Want a little business savvy with your #OOTD? The reigning space for selfies and self-promotion, Instagram has continued to assert itself as an undeniable power player in the world of business growth. More than ever, it stands as a vital tool for building community, sound-boarding ideas, connecting with influencers, and taking your business—whatever size it may be—to the next level. Still not completely convinced? Read on and you will be!
Though fashion and beauty brands tend to dominate the platform, Instagram is an incredible tool and space for anyone and everyone. Stylists, bloggers, tech startups, magazines, grocery stores, and moreall stand to benefit from the visibility offered by and room for creativity built into the platform.
Poler Outdoor Stuff is a retailer of, you guessed it, outdoor gear. The brand has 332,000 Instagram followers and a few very successful social media campaigns, including beloved hashtags #CampVibes (with more than 400,000 tagged posts) and #AdventureMobile (with nearly 100,000 tagged posts). According to Poler, Instagram is “how we inspire people to live the fun, outdoor lifestyle that our brand promotes, which also helps us get the word out about our products.”
For Valfré, the namesake clothing and accessories line of cult-darling illustrator Ilse Valfré, Instagram serves as a crucial middle step—with built-in feedback!—between the nose-to-the-grind creative process and the commercial output: “It helps us better understand the community and see what’s resonating before we go to production.”
For antiques and collectibles marketplace Chairish, Instagram has been a space of incredible growth and innovation. The company hosts #ShopChairishLive Sales, flash sales on its Instagram feed in which top design world talents and influencers visit some of the country’s best flea markets and fairs and post their findings for followers to bid on. “[The #ShopChairishLive Sales] represent the union of social media and commerce. They are an addictive expression of the essence of Chairish!”
The immediacy and simplicity of Instagram also mean it’s a great place to give followers a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes magic consumers and fans crave. For Valfré, “Instagram is used as the brand’s mood board and as a direct outlet for Ilse to showcase her latest artwork and upcoming products.”
The trend toward “authentic” brand promotion has been going strong for years now. It’s why bloggers wield so much power. Here’s the scenario: An ordinary person touting a product is much more trustworthy than the brand doing it itself. That’s one of the strengths of Instagram’s model—not only can it put you in touch with these powerful influencers, but it also encourages person-to-person interaction and mixes your “branded” content with more-personal content. It’s a juxtaposition that will benefit every business.
For New York–based Nourish Kitchen, Instagram has fostered connections with other creatives in the culinary world. “Incredible partnerships have come about because of Instagram. Real-life relationships with some of our favorite artisans have developed because of a simple comment on a photo!” says brand director Allegra Ben-Amotz.
One of the most powerful elements of taking your business onto Instagram is that doing so widens your reach and scope dramatically, transforming a local or small-scale brand into an international one.
Instagram allows Nourish Kitchen “to translate the lifestyle vision of our brand outside of our four small West Village walls. Thanks to Instagram, we have a truly international following! Followers from all over the world make us a stop on their vacations.”
Another benefit is that having your business on Instagram will make it more searchable to interested parties. This increased visibility means more eyeballs, more follows, more sales—simply more of the good stuff all business owners want.
A 2014 Forrester Research study found that Instagram users are 58 times more likely to engage with a brand’s post (i.e., like, comment, or share) than Facebook users and 120 times more likely than Twitter users. The proof is in the pudding—just look at any brand’s Instagram profile and you’ll see people excitedly tagging friends. The platform is designed to foster this type of absolutely effortless person-to-person sharing and interaction, and is very often far and away the most engaged platform for brands.
Chairsh notes that the visual nature of Instagram is an asset for its team: “It capitalizes on our design-loving community’s appetite for inspiring imagery of gorgeous interiors and items. It’s an easy, instant, and dare I say super-fun way to communicate Chairish’s distinct point of view and see what other folks are digging.”
According to outdoor brand Poler, “Instagram has allowed us to build a community that is based on interaction and sharing, which we believe is the best possible way to inspire your audience.” In today’s business environment, where story and authenticity are more important than ever, Instagram supplies an incredible opportunity to humanize your business, reach a wide audience, stand out, and showcase your stuff creatively.