September 24, 2012

Does Your Business Need To Be On Istagram?

instragram for businessOh  no, I see you shaking your head…yet another social networking site you’re now expected to be on?  Well, let’s break it down and see whether or not Instagram needs to be part of your social media strategy.

Instagram Explained

Instagram, if you’re not already aware, is a photo-sharing program.  What makes Instagram different from other photo-sharing programs is that this free app which can be downloaded onto iPhones (version 3s and later) and some Samsung and Android devices is that it enables users to apply a variety of filters to pictures with a simple press of a button.  The program comes with 18 fun filters to, for example, give your photo a nice 1970’s vintage look or turn it into a black and white snapshot.  There’s other simple photo editing you can do with the program and all of which is easily accessible through your phone.

When you finally  have your picture looking the way you want it you can share it to Instagram*, via Email, Twitter, or Facebook.  So why the * when I said it could be shared via Instagram?  It’s important to note that any picture you email, share on Facebook/Twitter, or just save because you like it will automatically be available to your Instagram followers.  The photos are stored on Instagram (though you can erase them if you’d like) so that your followers will see what you’ve been snapping pictures of next time they access the app.

Does My Business Need Instagram?

Truth be told, I can’t figure out a way that Instragram in and of itself would directly relate to more sales.  However, where it can come in handy is by helping you build your brand identity and let people see another side of you.  For example,  Small Food Business is just getting started in Instagram and my plan is to include fun shots food, artisans, and ingredients as my travels take me around.  Will this be groundbreaking and change the future of SmallFoodBiz?  Probably not.  But for those who are on Instagram it will help solidify for them that the folks behind SmallFoodBiz love, love, love all things small food oriented.  What’s more, it’ll help folks realize that business doesn’t have to always be stuffy spreadsheets and Board Meetings…that you can have a good time while running a business.

Similarly, you can use the program to take pictures that you add to your Instagram account, your Facebook page, etc that visually shows off more of who your company is and the personality of said company.  You don’t need to be posting every day or even every week – just when something catches your eye and it speaks to you (for example, I saw a giant roadside aluminum chicken the other day and I’m so sorry I didn’t take a picture of it because it literally made me laugh out loud – that’s not business changing but it will make some other folks smile as well!).

As far as getting followers and following others – if Instagram is something you’re really into then you can go out and search for others who have interests similar to yours but at the beginning I’d suggest that you just enjoy the program and allow followers to naturally find you.  Just like Twitter, if someone does start following you it’s really only polite that you follow them back unless the pictures they’re posting are inappropriate in your mind.  But don’t knock yourself out trying to build your followers and have a strict photo posting regimen.  Just enjoy Instragram, let it help you share with others more about what your company is and the personality of the people behind it, and have fun.

See – sometimes business is all about just having fun!  Isn’t that nice for a change!

If you’re interested in adding Instagram to your phone you can check it out and learn more here.  If you’re business already on Instagram (or soon will be), I’d love to check out what you’re doing.  Small Food Business is at @smallfoodbiz and there you’ll find food-related photos, some random photos from my travels, and from time-to-time pictures of my dogs because, well, I’m biased and think they’re the cutest things since sliced bread.

(If you don’t already know, to find people on Instagram just press this button and do a search for @theirname….hope to see you on there!)

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