business forward. Be consistent, relevant and authentic, and measure your results so you can learn and get better.”

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