By Lieze Groenewald

This blog addresses the advantages of an Instagram for businesses

  • Experts weigh in on advantages
  • Why consumers find it appealing
  • Conclusion

Instagram for business? Is that really a thing? But why and how can it be beneficial to businesses?

That was my first thought when I started toying with the idea of using Instagram to promote business. To me Instagram is an enchanting forum where I can indulge in the most exquisite photographs posted by friends.

But is there actually scope for business on this platform?

Social Media Experts Sing Instagram’s praises

One of the advocates for using Instagram to promote business is Jonathan Cross who uses Social Media to market web properties he has developed.

Apart from having the potential of reaching more than 500 million followers on this dynamic App that is increasingly showing amazing growth, Cross lists the following reasons why Instagram is an excellent marketing tool for business:

  • Your posts will feature on followers’ newsfeeds unlike Facebook where you can never be sure.
  • People love Smartphones and use the apps on their phones to connect with the world.
  • Using multiple social media platforms improves SEO rankings.
  • It is a cheap marketing method that enables you to post beautiful pictures and use hashtags to promote your business.[1]

Lauren Marinigh, an online marketing and content development professional, agrees with Cross and provides even more reasons why your business shouldn’t dismiss the potential of engaging in Instagram:

  • It has a higher rate of conversion to actual sales than Pinterest and Polyvore.
  • Because Instagram’s emphasis is on visual content, it is more likely to catch people’s eye and let the product shine and speak for itself without any other distractions.
  • It gives businesses the opportunity to use the visual nature of Instagram using generated content, because their customers’ enjoyment of your product can be evident in their posts if you encourage them to share on Instagram and they can use hashtags when they share their posts.
  • It also provides businesses the opportunity to engage with their customers by offering them sneak peeks of new products or offers or by giving them a look behind the scenes of your business.

“So with millions of users, millions of photos being shared each day, and the highest engagement of any other platform, do you need any more reasons to get yourself and your business on this platform? I don’t think so,” Marinigh concludes.[2]

But like with most social media platforms, you must understand Instagram and use its strengths to your advantage if you want to succeed.

Martha van Zyl, a Johannesburg based online social media and public relations specialist who is the force behind popular blog Syllable in the City, has used Instagram for various products including Snowflake, Vespa and Doppio Zero.

“Instagram works best of your product delivers a strong visual impact. It is an excellent wat to create brand awareness. Many brands use Instagram to direct customers to their e-commerce sites, “she explains.

“I know of an online accessories store that advertises their products on Instagram. They conduct ‘flash sales’ from time to time where the post an item with the price. The first person who comments ‘MINE’ on the post can then buy the product.”

“It depends on the nature of your business and your aim. Snowflake didn’t just post flour, but rather opted for visually stunning baked goods to encourage people to buy the flour to bake their own similarly beautiful confectionary, “she elaborates.

Consumers just love Instagram

But Van Zyl isn’t just a social media guru, she is also a consumer who enjoys Instagram.

“I have personally bought products from the online accessories store that I mentioned, purely based on their Instagram feed,” she divulges.[3]

Another happy Instagram user, Marissa Joubert, is an entrepreneur and mother who enjoys shopping on Instagram.

“I like to do online shopping via Instagram and enjoy links to educational sites that I have found on the platform. I enjoy the Instagram links because it is not the usual spam and I find things that I don’t really see on Facebook,” she explains.

Instagram has proven that it isn’t only a collection of stunning photos. Those stunning images can also be a sales and brand awareness tool that can be beneficial to your business’ image and sales margins. Are you ready to tap into opportunity? Then set up your account and grab the camera!