Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram -- small businesses are constantly being bombarded with the advice that they should be repping on all these social media platforms. But each new account you add is a huge investment in time, or in money if you choose to invest in services or staff to help manage it. So: is Instagram worth it?
There are a couple of ways to use Instagram as a business, of course -- creating organic content, advertising through Instagram and influencer marketing. For now we're just talking about the first two, which involve creating and managing your business' own account on the platform.
Instagram Business Tools is a new suite of application for the popular photo sharing platform that will allow businesses to a home base for their products on Instagram. With an estimated global user base of 400 million, this probably isn't something that your business should ignore.
First, before you create an Instagram account, consider this -- it's a bit of a time sink. For one, Instagram's platform disallows post scheduling or posting from desktop. That means any time you need content on your account you have to post it at that moment from the app -- you can't schedule a whole week's worth of content at once like you can with Facebook.
Secondly, it's worth thinking about whether your business lends itself to Instagram at all. For some businesses it's a no-brainer: some of the 100 most popular tags on the platform include #fashion, #style, #fitness, #food, #nature, #beauty, #music, #travel, #flowers and #wedding. If your business has anything to do with these, you should be on Instagram -- just make sure to practice taking beautiful, 'gram-worthy style shots and flatlays of your products.
Instagram is a fun place to share candid photos about your daily life, but many people opt for intentional compositions and care when crafting a photo. Here are a few photo styling tips to elevate your images.
When your products are less photogenic or generally unphotographable, that's when Instagram gets a little harder to do. If you develop apps or software, for example, screenshots generally aren't going to perform well on style-crazy Instagram unless you have a particularly interesting or artistic app. That's not to say other types of businesses shouldn't necessarily use Instagram -- they just have to be more creative about the way they do it.
This in turn takes time, and you should really consider what ROI you're going to be seeing from that time before you start posting away. There's a huge user base on Instagram now -- surpassing 700 million this year -- but it's also much harder to get those users back to your store or site compared to networks like Twitter or Facebook.
So how about you? Do you use Instagram for your business? Are you seeing a benefit to it? Let us know in the comments!